It's been nearly 45 years since any high school wrestler from Cazenovia won a sectional title in wrestling. The streak has since been shattered by Cazenovia residents, J.T. Romagnoli and Aaron Benedict, both of whom attend Christian Brothers Academy in DeWitt. The wrestlers won sectional titles on Feb.12 at the Utica Auditorium.
Romagnoli, a sophomore, captured the title in the 130-pound division. Benedict, a junior, won the 140-pound class. Both defeated opponents with over 100 career victories each.
The athletes began wrestling in the Caz youth program, then coached by their fathers. When they enrolled in CBA, there was no wrestling, but the school agreed to start a program, in combination with Jamesville-Dewitt High School. College All-American Treavor LeBlanc, of Morrisville, coaches the team; which has amassed a season record of 11-5.
The team qualified eight wrestlers for the sectional tournament and had victories over well-established programs including, Cortland, Morrisville, ESM, F-M, Homer, Marcellus, as well as Cazenovia.
Romagnoli, the number-one ranked Division I wrestler in Section III at 130 pounds this year, completed the season with a record of 33-5. He won the Jack Fisher Tournament and placed high at the very competitive Herkimer, Haines, and New Tournaments. He not only won the Class AA Tournament last week, but he won the Outstanding Wrestler award.
Two years ago, Romagnoli earned All-American honors at the Middle-School National Championships. Benedict earned similar All-American honors at the High School National Championships. Both plan to return to national competition in April at the National Championships in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Benedict was also the number-one ranked Division I wrestler this year at 140 pounds. His record so far is 33-1, with his sole loss being an injury default. He won the Herkimer, Haines, and New Tournaments, prior to heading to the Class AA Tournament last week, with a first period pin in the finals.
Because of their sectional titles, Romagnoli and Benedict will now compete in the New York State Championships on Feb. 25 and 26, in Albany.