PLAINVILLE - The Plainville wrestling team is set to bring in a tremendous addition to its roster when getting ready to start its next season.
Plainville is quietly the hometown of Dakota Marie Dinelli, one of the top high school wrestlers in the country and currently the seventh-best girls wrestler nationally at 152 pounds. She spent the past weekend taking second place at the Super 32 Classic preseason national tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
“I’ve been very excited, I’ve been training for Super 32 for a few months now,” Dinelli said. “It’s just one of the best kinds of tournaments because there’s good matches. A lot of my friends are there from all over the country, it’s just very good competition. My bracket, I think I had like 10 girls, but most of us were ranked in the country so it was a very competitive tournament.”
Now a junior at Plainville, Dinelli will suit up the Blue Devils in her upcoming high school seasons after spending the first semester of her sophomore year at Wyoming Seminary School in Kingston, Pennsylvania, one of the most highly regarded high school wrestling programs in the country, on a full scholarship. While she said she enjoyed her time with the wrestling team at Wyoming Seminary, she decided to come home after one semester.
“It was a great school, very good community, it’s just not for me,” Dinelli said. “I just didn’t fit in well there. I missed living at home.”
“It was amazing, it was definitely the best training that I’ve had in a while,” she added. “We woke up at 5:30 [a.m.], had practice at six every morning, we had practice after school every day. Basically, it was just wake up, wrestle, go to school, wrestle, go to bed.”
Dinelli put the exploits that earned such high recognition after two years of high school on full display at the Super 32, winning each of her first two matches by technical fall in the first two periods. She then faced Cheyenne Bowman, ranked second in the nation at 144 pounds, in the championship match and lost by pin in 49 seconds. Dinelli needed to drop from her usual 152 pounds to 148 pounds for this tournament while Bowman was able to add weight, but Dinelli remained pleased with how she wrestled.
“It felt pretty good. It was definitely a confidence booster and hoping that my ranking will go up,” Dinelli said. “Right now, I’m ranked seventh in the country, so that would be good. I used to be ranked No. 8, now I'm No. 7, and I’m hoping my ranking will go up from placing so high at this tournament.”
Dinelli started wrestling from the moment she was introduced to the sport and her love for it only grew from there. Not only is it an activity she found she enjoys and is good at, she also found solace in wrestling as a way to relieve her emotions.
“I’m going on my 11th year wrestling, so I’ve been wrestling ever since I was five, which is the youngest you can start,” Dinelli said. “Probably around sixth or seventh grade was when I realized wrestling is something that I want to do in my future and something I want to be good at. Wrestling has always been an outlet for me, just a nice way to release stress, whether it’s from my family or school or my friends.”
Unfortunately for Dinelli and thousands of other wrestlers across the country, the coronavirus pandemic leaves plenty of uncertainty for this year’s high school wrestling season. While that may delay her first opportunity to wrestle for Plainville, her aspirations aim far higher than the high school level. She said she is yet to truly begin the college recruiting process, but has an idea of what she wants and how she can accomplish all while staying local.
“I’ve kind of just been looking at my options,” Dinelli said. “Right now, I’m interested in Sacred Heart University because they just got a Division I women's wrestling team, so that’s totally awesome.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com