Preparation pays big dividends for DeVivo

February 13, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

After a summer of international wrestling exposure, Mount St. Joseph junior Danny DeVivo has been dominating competition at both 160 and 171 pounds.

He opened the season with a pin and a technical fall before winning his second straight Curley Tournament crown, 17-7, over St. Paul's sixth-ranked Pete Karvounis. For DeVivo, a runner-up at Curley as a freshman, the victory came over a wrestler who placed third in last year's Maryland Scholastic Association Tournament.

A week later, DeVivo overcame a 5-4 deficit for a 23-6 technical fall victory over McDonough of Charles County's top-ranked Chris Brown for his second straight Annapolis Tournament crown after being third as a freshman.

To reach Brown, who was third in the states two years ago, DeVivo had a pin and a semifinal technical fall over Broadneck's Jake Schaeffer (24-1, 16 pins) -- the top seed in this week's Anne Arundel County Tournament.

The next weekend, DeVivo pinned all three opponents -- including a 34-second fall in the title bout -- to win his third straight Chesapeake Tournament crown.

"The way the first three tournaments began was kind of a surprise," said DeVivo, who is 21-3 with nine pins and three technical falls.

"I was psyched up. Only one match, Karvounis, went the distance."

DeVivo seems a safe bet to defend his 160-pound MSA crown next weekend.

"He's at his best when he's being patient, not forcing things," said seventh-year Gaels coach Paul Triplett. "He's not the rah-rah type of leader, but a real role model. He's given a lot to the team."

DeVivo, a Howard County resident, is no stranger to quick starts. His first Chesapeake crown as a freshman came over two-time Anne Arundel County champ Scott Woodland. He pinned Northeast's 1A-2A state champ, Al Grunder, last year, and also beat Old Mill's 3A-4A state champ, Marc Procaccini.

But this year, says Triplett, DeVivo is wrestling at an even higher level and could go undefeated against state opponents for the second straight season.

"In the finals of the Annapolis Tournament, he was really on a roll," Triplett said. "He's so much more slick on his feet, more confident in his abilities."

In the January issue of Link wrestling newsletter, DeVivo (93-12 career) is ranked No. 3 nationally in FILA's Junior Ratings (established in 1976) for 163-pounders.

He is the Maryland State Wrestling Association's co-No. 1-ranked wrestler with Rising Sun's two-time, 1A-2A state champ, Jason Townsend. Their only common opponent is McDonogh's fourth-ranked Martius Harding, a 5-4 loser to Townsend in the Smithsburg Tournament title bout, and an 8-0 loser to DeVivo two weeks ago.

DeVivo had beaten Harding, 3-1, for last year's MSA title, but lost, 2-1, in a summer freestyle tournament.

His only losses this season were at the December California (Pa.) Tournament, where he was fourth, and in last month's St. Mark's (Del.) Tournament, where he was a 14-13 overtime runner-up to Delaware's state champ.

"He's a mat-wise wrestler with a lot of technique. He puts it all together well," said Harding (14-5, 10 pins). "I was hoping to get a feel for his style after the last time, but I just didn't show up."

An MSA runner-up as a sophomore, DeVivo has set his sights on winning this year's National Prep title after being third and second, respectively, the last two seasons.

"That's my goal," said DeVivo. "I want to go all the way."

DeVivo went right to work after last season, winning an April 16-18 freestyle qualifier in Illinois. He emerged victorious from a 23-man bracket, scoring four straight technical falls before winning the title bout, 6-1, over a Michigan opponent. The effort earned him a spot on the United States Cadet World Team.

A week later, DeVivo won eight matches en route to a runner-up finish in the Northeast Regional Freestyle qualifying championships at Brockport (N.Y.) State University, losing to Townsend.

While preparing for the July 6-9 Cadet Worlds, DeVivo and Team USA members trained for a week at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He took eighth in the 33-country Cadet Worlds, helping Team USA to a fourth-place finish behind Russia, Iran and Turkey.

"I've learned that consistent drilling is one of the most important things," DeVivo said. "The only pressure to win comes from me telling myself, 'Hey, you've got to go out and get it.' "

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