Cazenovia natives Aaron Benedict, left, and J.T. Romagnoli both won their second consecutive Section III Division I titles on Feb. 11 at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena. Benedict and Romagnoli compete in the state meet in Albany this weekend.
Romagnoli is also a three-year team caption, has also topped 100 career wins and also has numerous tournament victories.
He is a fine student who is being pursed by a number of colleges for both wrestling and lacrosse, where he plays midfield and defense. As a junior, he will be making college visits this summer before making his college selection.
The wrestling team on which Benedict and Romagnoli compete is only in its third year of existence and is improving each year. CBA combines with other schools, including J-D, which had dropped wrestling but wishes to restart its program.
Most start-up programs take years to build success. But this team has realized success far more quickly by following several key steps to build a strong program.
The team’s first coaches, Benedict’s and Romangoli’s fathers, themselves former college wrestlers, immediately brought in recent college graduates (Paul LeBlanc and Dave Colagiavanni) with outstanding wrestling credentials who could wrestle with team members to help them improve.
Next, they ensured that CBA/J-D competed against increasingly tough competition as the only way to be ready for the challenging end of the year championship tournaments.
CBA/J-D team qualified seven wrestlers for the sectional championships, placing five on the podium.
Ben Honis was second at 182 pounds, with Mark Friske fourth at 160 pounds and Armen Bagiryan sixth at 106 pounds. Overall, the team placed seventh out of 21 teams with 96.5 points, and improved from each of its two previous years.
Following the state meet, in April Benedict and Romagnoli intend to again compete in the National High School Wrestling Championships in Virginia Beach, where both have previously won All-American honors.