Girard junior repeats district title

Tribune Chronicle / Joe Simon Girard’s Jack DelGarbino, right, battles with Alex Leasure of Alliance Saturday in the 285-pound championship match of the Division II district meet held at Alliance.

ALLIANCE — Sure, Jack DelGarbino can squat the equivalent of a vending machine. Yes, DelGarbino can bench press about the weight of a pony.

But that doesn’t mean the 285-pound Girard wrestler is going to use all that strength during his matches.

That’s not his style.

DelGarbino continued to show his blend of strength, skill and athleticism at the Division II Alliance district tournament, winning the 285-pound weight class in impressive fashion.

The returning state placer won a district title for the second straight year and heads into the OHSAA State Wrestling Tournament, which begins Thursday, as a No. 1 seed and the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class. It’s easy to see why after another dominating performance Saturday.

DelGarbino pinned Alex Leasure in the championship bout, and despite possessing incredible strength — he squats 600, bench presses 405 and power cleans 285 — he again demonstrated he’s much more than a brute.

“I try to use my strength without trying too hard with it,” DelGarbino said. “I try to put myself in a good position and then use my strength to finish my shots and do my throws or whatever (move I’m using).”

That was the case against Leasure.

DelGarbino used speed to shoot in on a move known as a high-crotch, powerfully drove to his feet and lifted the fellow 285-pound wrestler into the air as he tactically finished with a half-nelson and drove Leasure into the mat.

At that point, the match was essentially over, as DelGarbino finished chest-to-chest and pinned Leasure just 1 minute, 10 seconds into the first period.

“I caught him out of position,” DelGarbino said, “and took advantage of it.”

A simple formula for a wrestler who can boast a complicated style of wrestling.

As Girard coach Jim Cardiero said, most “heavyweight” wrestlers battle for position by pushing against one another. They’ll jostle their arms back and forth, trying to gain better position and superior leverage and patiently — very patiently, in most occasions — wait for an opening.

DelGarbino is darn good at wrestling that way. The difference with DelGarbino is that he’s darn good at wrestling several other ways as well. He competes in offseason tournaments that use various forms of wrestling, such as freestyle and Greco-Roman, which are contrasting to the folkstyle used on the high school level. That gives DelGarbino the knowledge and experience to excel in all types of situations.

“That was one thing we always said was that, ‘We don’t want you to wrestle like a heavyweight,'” Cardiero said. “Not that it’s a bad thing to wrestle like a heavyweight, but that’s not what we want. We wanted a guy that can go out there and score like a normal wrestler at other weights. That’s been our goal.”

They seem to be on the right track.

Now 45-0, DelGarbino hopes to match his father, John “JT” DelGarbino, at the upcoming state tournament. JT won a state title for Liberty back in 1991. His oldest son placed fourth last season, and he’s looking to improve on that this year.

“Stand on top of the podium when the weekend’s over,” said Jack of his long-term goal.

His first few steps are in the right direction.

The state tournament begins at 3 p.m. Thursday and continues Friday and Saturday at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.