Jeannette grad DePalma aiming for success at NCAA wrestling tourney
College Football Videos
It's not too often that a local product has the opportunity to win collegiate national championship. But that is exactly the opportunity in front of Jeannette High School graduate Michael DePalma this weekend.
DePalma is a redshirt sophomore on the Kent State University wrestling team and earlier this month he took third place at the 149-pound weight class in the Mid-American Conference tournament.
That earned him a spot in the NCAA Division I championship tournament, which begins today in Oklahoma City, Okla.
While DePalma didn't reach his goal of winning the MAC tournament, qualifying for the national championship tournament still gives him a tremendous opportunity. While it's a long shot, if DePalma wins every match he has this weekend, he will win the national championship.
Kent State head coach Jim Andrassy knows DePalma has the talent to compete with the best, but he also knows that, even if DePalma does not win it all, qualifying for the national tournament is a tremendous accomplishment and massive building block for the future.
“This year, for him to qualify for the national tournament for the first time and to go down there and compete against the top guys in the country, to see what it's like, that is great experience,” said Andrassy.
DePalma, however, has only one goal in mind: to win the national title. He knows that will be anything but easy, as he enters the tournament unseeded and will have to compete against the very best grapplers in the country.
“I'm excited to bring my best performance out there,” he said. “I'm excited to go out there and compete against the best and finish as high on that podium as possible. That is the goal. I'm in the mindset, I'm ready. It's going to be fun.”
DePalma has a record of 24-18.
He is scheduled to face ninth-seeded Eric Grajales (20-10), a fifth year senior from Michigan, in the first round today.
The tournament can be viewed on ESPNU and at ESPN3.com.
Gregory, Charlotte fall
The University of North Carolina-Charlotte women's basketball team, featuring Jeannette grad Ciarra Gregory, made a quick exit from the Division I Conference USA tournament, falling to Louisiana Tech 66-55 in the first round on March 12.
Gregory, a freshman guard, got her first collegiate post-season experience, playing three minutes in the game. She was one-of-five from the floor, giving her five points in the game. She also grabbed two rebounds.
With the loss, Charlotte is 15-15 overall. As of press time, the team was still waiting to learn if it had earned an at-large bid to any post-season tournaments.
Cortazzo racking up numbers
In Division II softball action, Kirstie Cortazzo — a senior infielder at Gannon — is again near the top of her team's stat sheet in several offensive categories.
The Jeannette grad is first on the team with a .786 slugging percentage, second on the team with a .381 batting average, and first with a .435 on-base percentage.
Not surprisingly, through 14 games, she also leads the team with three home runs and nine RBIs and she's second on the team with 16 total hits.
Gannon is 7-7 overall, all nonconference games. Action in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) begins this Saturday for Gannon in a home game with Slippery Rock.
Weightman heats up for St. Bonaventure
Another Jeannette product off to a hot start on the diamond is Brian Weightman, a senior outfielder on the Division I St. Bonaventure University baseball team.
In the Bonnies' three-game sweep of Ohio University last weekend, Weightman played in all three contests, collecting five hits including a double, three walks and five RBIs.
So far this season he has 27 at-bats, a .296 batting average, .370 slugging parentage and a team-high .441 on-base percentage.
After opening the season with eight straight losses, the Bonnies entered the week on a four-game winning streak and a 4-8 overall record.
Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kiski Area graduate Kuhn set to help YSU take on Pitt on Saturday
- Va. State will test Cal U’s defense
- District college game of the week: No. 8 John Carroll at St. Vincent
- District college roundup: Clairon clobbers Lock Haven
- Kellar feels Vulcans can be playoff threat
- Expectations high for young Penn State New Kensington soccer team
- Cal (Pa.) women’s volleyball seeks strong follow-up to last year’s PSAC title season
- Jeannette an ‘important school’ to St. Vincent football coach Dolciato
- Gateway grad Parrish ready to do his part for Panthers