WHITEHALL — Delaware County history was being made in the Whitehall Middle School gym Tuesday night, but John Dambro admitted that he wished the scenario could have been a little bit different for his share of personal history.
The Garnet Valley senior All-Delco 182-pounder came into Tuesday night’s PIAA Class AAA Dual opening-round bout against Parkland with 99 career wins, but he caught himself reminiscing about a loss the Jaguars suffered last week.
“If we would have won that dual last week (a loss to Council Rock South in the consolation of the District One tournament), I would have got it at home,’ Dambro said.
If that weren’t bad enough, Dambro had to wait an extra day and for a change of venue to join the century club after Monday’s match was postponed due to snow. Ultimately, though, Dambro got to work, polishing off the Trojans’ Marques Sturdivant, 13-0. His Jaguars weren’t quite as fortunate, falling to Parkland, 35-20, as the first team from Delco to ever qualify for the state team duals.
“I knew coming in I was getting it (Tuesday),’ said Dambro, a state qualifier a year ago. “I knew I was likely to get it this year, but there were doubts because my record freshman and sophomore years was only 20 wins each, but I knew I would improve.’
Choosing one favorite win out of 100 might seem like a daunting task for most, but Dambro isn’t most. He’s quick to point out, complete with an almost shy smile, his triumph over Owen J. Roberts’ Adam Moser last year. Moser had Dambro’s number twice before by 16-7 and 8-3 scores, but it was the Millersville commit who dropped the Wildcat in overtime for a spot in the state tournament.
“He beat me the week before, then I wrestled him for third and fourth in the blood round to make states and I beat him,’ Dambro said. “That was really cool.’
Garnet Valley also got wins from Gary Pizzuto (138), Sean Lyons (160), Mark Morey (170), Nick Puliti (106) and two-time All-Delco Michael Marino (126). Armed with a nothing-to-lose attitude, the Jaguars went toe-to-toe with the District 11 power Trojans, but Parkland pulled away by scoring bonus points in four of its last five victories.
Lyons and Parkland’s Frank Guida locked up in the match of the night that came down to the wire. Trailing 1-0, Lyons took bottom to start the third and after 111 seconds of battling, squirmed out of the bigger Guida’s grip and reversed him with nine seconds to go for a 2-1 win.
“The coaches asked me to go up to 160, so I told them I’d do it,’ said Lyons, who can usually be found at 152 pounds. “I was kind of nervous heading into the match. He was a little bigger. There was a minute left and he had legs in and I wasn’t sure if I’d get them out or not, but I rolled and came out on top, got the reverse and was able to hang on.’
Having to bow out is always tough, but Dambro knows that he and his teammates took an unprecedented step for Delco and Garnet Valley wrestling.
“It feels great for the team,’ Dambro said. “That was our main goal and it feels good to achieve it. It feels great having it senior year and the last hurrah.’
Having 100 wins can’t feel too bad, either.