Many families have a shared passion. For some families it’s distancing running. For others it’s golf. For the Cassioppi family it’s wrestling.
Hononegah has had another strong season on the wrestling mats. Two of the biggest reasons for that are brothers Tony and Giovanni Cassioppi. Giovanni won more than 30 matches and he was a regional runner up. Tony Jr. is undefeated in 44 matches and he’s headed to State this weekend.
They became interested in wrestling somewhat by chance when they were playing youth football.
“I just saw a flyer when I was playing football, and I just decided to go for it. So I went out and I loved it,” says Giovannia.
“I was nine, ‘G’ was eight when we started wrestling,” says Tony Jr. “We had never heard of it before or anything. We came out to try to get better at football and it kind of turned into our thing.”
They wrestle pretty much year round now. While they have a shared passion they’re on opposite spectrums of the weight classes. Sophomore Giovanni wrestles at 113 pounds. Junior Tony wrestles at 285.
So how can one be so big and the other so small? It’s a mystery.
“Yea I have no idea,” says Giovanni. “He ate more than me I guess. I don’t know.”
“I’ve always been a lot bigger than him,” says Tony. “He weighs like 120 right now on a normal day, and I was 120 in sixth grade, so I don’t really know.”
The line of Cassioppi wrestlers runs deeper than Tony and Giovanni. There are six children in the Cassioppi family in all. Tony and Giovanni are simply the oldest.
Their sisters Rose age 12 and Angelina age 10 also wrestle in the Hononegah Kids Club, and eight year old twin brothers Rocco and Bruno also are in the kids club.
Giovanni says the twins are likely to follow in their older brothers’ footsteps.
“Oh yea they’re really good. They’ve won state already. They’re really good.”
So what’s it like being the mother of wrestlers who are so dedicated to their sport?
“It’s actually a real blessing because I see how hard they work, and I see it pay off,,” says Erica Cassioppi. “And it’s a great example to our other children, because we have six kids. Tony and Giovanni work so hard and give everything they have it really helps the other kids have something to aspire to and to look up too.”
The head of the Cassioppi family Tony Sr. helps coach the Hononegah Kids Club. It’s no wonder some people half-jokingly refer to them all as the Cassioppi wrestling dynasty.