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High School Sports

Jeannette's DePalma eyes same goals

Paul Schofield
| Friday, March 4, 2011

Jeannette senior Michael DePalma was seconds away from his first WPIAL Class AA wrestling title Saturday, but a late rally by Burrell's Jeremy Landowski spoiled that.

Down, 6-2, Landowski got a late reversal and pinned DePalma to win the 135-pound title at Chartiers Valley. Now, DePalma (40-2) is focused on qualifying for the PIAA tournament and winning a state title.

To do that, he must wrestle well this weekend at the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament at Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown. The meet begins at 9 a.m. today. The Southwest Regional is made up of teams from the WPIAL and Districts 5 and 6 — the southern mountain region of the central part of the state.

"It took me a day to get over that stunning loss," DePalma said. "But that's behind me now, and I'm ready to go this weekend. My goals are still attainable."

In DePalma's path this weekend and next week is Tyrone's Ron Garbinsky, who is No. 1 in the state according to Off The Mat. Garbinsky (33-0) defeated DePalma twice last season, but Jeannette coach Matt Lebe said DePalma is more seasoned.

"He's wrestled probably 150 more matches this last year," Lebe said. "So, he has a lot more experience."

If DePalma wins his first two matches today, he'll probably face Garbinsky in the semifinals. Landowski (43-6) is on the opposite side of the bracket.

"I'm a better wrestler this year," DePalma said. "I just have to go out and do my best. Hopefully, it will be good enough to win."

The WPIAL wrestlers seeded No. 1 in the tournament are Kittanning's Jason Nolf (37-0) at 103; Derry's Jim Gulibon (29-1) at 119; Shady Side Academy's Geoff Alexander (40-3) at 125; Burrell's Dave Makara (35-3) at 130; Derry's Travis Shaffer (30-4) at 140; South Fayette's Nick Carr (35-1) at 152; Charleroi's Cody Wiercoich (34-1) at 160 and Burrell's Brian Beattie (41-5) at 215.

Alexander is aiming for his fourth Southwest Regional title. Gulibon (a two-time Class AAA champ), Carr and Wiercoich are returning PIAA champions.

Additional Information:

At a glance

PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional wrestling tournament

Where: Cambria County War Memorial, Johnstown

Today's schedule: Preliminaries, 9 a.m.; quarterfinals, noon; semifinals, 5 p.m.

Saturday's finals: 10:15 a.m.

The skinny: The top five in each weight class advance to the PIAA championships March 10-12 in Hershey.

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