Derry wrestler moves on after tough match
HERSHEY — When Derry sophomore Jimmy Gulibon wrestles a match, he usually dominates.
Rarely does a match go a full six minutes because Gulibon (34-1) usually records a pin or a technical fall. Only two of his matches have gone the distance this season.
One of those rare matches occurred Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.
Gulibon, the returning 103-pound champion and the favorite to win the 112-pound title, struggled against Liberty sophomore Devin Lotito. Gulibon won the match, 7-6, but he wasn't happy.
"The way I wrestled, not getting off the bottom, was unacceptable," Gulibon said. "I did what I had to in the first period, but I couldn't get off the bottom and I just laid there the next two periods. I can't put myself in those positions. I have to forget about that match."
Gulibon followed the game plan to perfection in the first period, building a 6-2 lead with three takedowns. But the match changed in the second period when he took the down position.
He couldn't escape from Lotito over the next four minutes and quit moving. He eventually gave up three penalty points, two for stalling, and dejectedly walked off the mat after the match. Gulibon said he needs to go back and work on his escapes.
Franklin Regional junior Nico Megaludis, who won the 112-pound title last year, walked up to Gulibon after his match, put his arm around him, and told him to cheer up.
"Jimmy will be fine," Megaludis said. "He's tough on himself. He is modest and sometimes he doesn't think he's as good as he is."
"The kid he wrestled was good," Derry coach Mike Wood said. "Jimmy just struggled getting free. He stopped doing the things that made him successful."
Megaludis (119 pounds), who has won 82 consecutive matches, easily won his match, 11-3, against Nazareth junior Franco Ferraina. He said he's having fun wrestling new opponents, but he doesn't know much about Hatboro junior Matt Harkins, who he will meet in the semifinals.
"I've never wrestled these guys before," Megaludis said. "I like the new competition and that's a good thing."
Derry junior Travis Shaffer (31-3) reached the semifinals for the second consecutive season with his 1-0 victory against Boyertown senior Alex Pellicciotti. The point came from a second-period escape. Shaffer, who was pinned by Pellicciotti is a preseason tournament, lost in last year's semifinal.
"I knew if I didn't get taken down, I could win," Shaffer said. "This was huge. He almost had me in the second period with a front headlock, the same move he caught me with before the season, but I fought it off."
Shaffer will face Cumberland Valley senior Shawn Greevy (22-2) in the semifinals.
Hempfield junior Paul Bewak (36-6) handed Pennsbury freshman Josh DiSanto his first loss of the season, 15-10.
"The kid had an undefeated record, so he had to be good," Bewak said. "I've been here before, so I was nervous. Placing second here last year actually helped me. All my extra work outs prepared me for this tournament."
Bewak took control of the match with a big five-point move in the first period and DiSanto couldn't recover. Bewak will face Corey Keener of Blue Mountain in the semifinals.
"If you hit big moves up here, it's tough to recover," Bewak said. "He never did. I have one more match before the finals. He lost to Jimmy at Powerade, so I just have to use my speed to beat him."
Kiski Area senior Zack Shannon, who is fighting flu-type symptoms, advanced to the semifinals at 152 pounds.
Connellsville freshman Ethan Kenney (103) and Latrobe senior Eric Shaffer (189) lost in the quarterfinals, but they recovered to win their consolation matches and reached the medal round.