College Watch: Edinboro's DePalma to sit vs. Iowa
When the Edinboro University wrestling team travels to take on the University of Iowa this Saturday, starting 157-pounder Michael DePalma won't be able to take the mat.
The Jeannette High School graduate has a skin infection and wrestling rules dictate that he must sit out.
“It's a little rough,” he said of missing the opportunity to compete against one of the most storied wrestling programs in the country.
However, missing the Iowa match does have a bright side. It means DePalma can focus on the season's final two dual meets and the post-season tournaments.
“There's a little break here when I'm not competing,” he said.
“I'll take that time to get better, to improve and completely get ready (for the home stretch).”
Not that he's not already good … DePalma is 20-10 in this, his redshirt freshman season.
Still, for a fierce competitor like DePalma, that's not good enough.
“The year has had its ups and downs,” he said. “I started the year at 149 and then at 157, and that was an adjustment. I'm still learning a lot. The year has definitely been a positive.”
DePalma hopes to make it even more of a positive with victories in the season's final two dual meets against Pitt (on Feb. 22) and West Virginia (Feb. 23) and then the all-important NCAA Division I Eastern Wrestling League tournament.
That tournament is so important because the top two finishers in each weight class qualify for the NCAA national championship tournament, which is DePalma's clear, ultimate goal.
“I'm looking to get to the national tournament by any way, shape or form,” he said.
Team-wise, Edinboro is 9-4, and DePalma feels the squad is currently wrestling its best.
“I feel we're developing as a team now more than ever,” he said.
“We took a loss that we shouldn't have against Bloomsburg, but that actually helped us in a positive way. After that, the coaches made some changes in the (practice) room, made the team more committed and more focused.”
So does that mean the Fighting Scots will send a few grapplers to the national tournament?
“Yes, that's not even a question in my mind,” he said. “I think we'll have a good group going to nationals.”
Coastal streak continues
The streak continues.
Jeannette High School graduate Kayla Cook and the Coastal Carolina women's basketball team won their fourth straight game Saturday, downing University of North Carolina at Asheville, 50-46.
More than just a winning streak, however, the victory keeps Coastal in the running for a favorable slot in the Big South Conference tournament.
Cook, a 5-foot-10, redshirt junior guard, scored six points and led the team with three assists in the victory.
The local product now has 102 points on the season, a 4.9 per game average. She also has 63 rebounds, 26 assists and 17 steals.
Coastal is now 11-12 overall and 6-7 in the Big South. The team hosts Presbyterian (13-10, 8-4) tonight, Thursday, at 7 p.m.
The team then hosts Gardner-Webb (11-12, 4-8) on Saturday. Both games will be broadcast at GOCCUSports.com.
Bauerle ready for PAC tournament
The Westminster College mens swimming and diving team, including local product Matt Bauerle, is competing in the NCAA Division III Presidents Athletic Conference Championships this week. Baurele, a freshman, could make a splash at the event.
The Penn-Trafford graduate capped a good regular season by capturing two individual wins in Westminster's 166-125 win over Mount Union on Feb. 2. Bauerle won the 100-yard breaststroke (59.54) and the 200-breaststroke (2:15.32).
He was also part of the first place 200-yard medley relay team, which placed first (1:36.63).
Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.