After falling one victory short of qualifying for the individual wrestling state championship each of the past two seasons, the Ashley senior is poised to finally be on the mat instead of in the stands during the sport's final weekend.
Gabriele won both matches Saturday to claim the title at the Alan Sewell Invitational at Laney to improve to 32-2 on the season.
"After last (year) I was so mad," Gabriele said. "I thought I was going to make it. I had everything into it, so after that match I went to McDonald's and I said, 'I'm getting big now.' "
Gabriele wrestled at 126 pounds during his sophomore and junior years, going 21-18 and 28-6.
Both of those seasons were cut short with a loss in the consolation semifinals at the 4A East Regional tournament.
This season, Gabriele jumped three weight classes to 152 and the the move has paid off.
Gabriele's tournament championship on Saturday was his second consecutive. He also claimed the Veterans Cup title last weekend in his home gym.
He finished second at the 38-team WRAL Invitational and third at the Boneyard Bash at Jack Britt, which is annually one of the toughest tournaments in the state.