EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 24, 2013

No burnout for former Central star DiBurro

Injuries, adversity can't dim his love of wrestling

By Dave Dyer
ddyer@eagletribune.com

---- — Jack DiBurro certainly understands how some wrestlers get burned out.

The conditioning, the never-ending strength training, the nagging injuries, the weight loss — it all can become a grind and wear down even the most enthusiastic mat competitors.

“I’ve seen it in a lot of guys,” said DiBurro, a red-shirt senior at Roger Williams University. “It really hasn’t gotten to me.”

In fact, it’s quite the opposite with DiBurro, the former Central Catholic standout from Haverhill.

Even when he suffered a serious shoulder injury at the New England tournament his senior year at Central and needed surgery, DiBurro had no doubt that he’d wrestle in college. He recovered quickly enough to enjoy a fine freshman season at Roger Williams, compiling an 11-7 record with six pins at 149 pounds.

His next year, DiBurro tore the UCL in his elbow in the preseason and lost an entire year of wrestling. The prospect of having just three collegiate years of competition didn’t sit well with him.

“Right when I got hurt, I talked with my dad, and we decided it’d be worth it to wrestle (in a fifth year) if I picked up another major and became a double major,” said DiBurro, who added criminal justice to accounting. “I definitely wanted to keep wrestling.”

After a year off, eating more and lifting regularly to gain power, DiBurro moved up to 174 pounds and compiled a decent 15-10 record. Last year, with a season to get accustomed to the heavier weight class, he improved to 23-11, finishing with a team-leading 12 pins and just one round from being All-New England.

In his third year at 174, DiBurro was eagerly waiting for this year to begin. In the early going, it hasn’t gone as well as he’d like. Through last week, he was just 4-4 and hadn’t placed in two tournaments.

“It’s a little disappointing — the first couple of weekends weren’t great, but I’m working on it,” he said. “I feel like I’m a little off and I’m not as good on my feet as I should be. But I’m looking at film with the coaches to work at it.”

Anyway, although he would obviously like to end his collegiate career on a high note individually, DiBurro is not just focused on his personal accomplishments.

“It’s more than the individual at this point,” he said. “I’m a captain and I want to do well for the team.”

Moreover, even a little adversity doesn’t come close to making DiBurro think twice about his decision to prolong his wrestling career. The sport means too much to him.

“I just like training hard and seeing how well I can do,” said DiBurro. “Wrestling makes me focus on my academics and everything I do. It’s done so much for me in class and life.”

After graduation, DiBurro would love to land a position combining his two majors, perhaps as an accountant for the FBI. If he could continue being involved with wrestling at the same time, all the better.

“I’d love to do some coaching — that would be ideal,” he said.

For DiBurro, it appears that there will never be wrestling burnout.

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Local training partner

Most successful wrestlers have excellent training partners and Jack DiBurro is no exception. His regular workout partner is his roommate and good friend Collin Crowell, a senior captain from Pinkerton. Crowell was 23-5 at 165 pounds last year and is nationally ranked.

“He (Crowell) pushes me and is a big reason I’m still here,” said DiBurro. “He’s a tough wrestler and always works hard.”

For an even tougher workout, DiBurro also works out with 184-pound strong man David Welch of Salem, N.H., via Tilton School. He is also nationally ranked and has already won two tournaments this year.

How he started

Jack DiBurro hadn’t wrestled a minute before his freshman year at Central Catholic. Football and basketball were his main sports.

Then he got cut in basketball tryouts and everything changed.

(Football) coach (Chuck) Adamopoulos convinced me to go out for wrestling, that it would really help me,” said DiBurro.

That decision proved to be a mixed blessing for Adamopoulos, who was a wrestling assistant at the time. DiBurro liked wrestling so much that, after another year on the gridiron, he quit football to concentrate on wrestling.