A freak injury in Dom DeLaurentis’ sophomore season wrecked his year but it did not ruin his career.
“I was wrestling at the Wetzel tournament and I basically snapped both my ankles sideways,’ DeLaurentis said.
This weekend, DeLaurentis will make his debut at the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships in Hershey and is seeks to become just the fourth wrestler in Upper Moreland team history to notch his 100th career victory.
“His sophomore year, at the Wetzel tournament the mats separated,’ Upper Moreland coach John DeFranco said. “He injured his ankle and his knee and he still has that same injury today.’
As DeLaurentis struggled through and injury-riddled sophomore campaign, he dedicated himself to the sport and came back strong, posting an impressive 68-11 record the past two seasons with a pair of runner-up finishes at the District 1-AAA Central Championships. With a fourth-place finish at 160 pounds at the Southeast Regional, this season was enough to get him into the state championships under the new expanded format — District 1 had five wrestlers qualify for states, two more than in 2014 — accomplishing a goal he set for himself two seasons prior.
“He’s really dedicated to the sport,’ DeFranco said. “In the summer, he wrestles Greco and he’s a Greco all-American, he wrestles freestyle. He works hard. He’s the hardest working kid in our room.’
DeLaurentis is not just showing up at the Giant Center as a wrestler who is happy to be there, in fact he’s angry. Last year, DeLaurentis made the trip to Hershey, but only as a spectator and that ate at him and fueled him toward his state run this year. The senior comes in motivated to win a medal.
“It sucked,’ DeLaurentis said of the feeling just sitting and watching the state tournament last year. “I saw kids in there that I’ve beaten before, a good amount of kids that I’ve beaten. I just sat there and it was just my fire for next year and here I am now.’
Perhaps DeLaurentis’ reaction to DeFranco after he qualified for the states sums up the business he will be embarking on this weekend and his expectations of being there.
“When we were at the regional tournament and he won his match and qualified for states he smiled,’ DeFranco said. “Some kids will jump on their coach or what not, he smiled, shook my hand and that was that.’
While DeLaurentis enters the state just two wins shy of 100, the senior and DeFranco prioritize the accomplishment differently. For DeFranco, who coached DeLaurentis in middle school and through high school, it would mean a great deal. In fact, he sometimes racks his mind about ways he could have gotten DeLaurentis to the milestone already.
But DeLaurentis pulls no punches when it comes to getting to 100, it is all about the hardware.