Summer on the mat

Girard’s DelGarbino finds offseason success

Special to Tribune Chronicle Jack DelGarbino of Girard has had success thus far this summer in offseason wrestling tournaments.

Finishing fourth in the state wrestling tournament — as a sophomore — wasn’t good enough, and outside of a championship, not much is acceptable for Jack DelGarbino.

A soon-to-be junior at Girard High School, DelGarbino isn’t wasting any of his summer relaxing. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound big man has wrestled in several offseason tournaments, including the UWW (under 17) Cadet National Tournaments and the Disney Duals in Orlando, Fla.

DelGarbino wrestles two different styles in the offseason: Greco Roman, which is all upper-body moves and throws, and freestyle, which allows more aggression from the neutral position and calls for wrestlers to stay on their stomachs when on bottom instead of escaping.

There are several other quirks to each form, and while they both vary quite a bit from the conventional folkstyle of high school wrestling, the various tactics can help wrestlers understand how to react in different situations.

“It teaches different ways of doing things — on your feet mostly,” said DelGarbino, who showed he can wrestle multiple styles last season with an acrobatic form and a brawling approach. “There are different ways you can attack someone.”

The payoff of offseason wrestling expands to more than just improvement on the mat.

DelGarbino placed first in the Greco Roman division at the UWW Cadet Nationals and second in freestyle, and he did so in front of college wrestling’s best coaches. Penn State’s Cael Sanderson, who has led the Nittany Lions to five of the last eight national titles, and Ohio State’s Tom Ryan were just two of the many NCAA coaches on hand.

Not that the audience bothered DelGarbino any.

“No,” he said of whether he wrestled any differently. “I’m still just doing the same things I would normally do.”

Those things are pretty good.

DelGarbino, whose father won a state championship at Liberty in the early 1990s, finished 50-4 as a sophomore at 220 pounds. He won a league title, a sectional title and a district title before two close losses at state cost him a chance at a championship.

That’s part of what drives him to wrestle as many matches as he can in the summer.

“It gets you used to seeing what you’re going to see at those tournaments,” said DelGarbino of how the offseason prepares him for big matches in the regular season. “(This season) showed me where I stand as of right now and where I could be.”

That landing spot is on the top of the podium in Columbus.