Club Sports News

McCann twins to battle for 125-, 141-pound wrestling starts

May 13, 2020  |  Lynchburg, Va. 

Liberty wrestling recruit Johnny McCann (left) competes for Liberty Christian Academy in a 120-pound match this season. test test test test
Liberty wrestling recruit Johnny McCann (left) competes for Liberty Christian Academy in a 120-pound match this season.

Fraternal twin brothers Johnny and Connor McCann, standout lightweight wrestlers at Liberty Christian Academy over the past two seasons, will join Liberty University's men's wrestling program this fall.

The McCann brothers moved from Long Island, N.Y., after their sophomore years in 2018 when their father, John McCann, who was an NYPD detective, began working for the Liberty University Police Department.

Connor McCann overcame an injury to reach the VHSL state tournament as a senior 138-pounder at LCA.

"They were a big part of our team," LCA Head Coach Paul Anthony said. "Some kids wrestle as a hobby. They just love wrestling, and they do it in the offseason. Wrestling is their lifeline."

The brothers, who will have a virtual signing ceremony for LCA graduates on Facebook Live from 1-3 p.m. Thursday and an actual graduation ceremony on June 27, will be the fourth and fifth Bulldogs on the Flames' roster in 2020-21. They will join rising senior and reigning NCWA Grand Nationals 157-pound champion Chad Cantrell, rising junior 197-pounder Josiah Murphy and 184-pounder Josh Avery, with a sixth recruit on tap.

They are almost inseparable siblings, which makes their decisions to continue their wrestling careers at the collegiate level together at Liberty obvious ones.

"As twins, they have a tighter bond than most brothers," Anthony said. "They think alike and act alike. Connor has had some injuries, but they both get good grades, with no (disciplinary) problems, and are team leaders."

"We practice with each other; we're everywhere together," Johnny said by phone on Monday. "We are lifting together right now."

"We don't wrestle each other too much, other than in the back yard," Connor added. "We are Just trying to get as strong as we can so that when matches come up, we'll be ready."

They are the latest lightweight wrestlers to commit to the Flames in recent weeks, following Justin Mutter, Dante Mininno, and Sebastian Lamrouex, strengthening a lineup that has been lacking in the lower weight classes in recent years.

"We are definitely going to have a lot more balance down low," Liberty Head Coach Jesse Castro said. "It is going to be beneficial to the current lightweights because, typically, we have put so much pressure on them and don't have an option if they were to get hurt."

"I'm excited," added Johnny, who is training to be a pilot and will study in Liberty's School of Aeronautics as well as being involved in its Air Force ROTC program. "At my old school, I didn't have a lot of competition at my weight, so now it is more motivating having guys coming in that are going to be really good sparring partners."

Johnny, who finished fourth in the 120-pound weight class at the VHSL Group AA state championships in February, previously won two New York private school state championships, advanced to two Prep National Tournaments in Pennsylvania, and earned All-American status with a third-place finish at the 2017 NUWAY Summer Nationals in Atlantic City, N.J.

"My strengths are that I'm very fast and very aware and technical on the mat," said Johnny, who also ran cross country at LCA last fall. "Connor has really strong hands, and we both have really good cardio levels and can wrestle for a while without getting fatigued."

Connor, who wrestled at 138 pounds this past season, plans to study biomedical sciences (pre-med) with a career goal of becoming an orthopedic doctor. He planned to take an emergency medical technician (EMT) class this spring, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"Wrestling mostly teaches me a lot of lessons and discipline," said Connor, who played baseball before picking up wrestling as a freshman in high school. "Wrestling is definitely my strong suit now. I have a lot of stamina, and don't get tired quickly, and I try to stay technical as a wrestler."

He is looking forward to contending for mat time at the 141-point weight class and helping the Flames contend for their fourth consecutive NCWA National Duals and NCWA Grand National titles next season.

"That is very definitely a lot of motivation," Connor said. "I'm always up for a challenge."

 

By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

Twin brothers Johnny (left) and Connor McCann commit to wrestle for the Flames starting this fall.

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