Until last year, it had been 45 years since anyone from Cazenovia had won Section III titles in wrestling. Now, it’s happened two years in a row.
A pair of wrestlers who attend Christian Brothers Academy and who live in Cazenovia, Aaron Benedict and J.T. Romagnoli, claimed sectional Division I titles again on Feb. 11 at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena.
Benedict, a senior, won at 138 pounds and Romagnoli, a junior, prevailed at 145 pounds, both wrestling for the combined CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt squad.
In his final, Benedict, who has earned All-American status, beat Fulton’s Adam Wallace (also a 2011 sectional champion) in overtime 11-9. Behind for much of the match, Benedict hit a dramatic throw to put his opponent on his back and tie the match late in regulation. The CBA senior quickly scored on a takedown in OT to take the championship.
Romagnoli, also an All-American, missed the opening weeks of the season with a lacrosse injury but worked himself back into shape in time to defend his title. He defeated Tom Quinlan (Fayetteville-Manlius) 4-0 in the finals with punishing turns from the top position.
By winning again, Benedict and Romagnoli earned trips to Albany to compete in the state Division I championships at the Times Union Center, which take place Friday and Saturday.
A three-year team captain, Benedict has more than 100 career wins. He has won every major tournament in which his team has competed, most multiple times.
Not only that, but Benedict is a High Honor Roll student at CBA and president of its National Honor Society. Benedict was accepted to Cornell University, where he was also recruited to wrestle. Cornell was ranked first in the nation for NCAA Division I wrestling for most of last year and is perennially one of the top-ranked teams in the country.