As found on Penn State University’s website, below is Carter Starocci’s bio. Learn about this wrestler’s career:

Class: Sophomore

Hometown: Erie, PA



Athletic: All-American as a freshman…Named Big Ten Freshman of the Year (2021)…2021 NCAA Champion at 174…2021 Big Ten Runner-Up.

Season: Posted 14-2 overall record…Two majors, one tech, one pin…Big Ten Runner-Up (174)…Earned All-America honors as a freshman…2021 NCAA National Champion (174) in first trip to NCAA tournament.
Indiana/Northwestern (1/30): Went 2-1 in opening day tri-dual at Northwestern…Began day with a 18-1 tech fall (2:37) over Indiana’s Robert Detars in the extra bouts at 174, then suffered a close 10-9 upset loss to Donnell Washington in the dual meet…Took down Northwestern’s Troy Fisher 4-1 in dual victory over the Wildcats. Wisconsin (2/2): Posted 5-3 win over Jared Krattiger in Madison. Michigan (2/14): Beat #2 Logan Massa 7-1 (tb), using a four-point turn in the tie-breaker to break away for the win in Ann Arbor…Named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week (2/16)Ohio State (2/19): Used tie-breaker escape then rideout to post thrilling 2-1 (tb) win over #3 Kaleb Romero in dual at Columbus. Michigan (2/14): Majored Maryland’s Phillip Spadafora 15-6 in Rec Hall dual debut.
Big Ten Championships (3-1, 2nd, NCAA Qualifier):  Was Big Ten runner-up at 174, losing to #1 Michael Kemerer in the finals. Beat #6 Kaleb Romero and #2 Mikey Labriola to reach the finals. Went 3-1 with a pin overall. Was named 2021 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
NCAA Championships (5-0, 1st, National Champion):  Went 5-0 in his first trip to the NCAA tournament to become the NCAA National Champion as a freshman.  Downed the #30 and #14 seeds to reach the quarterfinals. Beat #6 Andrew McNally of Kent State in the quarters and then used a ride-out and escape point to beat #2 Demetrius Romero of Utah Valley 2-0 in the semis to advance to the NCAA finals. Scored midway through extra time to beat #1 Michael Kemerer 3-1 (sv) to win the national title.

Season: Wrestled unattached in open tournaments during his redshirt season…Went unbeaten during the year…Posted an 18-0 overall record with three pins, two tech falls and six majors…Won the 174-pound Southern Scuffle title.

Wrestled at Cathedral Prep in Erie…Four-year letterman and four-year team captain…Rolled to a 172-10 record for the Ramblers…Won state title as a senior with a 46-0 mark…Won state title as a junior with a 50-0 mark…Took second at states as a sophomore and placed as a freshman as well…Received academic honors twice…Has two older siblings, brother, Chris and sister, Ceci.


Date      Wt.     Result         Opponent                                           Place Record
1/30      174    W, 18-1       Robert Detars, Indiana (TF; 2:37)        IU extras       1-0
1/30      174    L, 9-10        Donnell Washington, Indiana                    dual       1-1
1/30      174    W, 4-1         Troy Fisher, Northwestern                       dual       2-1
2/2        174    W, 5-3         Jared Krattiger, Wisconsin                       dual       3-1
2/14      174    W, 7-1 (tb)    #2 Logan Massa, Michigan                     dual       4-1
2/19      174    W, 2-1 (tb)    #3 Kaleb Romero, Ohio State                  dual       5-1
2/22      174    W, 15-6       Phillip Spadafora, Maryland (major)           dual       6-1
3/6        174    WBF           Phillip Spadafora, Maryland (4:47)            B1G       7-1
3/6        174    W, 2-0         #6 Kaleb Romero, Ohio State                  B1G       8-1
3/6        174    W, 3-1 (sv)    #2 Mikey Labriola, Nebraska                   B1G       9-1
3/7        174    L, 2-7          #1 Michael Kemerer, Iowa              B1G  (2nd)       9-2
3/18      174    W, 10-2       #30 Victor Marcelli, Virginia (major)         NCAA     10-2
3/18      174    W, 8-2         #14 Hayden Hastings, Wyoming            NCAA     11-2
3/19      174    W, 6-3         #6 Andrew McNally, Kent State             NCAA     12-2
3/19      174    W, 2-0         #2 Demetrius Romero, Utah Valley         NCAA     13-2
3/20      174    W, 3-1 (sv)    #1 Michael Kemerer, Iowa              NCAA (1st)     14-2




As found on Oklahoma State University’s website, below is head coach John Smith’s bio. Learn about this coach’s career:

John Smith is a name synonymous with wrestling success.

The Oklahoma State head coach won six consecutive world championships as a competitor from 1987-92, including gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Additionally, he owns five national championships as head coach of the Cowboys.

Recently completing his 30th year, Smith accepted the head coaching position at Oklahoma State in 1992 and the numbers and accomplishments since that time speak for themselves. He has led his alma mater to five NCAA team titles in 1994, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and he has coached 33 NCAA individual champions and five Olympians. Under his watch, the Cowboys have brought 21 team conference tournament championships, two Big 12 regular season titles and 126 individual conference titles back to Stillwater. He has seen his student-athletes earn All-America recognition 148 times, an average of 4.9 All-America honorees per year. Smith also has coached two Hodge Trophy recipients in Alex Dieringer and Steve Mocco.

He was recognized as the National Wrestling Coaches Association coach of the year in 1994 and 2003 and is a 15-time selection as his conference’s coach of the year (1994 and 1996 in the Big Eight and 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the Big 12).

Most recently, Smith led his squad to its ninth consecutive Big 12 tournament title, with three Cowboys claiming individual Big 12 Conference titles in 2021.

This past season, the Cowboys went 10-0 in duals on the year, marking the program’s 47th undefeated regular season and second in three seasons. Oklahoma State qualified eight wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, with Wyatt Sheets being added to the tournament as a late addition at 157 pounds. Entering the tournament ranked sixth in the nation, the Cowboys finished third for the 16th time with Smith at the helm. Six wrestlers earned All-America honors including national runner-up Daton Fix (133), Boo Lewallen (149), Sheets (157), Travis Wittlake (165), Dakota Geer (184) and true freshman national champion AJ Ferrari (197).

The Pokes greatly outperformed their seed at the tournament, placing 39 spots higher as a team than what was expected by their original seeds. The next highest was 18 points below OSU with 21.

In 2019 the Cowboys finished with a 15-0 dual mark. It was the first undefeated team for the Cowboys since 2005. The Pokes earned spots at nine weights for the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh, where Nick Piccininni (125), Daton Fix (133), Dakota Geer (184), Preston Weigel (197) and Derek White (HWT) claimed All-America honors.

OSU brought home a third-place finish from the national tournament for the second time in three years and finished in the top three for the 15th time with Smith at the helm.

A native of Del City, Okla., Smith owns a 449-65-6 career dual match record as a head coach (.863 winning pct.).

The Pokes took a full squad to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis in 2017, where Dean Heil finished off an undefeated season at 32-0 to take home his second-straight NCAA title at 141 pounds.

Joining Heil on the podium were seven other Cowboys to tie a program record: Nick Piccininni (4th, 125), Kaid Brock (5th, 133), Joe Smith (4th, 157), Chandler Rogers (5th, 165), Kyle Crutchmer (7th, 174), Nolan Boyd (6th, 184) and Preston Weigel (6th, 197). Brock and Piccininni combined to become the first pair of Cowboy freshmen to notch fifth-place-or-better finishes in the same year since 2001.

The Cowboys finished the 2017 national tournament in third despite scoring 103 team points to mark the 12th time that an OSU wrestling team has surpassed 100 points at the event, wrapping up a campaign that saw the Pokes go 14-1 in dual action.

Smith led OSU to four consecutive NCAA team championships from 2003 through 2006.

The 2003 squad compiled a perfect 17-0 dual meet record, won the Big 12 team title, crowned six individual Big 12 champions and featured a pair of NCAA individual champions in Johnny Thompson and Jake Rosholt.

The NCAA Champion Chris Pendleton-led squad sported a 17-2 dual meet record, won the Big 12 team title and crowned four individual Big 12 champions in 2004.

Under Smith’s watch, Oklahoma State compiled a 21-0 dual meet record in 2005, the most recent undefeated dual season before the 2019 season. That team capped the season with one of the most dominant showings in the history of the NCAA Championships when an NCAA-record five Cowboys were crowned NCAA champions. Zack Esposito won at 149 with Johny Hendricks taking the 165 championship. Pendleton repeated as an NCAA champion at 174, Jake Rosholt claimed the title at 197 and Steve Mocco won the heavyweight championship. OSU wrestlers compiled a 38-9 record at the NCAA Championships that year and the Cowboys set school records for points, margin of victory and national champions. Oklahoma State scored 153 team points to top second-place Michigan by 70 points.

Smith and the Cowboys went 16-2 in dual meets en route to claiming their fourth consecutive NCAA team title in 2006, under the leadership of Hendricks and Rosholt, who both claimed their second consecutive NCAA individual championships.

Smith won his first of five NCAA team championships in 1994 when the Cowboys compiled a 13-1 dual meet record, won the Big 8 team championship, crowned four individual Big 8 champions and three NCAA individual champions in Alan Fried, Mark Branch and Smith’s younger brother and first-ever four-time NCAA champion, Pat Smith.

For all of the championships and success he continues to enjoy as a coach, it is his career as a wrestler that is the stuff of legend. Smith truly was the best wrestler in the world.

In brief, Smith compiled a 105-5 record as a high school wrestler at Del City High School in Del City, Okla., before beginning his collegiate career at Oklahoma State, where he put together a 152-8-2 record that included a pair of NCAA individual championships in 1987 and 1988. He was a three-time All-America selection in 1985, 1987 and 1988. On the international stage, Smith rolled to a 100-5 career record that included six world championships (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992), two Olympic gold medals (1988 and 1992), two Pan American Games gold medals (1987 and 1991) and two Goodwill Games gold medals (1986 and 1990).

To this day, Smith holds Oklahoma State school records for career victories (152), single-season victories (47 in 1988), career bonus-point wins (113), single-season bonus-point wins (39 in both 1987 and 1988) and single-season bonus point win percentage (90.7 in 1987). A three-time Big Eight Conference individual champion in 1985, 1987 and 1988, Smith wrestled primarily at 134 during his collegiate career, where he strung together a 124-4 overall record. He also competed at 126, compiling a 27-4-2 overall mark, and won his lone career match at 142.

After Smith’s junior year at Oklahoma State, he won the first of his six world championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Smith was the only collegiate wrestler to win a world championship while still in college until 2017 when Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) claimed a title in Paris. Following his graduation in 1988, Smith qualified for the U.S. Olympic freestyle team and came away from the Seoul Olympics with the first of two Olympic gold medals and the second of six consecutive world titles.

Three more world championships ensued in 1989, 1990 and 1991 before Smith claimed the second of his Olympic gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona games to cement his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

His list of awards and honors received befits someone who earned the distinction of being the best wrestler on the planet. Smith was honored as the first wrestler to ever claim the James E. Sullivan Award as America’s outstanding amateur athlete when he won the award in 1990. He was the first American ever chosen as the Master of Technique and Wrestler of the Year by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) when he received the honor in 1990. In 1992, he was presented with the Amateur Athletic Foundation’s World Trophy, becoming the first North American wrestler to earn the honor. A 2003 inductee into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame, a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and a 1997 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Smith was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time at the 1996 Atlanta Games. That same year, Smith was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of Honor.

Smith was the 1991 selection as FILA’s Outstanding Wrestler of the Year after earning Man of the Year honors from Amateur Wrestling News in 1988, Athlete of the Year recognition from USA Wrestling in 1989 and Sportsman of the Year honors from the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1990.

In 2004, the U.S. Olympic Committee presented Smith with the Titan Award, and the next year, he joined his brother Pat as one of 15 wrestlers named to the NCAA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

The Smith family legacy is strong at Oklahoma State, as John’s older brother Lee Roy was a three-time All-American in 1977, 1979 and 1980 and claimed the 1980 national championship. John was a three-time All-American in 1985, 1987 and 1988 with a pair of national titles in 1987 and 1988 and younger brother Pat was a four-time All-American with four national championships in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994.

Smith also successfully established a wrestling club that allows wrestlers from across the country to prepare and train for international competition. The Gator Wrestling Club sent three former Oklahoma State wrestlers to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games. Jamill Kelly won the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, with Daniel Cormier finishing fourth and Eric Guerrero also representing the USA in Athens.

In 1995, Smith married the former Toni Donaldson. The couple has three sons – Joseph, Samuel and Levi and two daughters – Isabelle and Cecilia.

Coaching Career
:: Oklahoma State’s All-Time Winningest Coach with a 449-65-6 career record
:: Two-Time NWCA National Coach of the Year (1994, 2003)
:: Five-Time NCAA Champion Coach (1994, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006)
:: 23-Time Conference Champion Coach (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012 (reg seas), 2013 (reg seas/tourn), 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
:: 13-Time Big 12 Coach of the Year (1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
:: Two-Time Big Eight Coach of the Year (1994, 1996)
:: 33 NCAA Individual Champions Coached
:: 148 NCAA All-Americans Coached
:: 126 Conference Individual Champions Coached
:: Coach, USA Olympic Wrestling Team (2000, 2012)
:: Coach, USA Men’s World Championships Team (1998, 2009, 2010, 2011)
:: Coach, USA Women’s World Championships Team (2017)
:: Coach, USA World Cup Team (1997)
:: Coach, USA Women’s Cadet World Team (2018)

Wrestling Career
:: Six-Time World Champion Wrestler (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)
:: Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist (1988, 1992)
:: Two-Time Pan American Games Gold Medalist (1987, 1991)
:: Two-Time Goodwill Games Gold Medalist (1986, 1990)
:: Two-Time NCAA Wrestling Champion (1987, 1988)
:: Three-Time NCAA All-American (1985, 1987, 1988)
:: Three-Time Big Eight Champion (1985, 1987, 1988)
:: First North American wrestler to claim the Amateur Athletic Foundation World Trophy (1992)
:: First Ever American to earn FILA’s Master of Technique Award (Best technical wrestler in the world, 1990)
:: First Wrestler to win James E. Sullivan Award (Nation’s top amateur athlete, 1990)
:: U.S. Olympic Committee Sportsman of the Year (1990)
:: FILA Outstanding Wrestler of the Year (1991)
:: USA Wrestling Athlete of the Year (1989)
:: Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year (1988)
:: U.S. Olympic Committee Titan Award (2004)
:: Named one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All-Time (1996)
:: Member, FILA Hall of Fame (Inducted in 2003)
:: Distinguished Member, National Wrestling Hall of Fame (inducted in 1997)
:: Member, Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (inducted in 1997)
:: Member, NCAA 75th Anniversary Team (2005)
:: NWCA College Wrestler of the Year (1987)

Records as a Wrestler
International Record: 100-5
Domestic Freestyle Record: 77-3
Collegiate Record: 152-8-2
High School Record: 105-5




As found on Kutztown University’s website, below is Collin Wickramaratna’s bio. Learn about this wrestler’s career:

  • CLASS:  Senior
  • WT. CLASS:  133
  • HOMETOWN:  Marlton, N.J.
  • HIGH SCHOOL:  Cherokee
  • PREV SCHOOL:  Ursinus
  • MAJOR:  Exploratory Studies


2019-20 | SOPHOMORE

  • NWCA Division II All-American (133 lbs.)
  • NCAA Division II Super Region 1 champion (133 lbs.)
  • All-PSAC First Team (133 lbs.)


2019-20 | SOPHOMORE

  • Made an immediate impact with the Golden Bears, going 24-2 and qualifying for the NCAA Division II Championships at 133 lbs.
  • Led the team in wins, dual wins (13), dual points for (64), pins (seven) and major decisions (six)
  • Recorded a perfect 7-0 mark in dual matches against PSAC opponents
  • Opened the season with a 4-1 record and fourth-place finish at the ESU Open, Nov. 10
  • Produced a pin and four major decisions en route to winning the 133-pound bracket at the Centenary Bob Quade Cyclone Open, Dec. 8
  • Knocked off eighth-ranked Eric Bartos of Mercyhurst with a pin in 3:51, Feb. 1
  • Broke into the final NWCA regular season national rankings at No. 9, Feb. 21
  • Scored an overtime takedown of sixth-ranked Tyler Warner (Pitt-Johnstown) to win the Super Region 1 title, 4-2, Feb. 29
  • Named NWCA Division II All-American following the cancellation of the NCAA Championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships at 125 pounds as a freshman with the Division III Bears
  • Compiled 30-8 record
  • Won Centennial Conference Championship at 125 lbs.
  • Finished as NCAA Mideast Region runner-up
  • Also placed at the Messiah Invitational (second), Ursinus Fall Brawl (third) and Citrus Invite (third)
  • Won a pair of consolation matches at NCAA Championships and came a win shy of All-America status




As found on the South Dakota State University’s website, below is head coach Damion Hahn’s bio. Learn about this coach’s career:

Damion Hahn is overseeing a successful rebuilding of South Dakota State University wrestling as he enters his third season at the helm of the Jackrabbits’ program.

During the 2019-20 season, the Jackrabbits returned to the winning side of the ledger in dual competition by posting a 12-6 overall record, including a 6-3 mark against Big 12 Conference opponents. Included in the dual victories were wins over nationally ranked Northern Iowa and Stanford.

SDSU also improved by six spots in the Big 12 Conference Wrestling Championship, finishing fourth in the team standings at the 2020 competition. Four Jackrabbit wrestlers earned automatic qualifying berths in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, with another receiving a bid as an alternate. The NCAA Championships were later canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the National Wrestling Coaches Association selected 149-pounder Henry Pohlmeyer, 184-pounder Zach Carlson and 197-pounder Tanner Sloan as second-team All-Americans.

In his first season at SDSU, Hahn faced a rebuilding task as the Jackrabbits featured new starters in six spots in the lineup. SDSU finished with a 3-10 dual mark, including a 2-7 record against Big 12 foes. Pohlmeyer was the lone NCAA qualifier.

Hahn was hired at SDSU on April 9, 2018, following more than a decade of success as a member of the coaching staff at Cornell (N.Y.).

“Damion represents everything we are looking for in being able to take our wrestling program to the next level,” said SDSU Director of Athletics Justin Sell in announcing the hire. “His success both as a collegiate wrestler and coach, along with his ability to recruit high-achieving student-athletes on and off the mat, made him the ideal candidate. He is a tremendous ambassador for the sport who will work tirelessly to ensure wrestling thrives both on our campus and across the country.”

Hahn spent 12 years as an assistant coach and later the associate head coach at Cornell in Ithaca, New York. During his tenure, the Big Red recorded 11 top-10 team finishes at the NCAA Championships, including consecutive runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2011. He mentored 50 All-Americans, 12 of whom were individual NCAA champions. Cornell also won 12 straight Ivy League dual championships and 11 consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association team titles.

In accepting his first head coaching position, Hahn made a return to the Midwest. As a collegiate wrestler at Minnesota, Hahn won NCAA individual national titles as a junior and senior. A four-time All-American, he also was a three-time Big 10 individual champion and was named the Jesse Owens Big 10 Male Athlete of the Year in 2004. The Golden Gophers won team NCAA championships during both his freshman and sophomore seasons. He finished his collegiate career with a 118-21 record.

Hahn was inducted into the University of Minnesota’s M Club Hall of Fame in 2018.




After nailing 5th place in the very tough New Jersey Youth State Championships last season, as a 4th-grader, Luke O’Connor – now in 5th grade – is poised to potenntially earn State Champ honors. But not in New Jersey this year.

O’Connor is now wrestling in a new state.


And he is tearing up the Sunshine State. He has kicked off the season with an 11 – 1 record, nailing seven pins and three major decisions. His only loss was against a Georgia State Champ in a hard fought decision.

Wrestling out of Creeks Wrestling Club in northern Florida, alongside another powerhouse New Jersey alum – 7th grader Florida State Champ Mario Del Vecchio who Empire State News recently profiled in an article here – O’Connor just whipped through the Merritt Island IOF State Qualifier last weekend. In winning two different weight classes, 75 lbs and 80 lbs, O’Connor racked up seven wins in this tournament alone. His victories included two matches against a 2021  Florida State Champ: an 11 – 0 major decision and an 8 -2  decision.

Luke O’Connor, who has a cache of slick moves and who wrestles each match like a chess game, has launched an exceptional season in Florida. Reaching the top of the state podium this year is a definite goal–and a realistic one at that. No matter where the kid finishes this year, though, he has already made his mark in Florida.


A 13-year-old, very confident state champion wrestler, film star and more – who movie co-star Julie McCullough called “a little girls’ dream” in an article in New Jersey daily newspaper The Record – Mario Del Vecchio is one of the physically strongest and toughest athletes in the State of Florida and beyond. He is that one kid you want in your corner if you have a problem, as he is gifted in so many areas.

After becoming the Florida 6th Grade Wrestling State Champ (and taking 2nd place in two 8th grade state championship tournaments) last season, Del Vecchio has started this wrestling campaign by winning first place in eight straight tournaments—compiling a 24 – 0 record that encompasses an astounding 17 pins and 5 tech falls. As a 7th grader, he has beaten several older wrestlers in these tournaments, including high schoolers as old as seniors. Watch videos here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, where Del Vecchio pinned seven straight opponents in a tournament last month.

Stepping into the weight room, Del Vecchio is equally impressive. Watch here, as he incline bench presses 185 lbs for 10 easy reps—something most MEN cannot do.

Also a standout football player, Del Vecchio won Lineman of the Year for three consecutive seasons for his New Jersey football team, the Montclair Cobras (he since has re-located to Florida). Serving as the team’s captain and in capturing the team’s Hammer Award and Academic Achievement Award for having the highest grades on the team, he has been an absolute tour de force: on defense, terrorizing opposing teams’ backfields (he has led his team with 10 1/2 QB sacks) and on offense a consistent powerhouse blocker. His football highlights video tells it all.

As an accomplished, well-known professional actor, Del Vecchio already has 10 movies under his belt, two of which he played the lead role. Last Christmas, A Wrestling Christmas Miracle was released. In starring in this film, Del Vecchio was type-cast as the good-looking jock, where some of his real wrestling matches were used in scenes. Co-starring alongside Del Vecchio in A Wrestling Christmas Miracle are: “Cobra Kai” and The Karate Kid star Martin Kove, as well as Emmy nominee Gilbert Gottfried (Problem Child), Golden Globe nominee Jimmie Walker (“Good Times”), Michael Winslow (Police Academy), Todd Bridges (“Different Strokes”), and Scott Schwartz (A Christmas Story). See the movie’s trailer here.

A year earlier, Del Vecchio carried the lead male role in A Karate Christmas Miracle, a mystery/thriller. Kove again co-starred in the film, along with Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts—and A Wrestling Christmas Miracle alums Julie McCullough, Candy Fox, and Buddy Fitzpatrick. Represented by top talent agent BMG, Del Vecchio has recently auditioned for some of the industry’s bigger TV shows and movies.

If all this isn’t enough, Del Vecchio is a Straight-A student. A photographic memory has been an asset in his educational endeavors.

Doing ALL of the above is nearly impossible for a kid. But it is a reality for media-dubbed Renaissance Boy, Mario Del Vecchio. However, this young man is grounded, not at all arrogant, and generous.

Del Vecchio said, “Everybody is talented. I like seeing other people do well. I’m happy for them. I hope that others are happy for me. That’s how things work best. When people know what they’re good at and they’re confident about it, and when people recognize what others are good at and they’re genuinely happy for them. My Dad told me that a long time ago, and I’ve always felt this way.”




Matt Azevedo, the Mert and Joanne Hill Head Coach of Wrestling, is in his 11th season as head coach of Drexel Wrestling in 2021-22 after joining the Dragons in April 2011 following successful coaching stints at Cornell and Cal Poly. Azevedo has led the program’s resurgence and ushered in a new era of Drexel Wrestling in the EIWA. The 2020 inductee into the California Wrestling Hall of Fame is the eighth head coach in the school’s history and replaced Jack Childs, who retired after 35 seasons at Drexel.The Dragons have climbed onto the national scene and into the national rankings under Azevedo. The Dragons earned their first USA Today/NWCA DI Coaches Poll national ranking under Azevedo and remained ranked in the Top 25 for six weeks during the 2016-17 season. The following year, the Dragons finished the 2017-18 regular season ranked in the top 25 of four separate polls – USA Today/NWCA DI Coaches, FloWrestling, Intermat tournament and Intermat dual – for the first time in program history.

On the mat, the Dragons have won 78 matches, including 10-win seasons in three of the last six years under Azevedo’s guidance. In 2016-17, Drexel finished with 13 dual victories, its most since the 2006-07 season. The Dragons have taken down ranked nationally ranked opponents in three of the last six years – No. 21 Rider, 18-14, in Feb. 2018; No. 25 Princeton in Dec. 2016; and No. 20 Northwestern, 21-20, in Nov. 2015. Drexel also dramatically came back to tie the overall score at 20-20 on a late third-period pin against No. 5 Lehigh in Dec. 2017, despite the Mountain Hawks winning on criteria. The Dragons also recorded major victories over Penn in 2016, their first since 1989, against Hofstra in 2013, their first since 1997, and against Binghamton in 2020, their first since 2006.

Azevedo has coached 38 NCAA Wrestling Championships qualifiers in his first 10 seasons at the helm. Despite having the 2019-20 season cut short and the 2020-21 season shortened due to the pandemic, the Dragons had all 10 wrestlers place at the EIWA Championships for the first time in program history and sent a program-best (tied with 2002 season) six wrestlers  to the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis. Parker Kropman (157) Michael O’Malley (174), and Bryan McLaughlin (197) each qualified for their second appearance in tournament while Julian Flores (141), Luke Nichter (149) and Evan Barczak (165) each received their first automatic bid to NCAA’s. In 2020, Antonio Mininno (125), Michael O’Malley (174) and Bryan McLaughlin (197) earned automatic bids to their first-ever championships, and Ebed Jarrell (165) received an at-large selection to the tournament. Additionally, Parker Kropman (157) was named the first alternate at his weight class. In 2019, Drexel qualified four Dragons for the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh: Kropman (149), Jarrell (165), Stephen Loiseau (197) and Joey Goodhart (285). In 2018, the Dragons sent a then program-best five wrestlers to Cleveland, Ohio for NCAAs.

Three Dragons have gone on to win three conference championships during Azevedo’s tenure. Matt Cimato took home the EIWA title at 149 pounds in 2016 the year after Kevin Devoy won the EIWA title at 133 pounds in 2015. In 2013, 197-pounder Brandon Palik became Drexel’s final CAA champion. The Dragons have seen the EIWA podium become commonplace over the last eight years as 47 wrestlers have placed at the conference tournament. In 2021, Drexel had all 10 wrestlers place at EIWA’s, passing the previous program-record eight in 2018. The Dragons performance was highlighted by a second-place finish by Michael O’Malley (174), a third place finish by Luke Nichter (149) and three fourth-place finishes by Julian Flores (141), Bryan McLaughlin (197) and Evan Barczak (165).

In the classroom, Drexel Wrestling has been a standout academic program in the nation. Drexel finished as an NWCA DI Top 30 All-Academic Team for the eighth-straight season and has boasted the nation’s best team GPA twice. In 2021, the Dragons earned a spot as the seventh highest GPA in the nation at 3.46 and led the list of individual honorees. In 2020, the Dragons claimed high honors with a 3.59 GPA. The year prior, the Dragons were the top academic DI wrestling team in the country with a program-best 3.63 GPA. The Dragons have had 27 NWCA Academic All-America individual selections during that time, including 10 in 2021 – Kyle Waterman, Chandler Olson, Jaxon Maroney, Tyler Williams, Gabe Onorato, Jared Donahue, Luke Nichter, Parker Kropman, Evan Barczak and Michael O’Malley. Thirty-nine wrestlers have earned EIWA All-Academic Team selections since the award began in 2016, including eight in 2021 – Kyle Waterman, Chandler Olson, Luke Nichter, Parker Kropman, Evan Barczak, Michael O’Malley, Bryan McLaughlin and Sean O’Malley, and eight in 2020 – Owen Brooks, Vincent Foggia, Jarrell, Kropman, Michael O’Malley, Sean O’Malley, Chase Shields and Tyler Williams. Also, 11 wrestlers have been named Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area At-Large Team selections, including Jarrell in 2020 when he was named a co-performer of the year. Jarrell capped a stellar five-year career in University City with an appearance on the CoSIDA Academic All-District 2 Men’s At-Large Team.

While at Cornell, Azevedo helped the Big Red earn nine All-America honors, nine EIWA champions and seven Academic All-Americans. He also guided the team to back-to-back second-place finishes at the NCAA championships, which marked the best performance in school history. Prior to his time at Cornell, Azevedo spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Cal Poly, where he coached seven All-Americans and eight Pac-10 champions. He also helped guide Cal Poly to its highest finish in school history at the Pac-10 championships by placing second in 2004 and 2006.

Azevedo wrestled collegiately at Arizona State and Iowa State, each for two seasons. He advanced to the NCAA Tournament in three of his four seasons. Azevedo graduated with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Iowa State in 2002. He continued his wrestling career after graduation and went on to be a seven-time U.S. National place winner, two-time U.S. National Team member and won the 2008 U.S. Open National Championship.




  • Class:  Junior
  • Weight Class:  133
  • Hometown:  Elkhart, Ind.
  • High School: Jimtown HS
  • Major:  Criminal Justice

2020-21: Went 8-2 as a sophomore…recorded eight two falls…NAIA National Champion at 133-lbs…WHAC Runner-Up to twin brother Matt at 133-lbs…took first place at the Adrian Invite…WHAC All-Academic Team…NWCA Scholar All-American…CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.

2019-20: Went 26-10 as a freshman…recorded eight falls, two tech falls and two major decisions…earned NAIA All-America honors with an seventh-place finish at the NAIA National Championships, defeating twin brother Matt in a match of rock-paper-scissors…Sooner Athletic Conference champion, defeating Matt in the finals…took third at the Patriot Open, Trine Invitational and Indiana Little State Championships…NWCA Scholar All-America Team selection… Selected to the Academic All-SAC Team.

High School: Four-time varsity letter winner for the Jimmies…also played football.

Major: Criminal Justice

Personal: Twin brother Matthew also wrestles for Tech.




• In seven years, Ersland has secured 16 top-100 recruits and five top-25 recruiting classes … the class of 2016 was ranked No. 6 by FloWrestling, No. 7 by InterMat and No. 8 by WIN Magazine … the class of 2017 was ranked No. 13 by FloWrestling, No. 18 by InterMat and No. 22 by TheOpenMat.com … the InterMat ranking is the third highest for Purdue with records dating to 2004 … Ersland is credited with two of those top three recruiting classes: 2016 and 2017 … the class of 2018 was ranked 18th by FloWrestling and 25th by TheOpenMat.com … the class of 2020 was ranked No. 13 by FloWrestling, No. 20 by InterMat and No. 22 by MatScouts … the class of 2021 was ranked 17th by WIN Magazine, No. 20 by InterMat and No. 22 by MatScouts.
• Has sent 45 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships … has matched a program high with eight qualifiers four times in seven years, including the last three years in a row … Purdue previously qualified eight in 1993 and 2003 … the eight qualifiers in 2015 were the most since 2010.
• Forty Boilermakers have placed at the Big Ten Championships under Ersland, with eight earning podium finishes in 2020 and 2021 … the eight placewinners match the program record and are the most since 2004 … Purdue placed fifth at the Big Ten Championships in 2020 (83.0 points), marking the Boilermakers’ best conference finish since 1992, and their most points since points 89 in 2004 … the Boilermakers finished sixth in 2021 (76.0 points), marking the first time Purdue finished in the top-six in back-to-back seasons since placing fifth in 1991 and 1992.
• Ersland’s squad has ranked in 22 straight NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll’s, dating to Nov. 12, 2019, and has received votes in 57 consecutive polls, every week since the final poll of the 2016-17 season … the Boilermakers have climbed as high as No. 13 in the nation during the streak, earning the votes in three straight weeks in 2018-19, and again in back-to-back weeks during the 2019-20 campaign … Purdue finished the 2019-20 season ranked 15th in the country, the best final ranking for an Ersland-coached team and the top end-of-season mark for the Boilermakers since 2012-13 (No. 14).
• The Boilermakers were tabbed 18th in the 2018-19 preseason poll, the highest preseason ranking since 1991-92 … during the season, the Purdue wrestling team climbed as high as No. 13 in Theraworx NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll, the program’s highest ranking in nearly 10 years … the last time Purdue was ranked 13th or higher was Feb. 17, 1999, where the Boilermakers checked in at No. 13.
• In 2019-20, Purdue had as many as eight nationally ranked wrestlers at one time, the first time on record in program history, with nine wrestlers earning a national rank at some point during the season … the team repeated the feat in 2020-21, earning nods in eight weight classes simultaneously, and nine different weight classes at some point during the year.
• Seventy-two Academic All-Big Ten Conference honors have been earned by 34 Boilermaker wrestlers … has twice broken program highs in number of honorees, first with 10 in 2015-16 and then 13 in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
• The 2018-19 squad was ranked 18th on the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s Top-30 Scholar All-American Teams list … it was the first time since 2013 Purdue made the list and was the second highest ranked team among six Big Ten Conference programs among the top 30 … the team repeated its top-30 showing in 2019-20, ranking 28th, and was again 1-of-2 Big Ten teams.
• Five Boilermakers were named NWCA Division I Scholar All-American Award winners in 2018-19, setting a new standard for Purdue wrestling … Ben Thornton earned his third NWCA Division I Scholar All-American Award … Max Lyon joined the three-time honoree club in 2021, becoming the sixth in program history … during Ersland’s tenure, nine Boilermakers have been named NWCA Division I Scholar All-American Award winners a combined 15 times.
• Three of Ersland’s wrestlers have received the Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship, a $7,500 scholarship to be used towards graduate degree education: Andrew Hoselton (2016), Ben Thornton (2019) and Dylan Lydy (2020).
• Coached Kendric Maple to the 2017 U.S. Open Men’s Freestyle National Championships title at 61 kg … coached Griffin Parriott to the 2017 UWW Junior Freestyle National Championships title at 70 kg.
• Put two Boilermakers on the top of the podium at the 2019 Ken Kraft Midlands Championships, marking the first time in program history as Dylan Lydy won the 174-pound championship and Christian Brunner earned the 197-pound crown … coached 2015 Midlands 165-pound title winner Chad Welch to give Purdue its first Midlands champ since 1963 … coached the first two-time Big Ten Wrestler of the Week in Purdue history in Danny Sabatello (2014-15).
• At the 2017 Ken Kraft Midlands Championships a program-record seven wrestlers placed, crushing the previous high of four from 2008, 2006 and 1990 … as a team, the Boilermakers totaled 84 points to place seventh … the 84 points are the most they have ever scored at Midlands, topping 2008’s performance of 82.5 points … they combined to score 367 total match points, which was the fifth most among all teams.
• Matched the program’s best team finish at the 2019 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, placing fifth with 92.5 points, the most ever for the Boilermakers since they began attending the tournament in 2002 … had three individuals advance to the finals as Dylan Lydy won the 174-pound championship, while Devin Schroder and Christian Brunner were runner-up at 125 and 197, respectively … had five individuals place, matching the program’s best mark set in 2004.
• In 2015, Tony Ersland was one of nine head coaches that were in their first season as a Division I head coach and one of 13 coaches that were in their first year at the helm of their respective program … his eight NCAA qualifiers were the most among both groups … he was also the only coach among both groups to have his team in the final USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll.




  • CLASS:  Redshirt Sophomore
  • POSITION:  165
  • HOMETOWN:  Brighton, Mich.
  • HIGH SCHOOL:  Detroit Catholic Central

Sophomore/Freshman (2020-21)
• Academic All-Big Ten; NWCA All-Academic Team
• U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award
• NCAA All-American, 165 pounds
• Claimed seventh place at the NCAA Championships (March 18-20) with a 5-2 record
• First Wolverine freshman to earn All-America honors in four seasons (2017)
• Placed third at the Big Ten Championships (March 6-7) with a 4-1 mark
• Defeated Nebraska’s #19 Peyton Robb, 4-1, in the third-place match
• Shared the team wins lead with a 14-4 record, including a 5-1 mark in dual meets
• Used a third-period ride and turn to defeat Penn State’s #6 Joe Lee, 4-1 (Feb. 14)
• Beat Rutgers’ Brett Donner, 10-4, in varsity debut (Jan. 8)

Freshman (2019-20)
• Redshirted season; competed unattached in four open tournaments
• Captured the 165-pound title at the Edinboro Open (Feb. 1) with a 5-0 record
• Runner-up at the Purple Raider Open (Jan. 19) with a 2-1 mark
• Went 4-2 at the Midlands Championships (Dec. 29-30)
• Placed fifth at the Michigan State Open (Nov. 2) 4-2 record
• Defeated Northern Illinois’ Izzak Olejnik, 2-1, in collegiate debut at the MSU Open

• Graduated from Detroit Catholic Central High School (2019)
• Captured three Michigan state titles, winning at 152 pounds (2019), 145 pounds (2017) and 125 pounds (2016)
• Four-time Michigan state finalist; claimed runner-up honors at 152 pounds as a junior (2018)
• Named the MHSAA 2019 Male Wrestler of the Year
• Michigan recipient of the 2019 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award
• Posted a career prep record of 167-15, including a 40-0 mark as a senior
• Contributed to three straight DCC Michigan team state titles (2017, ’18, ’19)
• Six-time Fargo All-American; reeled off five straight wins, outscoring his opposition, 53-2, to reach the semifinals in 2018 before an injury forced him to default out of the tournament
• Two-time Super 32 placewinner (2017, ’18), including a runner-up finish as a senior
• Honor Roll
• Ranked as the No. 17 overall recruit by FloWrestling and No. 2-ranked 152-pound wrestler

• Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts; undeclared major
• Born on August 3, 2000
• Son of Sam and Tonya Amine; dad wrestled at Michigan (1988-90)
• Has two siblings, Jordan and Breanna; Jordan wrestled at Michigan (2015-18)
• Uncle, Mike Amine (1986-89) and cousin, Malik Amine (2016-19), also wrestled at Michigan, while cousin, Myles Amine, is currently a fifth-year senior on the Wolverine team