Just call Jesse Dellavecchia a bracket buster.
The Great River product, who is now a graduate student at Rider University in New Jersey, advanced to the final round of the Division I NCAA Wrestling Tournament Friday night, pinning top seed Ryan Deakin of Northwestern with 1:43 left in the second period at 157 pounds at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.
Dellavecchia, the number four seed, will wrestle David Carr for the national championship Saturday night.
Dellavecchia (11-0) snapped Deakin’s 30-match winning streak, pinning him with a half nelson after a scramble midway through the second period. Northwestern challenged the pin call, but it was ultimately upheld.
"I’m a good top wrestler, I knew that," Dellavecchia said on ESPN. "I know I can turn anyone. I was on top and it just worked out."
Dellavecchia advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season, but his title dreams were thwarted after the event was canceled in the opening days of the COVID-19 pandemic. That year, he was 30-2, finished the season on a 13-match win streak, and won 17 of his 18 matches after the calendar turned to 2020.
This year, Dellavecchia made it back to the championships and decisioned UNC’s Joshua McClure 5-0 in the first round. He beat Oregon State’s Hunter Willits 4-2 in the second, and advanced to the semifinals after Penn State’s Brady Berge was injured 2:39 into their quarterfinal bout.
Dellavecchia, a 2015 graduate of East Islip High School became the first Long Islander to reach the NCAA Division I wrestling finals since Shoreham-Wading River’s Jesse Jantzen won the 2004 title at 149 pounds.
At East Islip, he was a two-time state finalist and a four-time NHSCA All-American. Before transferring to Rider, Dellavecchia was 15-9 at Binghamton in 2015-2016, notching four pins, and one major decision.