Gerrit Nijenhuis became a four-time Tri-County Athletic Directors’ Association wrestling champion when the Canon-McMillan senior scored a major decision, 13-3, against Donovan McMillon from Peters Township in the 182-pound finals.

Only two other wrestlers have accomplished the feat in the 15-year-old event: A.C. Headlee, a 2018 Waynesburg graduate and Tim Wallace, a 2015 Albert Gallatin product.

Nijenhuis won his first title as a freshman at 152 pounds, his second as a sophomore at 160 pounds, and his third as a junior at 182 pounds last year.

Nijenhuiis also earned the Outstanding Wrestler award for the tournament, which was held Jan. 3-4 at South Fayette High School. After receiving a first-round bye, Nijenhuis pinned Trinity’s Brian Boyd in 1:04 and Burgettstown’s Turner Lehman in 1:29 to reach the championship bout.

Though he knew he was going for a fourth title, Nijenhuis said he didn’t think about the feat and he didn’t let it “affect” his wrestling.

Nijenhuis’s efforts, however, impacted the team standings as the Big Macs captured the team title with 283.5 points. C-M boasted three additional champions, four runners-up, three bronze medalists and three fifth-place finishers.

Waynesbuurg, which had five champions, placed second with 257.5 points. Trinity took third with a 164 score.

The top Class AA team was Burgettstown. The Blue Devils edged Beth-Center, 148.5-147.5, for fourth place.

South Fayette (122.5) and Peters Township (101) followed in seventh and eighth positions.

While Costa Moore (120), Tanner Rohaley (152) and Evan Miller (220) were crowned champions for the Big Macs, Jacob Houpt (106), Jacob Gardner (126), Jimmy Baxter (132) and Tyler Rohaley (195) grabbed silver medals. Third-place finishers included: Brandon Dami (113), Gabriel Stafford (145) and Matthew Furman (170). Fifth-place finishers were: Conlan O’Donoghue (113), Tyler Soule (138) and Blake Joseph (160).

In addition to McMillon’s second-place showing, Peters Township put four additional grapplers on the podium. Bryce Wilkes (126) and Will Kail (138) took third-place honors while Henry Meyers (106) and Phillip Nave (170) secured seventh-place laurels.

South Fayette placed Eli Brinsky atop the podium at 170. Additionally, Colman Carpenter, Dawson Anderson and Luke Finestone finished fourth while James Anderson followed in fifth.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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