By Dennis C. Way
UPPER PROVIDENCE — When Nick Giangiulio sees a good thing, he sticks with it.
That’s the Perkiomen Valley junior’s philosophy when it comes to wrestling, and it has served him well.
Last year, he was a virtual unknown with an unorthodox style who ultimately came within a controversial call and an overtime loss from earning a state tournament berth.
This season, the Vikings middleweight is the top-ranked 152-pounder in District One, with but one blemish on his record (a loss to Central Dauphin returning state qualifier Austin Rose), and with a more-than-legitimate chance of becoming PV’s first state qualifier since 2004.
Giangiulio ran his record to 24-1 Saturday morning when he won by technical fall during Perkiomen Valley’s 65-12 romp over host Pope John Paul II. And afterwards he said while his style may be branded “unorthodox,” his approach is anything but.
“I just do what I do,” he said. “If people want to call it unorthodox, and if it works and I’m successful because of it, that’s great. But it just happens to be what I do.
“I approach every year the same. I work to improve, I wrestle during the summer and I lift. I try and determine what I need to do to get better, and sometimes develop new strategies for the coming year.”
Whatever the junior worked on this past offseason was worth the effort.
And it has turned him from a promising unknown to the guy with a target stenciled on his singlet.
“Last year I managed to fly under the radar,” Giangiulio said, “and now this year I’ve been able to come up with a good record, and I’m pretty happy about that.
“I really do try and wrestle each match at 100 percent, no matter who I’m wrestling. But I have noticed this year that some teams have tried to move away from me, or that our coaches are moving me to try (and gain an advantage) on others.”
Perk Valley head coach Tim Walsh said a large part of Giangiulio’s success is his knowledge of what works for him.
“He’s difficult to wrestle, and he keeps getting after it,” Walsh said. “He’ll go after something, and he’ll keep going after it until he gets it.
“He’s a real bright kid and he knows what he needs to do. Sometimes you get a little concerned because he’ll only do two or three things, and you’d like him to try something different. But he winds up getting what he goes after. He does his thing and sticks to it.”
“I don’t know whether that’s me being stubborn or what,” Giangiulio laughed when his coach’s comments were relayed to him. “I definitely can be stubborn.”
This season, the junior’s stubborness is focused on getting to the state tournament.
In last year’s regional semifinal, he led Spring-Ford’s Jason Dombrosky, 1-0, late in the third period when he was hit with two stalling calls in the final 24 seconds of regulation, forcing overtime, then was taken down in the extra stanza, ending his season.
“That’s something that’s stuck with me,” Giangiulio admitted. “And when it comes to this year, I don’t want to sound cocky, but I’m making it to states.
“I’ve looked around to see who’s going to be my toughest competition, but really, what it comes down to is that you can’t underestimate anybody.”
“He’s focused, and I know he’s anxious to get to the postseason,” Walsh said. “But he’s also been a good team player. We’ve moved him around in our lineup all year and he’s won some big matches for us.”
He’s no longer the guy known only by reputation and a funky style. Now, all he needs is a chocolate bar and some Hershey hardware.
“If I make it to states,” Giangiulio said, “I’m not going there expecting to lose. I want to medal.”
The Vikings used six falls and four forfeits in pulling away to the win. “I was pleased with our effort,” Walsh said. “You could see the kids working on things we’ve been working on in practice the last couple of days, and it’s always good to see them responding to what we teach.” ... Brian Stouffer (171) and Steve Van Alstine (215) were PV’s last two state qualifiers, both in the 2004 season. Van Alstine went 1-2 while Stouffer was 0-2 on the state’s biggest stage.