4 PJ wrestlers place, team takes 7th at Beast of the East

Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School

The Pope John XXIII Regional High School wrestling team had a strong performance at one of the toughest tournaments in the country over the weekend.

Junior JoJo Aragona, sophomore Eddie Ventresca, senior Jake Rotunda and junior Robbie Garcia each placed in the top seven and the Lions took seventh as a team at the rugged Beast of the East at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.

Aragona, a returning state runner-up for the Lions, took a team-best third at 138 pounds. He pulled out a 4-2 win in sudden victory over Jackson Henson, of Waynesburg, Pa., in the third-place consolation.

As the seventh seed, Aragona reached as far as the quarterfinals in the championship bracket, but came up short of a semifinal berth after dropping a 10-4 decision to Kingsway’s Quinn Kinner. After the loss, Aragona won three matches in a row to secure his first Beast of the East medal.

Ventresca, who finished sixth in the state in 2017, earned his second straight fourth-place medal at the Beast at 113. Ventresca also went the furthest of any Lion in the championship bracket, as he made the semifinals at 113 before dropping a 4-1 decision to top-seeded Kurt McHenry of St. Paul’s School for Boys.

Ventresca rebounded from the loss to McHenry by earning an 8-6 win over Chris Barnabae, of Mount St. Joseph, in the consolation semifinals to make the third-place consolation. However, Ventresca fell to Delbarton’s Anthony Clark, 3-0, to take fourth.

Rotunda, a three-time state qualifier for the Lions, earned his first medal at the Beast after posting a 3-2 win over Bergen Catholic’s Carmen Ferrente in the fifth-place consolation.

Rotunda also reached the quarterfinals of the tournament, but lost a tough 10-9 decision to Brecksville’s Gabriel Tagg. Rotunda rebounded from that loss by going 3-1 in his next four matches to earn his fifth.

Garcia, who placed fourth in the state last year, rounded out the medal winners by taking seventh at 145. Garcia grabbed his first Beast medal after winning by medical forfeit over Garretsville’s Logan Kissell.

Garcia got as far as the third round of the championship bracket, but was eliminated from title contention after dropping a 9-6 decision to Bergen Catholic’s Wade Unger. However, Garcia won three matches in a row to secure a spot in the medal round, where he wound up losing to Ryan Vulakh, 5-1, in the consolation quarterfinals to end up in the seventh-place match.

Shane Percelay, Kaya Sement, Matthew Garcia, Connor Fritsch, Anthony Rispoli, James Swentzel, Christopher Jhong and Jack Morelli also competed at the Beast for the Lions, but did not place. Sement came the closest out of this group to reach the medal stand, as the sophomore reached the sixth round of wrestlebacks before falling there.

Beast of the East

Team results: 1. Blair Academy 288, 2. Bergen Catholic 237, 3. Lake Highland Prep 188.5, 4. Delbarton 150.5, 5. Brecksville 146, 7. Pope John 109


106: Nick Kayal (Bergen Catholic) dec. Will Guida (St Paul’s School for Boys), 4-3

113: Kurt McHenry (St. Paul’s School for Boys) dec. Trevor Mastrogiovanni (Blair Academy), 4-3

120: Michael Colaiocco (Blair Academy) dec. Julian Tagg (Brecksville), 3-0

126: Patrick Glory (Delbarton) maj. dec. Chris Wright (Central Dauphin), 9-0

132: Nick Raimo (Hanover Park) won by medical forfeit over Joey Silva (Lake Highland Prep)

138: Quinn Kinner (Kingsway Regional) maj. dec. Marshall Keller (Christiansburg), 11-3

145: Ricky Cabanillas (DePaul) 6-0 dec. Victor Voinovich (Brecksville), 6-2

152: David Carr (Perry Massillon) dec. Sammy Sasso (Nazareth), 6-3

160: Andrew Merola (Blair Academy) dec. Phil Conigliaro (Belmont Hill), 5-2 (2 t.b.)

170: Julian Ramirez (Blair Academy) dec. Emil Soehnlen (Perry Massillon), 3-1

182: Leonardo Tarantino (Blair Academy) dec. Jacob Cardenas (Bergen Catholic), 3-2

195: Michael Beard (Malvern Prep) maj. dec. Tony Wuest (Smyrna), 17-6

220: Ben Goldin (Lake Highland Prep) dec. Owen Trephan (Blair Academy), 1-0

285: John Birchmeier (Broad Run) dec. Curtis Ruff (Lake Highland Prep), 6-0

Third-place consolation (Pope John only)

113: Anthony Clark (Delbarton) dec. Eddie Ventresca (Pope John), 3-0

138: JoJo Aragona (Pope John) dec. Jackson Henson (Waynesburg), 4-2 (s.v.)

Fifth-place consolation (Pope John only)

132: Jake Rotunda (Pope John) dec. Carmen Ferrante (Bergen Catholic), 3-2

Seventh-place consolation (Pope John only)

145: Robbie Garcia (Pope John) won by medical forfeit over Logan Kissell (Garretsville)

Semifinals (Pope John only)

113: Kurt McHenry (St. Paul’s School for Boys) dec. Eddie Ventresca (Pope John), 4-1

Quarterfinals (Pope John only)

113: Eddie Ventresca (Pope John) dec. Ryan Chauvin (Lake Highland Prep), 1-0

132: Gabriel Tagg (Brecksville) dec. Jake Rotunda (Pope John), 10-9

138: Quinn Kinner (Kingsway) dec. JoJo Aragona (Pope John), 10-4

Third round (Pope John only)

113: Eddie Ventresca (Pope John) dec. over McKenzie Bell (Kingsway Regional), 13-6)

132: Jake Rotunda (Pope John) dec. Michael Madara (Blair Academy), 8-5

138: JoJo Aragona (Pope John) dec. Henry Hague (Malvern Prep), 5-2

145: Wade Unger (Bergen Catholic) dec. Robbie Garcia (Pope John), 9-6

285: John High (Bergen Catholic) pin. Jack Morelli (Pope John), 3:57

Second round (Pope John only)

106: Jake Williams (Perry Massillon) dec. Shane Percelay (Pope John), 5-2

113: Eddie Ventresca (Pope John) tech. fall. Jacob Shaifer (Haverford School), 15-0 (1:37)

126: Sean Pierson (Nazareth) tech. fall. Matthew Garcia (Pope John XXIII), 17-1 (5:22)

132: Jake Rotunda (Pope John) dec. Josh Breeding (Elyria,  9-4

138: JoJo Aragona (Pope John) tech. fall. Dean Weiss (Woodstown), 15-0 (5:05)

145: Robbie Garcia (Pope John) pin. Josh Epperly (Hanover), 0:39

285: Jack Morelli (Pope John) pin. Ryan Howard (Waynesburg), 2:34

First round (Pope John only)

106: Shane Percelay (Pope John) dec. Nick Roeger (Timberlane), 7-1

113: Eddie Ventresca (Pope John) bye

120: Julian Tagg (Brecksville) tech. fall. Kaya Sement (Pope John), 17-2 (5:14)

126: Matthew Garcia (Pope John) dec. over Dean Laumann (Archbishop Spalding), 3-1

132: Jake Rotunda (Pope John) tech. fall. Richard Fonticiella (Dover) 15-0 (1:48)

138: JoJo Aragona (Pope John) pin. Matt Zuckerman (Elyria), 4:00

145: Robbie Garcia (Pope John) dec. Tate Nichter (Chambersburg), 9-5

152: Garret Fisk (Archbishop Spalding) dec. Connor Fritch (Pope John), 7-2

160: Kyle Jacob (Paramus) dec. Anthony Rispoli (Pope John), 7-0

170: Luca Pontone (Belmont Hill) pin. James Swentzel (Pope John), 3:44

182: Nick Franks (Brecksville) pin. Christopher Jhong (Pope John), 2:40

285: Jack Morelli (Pope John) bye

Consolation semifinals

113: Eddie Ventresca (Pope John) dec. over Chris Barnabae (Mount St. Joseph), 8-6

132: Connor McGonagle (Timberlane) dec. Jake Rotunda (Pope John), 3-2

138: JoJo Aragona (Pope John) dec. Malcolm Robinson (Blair Academy), 5-1

Consolation quarterfinals

132: Jake Rotunda (Pope John) dec. over Lucas Revano (Camden Catholic), 3-1

138: JoJo Aragona (Pope John) dec. Luke Wymer (St. Vincent St. Mary), 7-1

145: Ryan Vulakh (Pope John Paull II) dec. Robbie Garcia (Pope John XXIII), 5-1

Sixth-round wrestlebacks (Pope John only)

120: Robbie Rosser (Milford) dec. over Kaya Sement (Pope John), 8-4

132: Jake Rotunda (Pope John) dec. Justin Rivera (Fort Myers), 3-1

138: JoJo Aragona (Pope John), dec. Imran Heard (St Paul’s School for Boys), 7-1

145: Robbie Garcia (Pope John) pin. Ryan Garretson (Archbishop Spalding), 1:46

Fifth-round wrestlebacks (Pope John only)

120: Kaya Sement (Pope John) maj. dec. Mitchell Arch (Central Dauphin), 9-0

145: Robbie Garcia (Pope John) tech. fall. Xander Whitehurst (Christiansburg), 16-0 (3:22)

Fourth-round wrestlebacks (Pope John only)

120: Kaya Sement (Pope John) dec. Dan Martini (St. Augustine), 7-0

145: Robbie Garcia (Pope John) dec. Connor Herceg (Nazareth), 8-3

285: Jamie Schirmer (Sussex Tech Del) pin. Jack Morelli (Pope John) 3:47

Third-round wrestlebacks (Pope John only)

106: Brandon Crowder (Christiansburg) dec. Shane Percelay (Pope John), 6-0

120: Kaya Sement (Pope John) pin. Chase Norman (Perry Massilon), 1:00

152: Vincent Andreano (Delbarton) pin. Connor Fritsch (Pope John), 3:34

170: Jake Evans (Elyria) pin. James Swentzel (Pope John), 2:10

Second-round wrestlebacks (Pope John only)

106: Shane Percelay (Pope John) pin. Kyle Mathues (Malvern Prep), 2:33

120: Kaya Sement (Pope John) pin. Kevin Puliti (Garney Valley), 2:33

126: Mick Burnett (Elyria) maj. dec. Matthew Garcia (Pope John), 15-4

152: Connor Fritsch (Pope John) maj. dec. Sam Hassak (Paramus), 10-0

170: James Swentzel (Pope John) dec. Drew Sandifer (Germantown Academy), 8-6

182: Erik Eva (Christianburg) dec. Christopher Jhong (Pope John), 6-1

First-round wrestlebacks (Pope John only)

120: Kaya Sement (Pope John) pin. Ta’Jon Knight (Indian River), 4:20

152: Connor Fritsch (Pope John) won by medical forfeit over Zach Phillips (Mount St. Joseph)

160: Ben Vanadia (Brecksville) dec. Anthony Rispoli (Pope John), 6-2

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