North Hills’ Giavonie Schipani wastes no time at Allegheny County championships
Friday, January 14, 2022 | 7:44 PM
North Hills sophomore Giavonie Schipani began his high school career with 21 consecutive wins.
But the end of his freshman season didn’t go as planned, and he lost four of his final seven matches, which cost him a trip to the PIAA tournament. He finished 25-4.
That disappointed has ignited a fire in Schipani, who reached the semifinals of the 20th Allegheny County Wrestling Championship tournament Friday at Fox Chapel. The coronavirus canceled the 2021 tournament.
Schipani (15-1) got off to a great start during Day 1 of the tournament. He barely worked up a sweat wrestling a total of 61 seconds.
He will face North Allegheny sophomore Casey Walker in the semifinals, which are scheduled to begin 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The finals are slated for 6 p.m.
Early on this season, Schipani had to deal with people not wanting to wrestle him. He had five forfeits out of his 12 wins.
“I was disappointed a little bit because I wanted to get more mat time so I could work on my technique that I’ve been working on in the wrestling room,” Schipani said. “I’d like to make the finals, but I have to go step by step. I have to focus on my next match before I can focus on future matches. I don’t want to look too far ahead.”
Schipani and Walker met three times in 2021. Schipani easily won the first two meetings, but Walker pinned him in the Section 1 finals.
North Hills coach Jose Martinez said working hard in the practice room makes up for the forfeits.
“Not reaching his goals in 2021 is a motivation, but it also was an experience,” Martinez said. “We gained some experience this year. Giavonie has to understand at practice, it’s chain wrestling. If you stop, you’re not going to complete it. Once he got used to moving around, he was in good shape.”
Schipani said he needs to continue work hard off the bottom position.
“I need to get better hand control and need to work on conditioning,” Schipani said. “I can’t be gassed.”
The way he wrestled Friday, opponents better be ready for someone on a mission.
“Not qualifying for the state meet gives me motivation,” Schipani said. “I’ve been working harder this year. I want to make it back to WPIALs and qualify for states.
“Right now I feel I can do better. I just need to put forth more effort and I think I’ll be OK.”
Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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