It’s almost as if Danny Mousetis were born to play Reversal’s lead character Leo Leone. A championship wrestler himself, Danny’s similarity to the character doesn’t end there. His legacy — with a father and grandfather before him who were champion wrestlers as well — matches Leo’s so well that it seems unbelievable.
But there’s more. In order to achieve the look of a young man starving himself to death, Danny actually lost more than 20 pounds, rendering his previous trim build gaunt.
Here are some photos from Danny’s real-life career. Top left: Danny on the mat at age 8. Left below: Danny posing with his 5th grade team. Right below: Danny at a high-school meet. Left bottom: Varsity award. Right bottom: In the press again.
Reprinted from the Millcreek Sun, April 1993
Grappler Mousetis takes third in state junior ranks
Danny Mousetis led the way for the Millcreek Youth Athletic Association contingent in the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling Championship in State College on April 2 and 3.
Competing in the 65-pound class among the 10-and-under group, Mousetis placed third overall, the highest finish for any MYAA competitor in nine years. He won two of three before falling to the consolation bracket where he gained the top spot, good for third overall.
Among the 13-14-year-olds, Dave Hoover dropped to 120 pounds where her was 2-1 in the initial round, then won two more in the consolation bracket before losing to wind up in fifth place. At 145, Tim Magale split his opening bouts but also was 2-1 in consolations for fifth place.
Other MYAA wrestlers who qualified for the championships were Jason Tomczak at 85 pounds in the 13-24 classes and Brandon Rhodes at 75 among the 11-12 class. Justin Double at 105 in the 13-14 class had to default because of a separated shoulder.
Reprinted from the Observer-Reporter, 2000
No generation gap
Washington’s Mousetis joins father, grandfather as WPIAL champion
By Joe Tuscano
The Observer Reporter
Wrestling at Washington High School can be pressure-packed in ordinary times. But when your name is Mousetis, well, that just makes it more trying.
But Saturday night, in the 125-pound finals of the WPIAL Class Championships here, Dan Mousetis extended a tradition and strengthened the legend of his family name.
With a 3-2 decision over top-seeded Brad Youder of Southmoreland, Mousetis became a third generation WPIAL champion.
Mousetis was one of six wrestlers from the Washington-Greene County area to capture titles. Among them was teammate Garret Rosero, Who won his second straight title with a 6-3 decision over Freedom’s Matt Hill at 140.
Beth-Center’s Ulysses Davis (28-0) remained undefeated with a 3-0 decision over Luke Vitolo of West Greene at 130. Don Rush of Avella grabbed a 11-5 win over Damian Johnson of Shady Side Academy at 135, Cliff Wonsettler of Brentworth captured the 172-pound title and his 100th career victory with a 4-1 decision over Yough’s Brian Hall. And Chartiers-Houston’s Jackson Shaw won at 189 over Brownsville’s Jason Rice.
The top five wrestlers in each weight class advanced to next weekend’s Southwest Region tournament at Pitt-Johnstown.
“I wasn’t worried about the legacy,” Dan Mousetis said. “I just wanted to wrestle my best. This is definitely the peak of my career.”
In 1974, his father Tim won the 132- pound title defeating Frank Sams of Trinity. Last night, Tim was in the corner, as an assistant coach at Washington High, urging his son on to the historic victory.
“He’s not a hard kid to coach,” said Tim Mousetis. “He never says no if you ask him to move up or down a weight.” He’s a good person and I’ll be proud of him forever.”
Just a few weeks ago, Stan Mousetis sat in the first row of the bleachers at Charleroi High School, fidgeting in his seat and trying to keep his nerves under control. Stan, who is in the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame for his coaching feats at Washington, won his WPIAL title in 1946 at 133 pounds, beating Earl Fuller of Waynesburg.
“They both made me happy,” Stan Mousetis said. “My heart was going like crazy. He’s such a good boy and a fine gentleman.”
And from all reports, Dan is also a good actor. He starred in an independent movie about wrestling called, “Reversal,” that was filmed in Washington last fall.
“I heard him mumble during the tournament, ‘No one is going to beat me,’ ” said Wash High head coach Frank Rotunda. “No one did.”