Canon-McMillan and Mt. Lebanon dominated the mats this season so it comes as no surprise the Big Macs and the Blue Devils headline The Almanac’s Wrestling All-Star unit for 2020.
The team was selected with the help of the area’s coaches. Individual records and finishes in tournaments were also taken into consideration as well as head-to-head competition. Because there were no top-tier area wrestlers that met the standard of having a better than .500 record at 160, it was determined to eliminate that weight class and select two wrestlers at 170, which had an abundance of talent.
The Big Macs and the Blue Devils grabbed the top honors with state champions Gerrit Nijenhaus and Luke Stout sharing MVP honors. The all-star squad also features five Big Macs and three additional Lebo wrestlers. Plus their head coaches gained Coach of the Year laurels.
Marc Allemang guided Lebo to a seventh-place showing in the PIAA individual championships with two state place winners, including a state champion and runner-up in the Stout brothers, Luke and Mac. He also led the Blue Devils to a 13-5 record that featured an undefeated showing in the sub-section and a third-place finish in Section 2 behind Thomas Jefferson and Connellsville. Lebo qualified for the WPIAL team championships and finished 12th in the Southwest Regional/District 7 individual championship tournament.
Jeff Havelka coached the Big Macs to a second-place showing in the team sectional and a runner-up finish in the WPIAL, thus qualifying for the PIAA team tournament. The Big Macs finished third in the WPIAL and 19th in the PIAA individual tournaments, with one state champion.
C-M’s Big 6
The Big Macs advanced three wrestlers to the PIAA championships. In addition to Nijenhaus, Costa Moore (120) and Evan Miller (220) gained trips to Hershey for the state finals. Both finished fourth in the Southwest Regional and WPIAL championships. A junior, Moore posted a 31-13 record this winter. A senior, Miller was 35-17 on the season.
Jacob Houpt (106), Brandon Dami (113) and Tanner Rohaley (152) join their C-M teammates on the all-star list.
A sophomore, Houpt finished 32-15 on the year. He was a bronze medalist in Section 4 and a WPIAL qualifier. He fell one match shy of qualifying for the PIAA tournament.
A freshman, Dami was the Section 4 runner-up and a WPIAL qualifier. He was 26-14 overall.
A senior, Rohaley was one match away from a PIAA berth when he fell in his consolation match at the WPIAL championships. The Section 4 champion finished 34-10 on the season.
Lebo adds 3
Mt. Lebanon’s all-stars included: Eli Crittenden, Jackson Gray and Mac Stout. Stout and Gray are two-time selections.
Stout enjoyed similar success as his brother until his final bout of the season. The sophomore had carved out a big lead before he got caught and was felled in the 170-pound championship bout at the PIAA tournament. His silver-medal showing capped a 42-3 season.
Stout started the 2020 campaign winning the Outstanding Wrestling award at the Eastern Area Tournament, where he also captured his weight class. The 170-pound wrestler also earned titles at the Allegheny County Championships, the sectional and the Southwest Regional/WPIAL tournaments. Stout is 74-13 overall in his two varsity seasons.
Gray joined the Century Club to cap his career. The senior finished 34-8 on the season. A three-time WPIAL qualifier, he was an Allegheny County champion, a silver medalist at sectionals and a bronze-medal winner at the Eastern Area Tournament.
Gray will continue to wrestle in college. He will attend either New York University or Ithaca College.
Eli Crittenden also qualified for the Southwest Regional and WPIAL tournaments. The senior finished fourth in the section. He finished seventh at the Allegheny County championships to earn a spot on the podium.
Two on list for BP
Bethel Park contributed two entrants on the all-star list: Parker Loera and Luke Montgomery.
A senior, Loera compiled a 32-10 record. He finished third in the section and fifth in the county championships. Loera will continue his career at Gannon University.
A senior, Montgomery would be a state champion were it not for Luke Stout. All his losses this season were to the Lebo wrestler, including the decision in the state finals.
“Luke has a great year and making it to the state finals is a great accomplishment,” said BP head coach Tim Crawford. “Luke (Stout) is an excellent competitor and finishing second to him is nothing to be ashamed of.”
Montgomery was also runner-up to Stout in the Southwest Regional/WPIAL and sectional tournaments as well as the Allegheny County championships and the Eastern Area event that kicked off the season. Montgomery also lost a bout to Stout in a dual meet with Mt. Lebanon.
A two-time Almanac honoree, Montgomery compiled a 31-6 record this season. He will continue his wrestling career at the University of Pittsburgh.
SF duo shine
South Fayette added two wrestlers to the all-star roster: Eli Brinsky and Quentin Franklin.
A senior, Brinsky posted a 38-7 record and joined the Century Club this season. He won championships at the Charters-Houston and TRICADA tournaments. A section champion, he took the bronze at the county and WPIAL championships. He capped his career with a sixth-place finish at the PIAA tournament.
Despite being hobbled by an injury incurred during the football season, Franklin enjoyed a stellar senior season that culminated with a fourth-place showing at the PIAA championships.
Franklin finished 34-6 on the season. Among the other highlights to his 2020 campaign were: first place in the section, fourth in the WPIAL, third in the county and second in the TRICADA tournament.
Noting his injury would require surgery, SF head coach Rick Chaussard said, “Quentin had an outstanding season considering he basically wrestled on one good leg.”
Donovan McMillon had only one wrestler standing in his way of a championship season. Geri Nijenhuis defeated the Peters Township junior in both the state and WPIAL finals as well as the TRICADA tournament. McMillon won the Section 2 title. He finished 41-4 on the season.
McMillon is a two-sport standout for the Indians, having also excelled on the conference championship football season. He has multiple offers to play football at the Division I level.
Evans top ROTY
Dylan Evans rounds out the all-star list. The 126-pound wrestler garnered Rookie of the Year honors.
In his first varsity season, Evans rolled up a 36-11 record. The freshman earned a spot on the podium at the PIAA championships with an eighth-place finish.
After opening his career with a title at the Charters-Houston Tournament, he gained runner-up laurels at the Burgettstown Tournament. A bronze-medalist at the Allegheny County Championships, Evan was a section runner-up and a fourth-place finisher in the WPIAL, to gain his berth in the state tournament.