Hononegah grad Tony Cassioppi ready for another year at Iowa
IOWA CITY, Iowa. (WIFR) - The coronavirus pandemic made it a challenging year for sports. But as testing continues and vaccines are distributed, a sense of normalcy is on the horizon. Tony Cassioppi is ready to get back to wrestling.
“Obviously it was disappointing, It kind of felt like it came out of nowhere almost.”
Cassioppi had a freshman season to remember at Iowa. The Hononegah graduate went 20-3, including nine wins over ranked opponents. He earned a three-seed at the NCAA Division 1 championships before they were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“They said we were going to do it with no fans and then they just pulled the plug on it, so that was disappointing,” said Cassioppi. “But, (head coach) Tom (Brands) called us in and told us that it was canceled and just to stay ready, be ready for anything.”
Cassioppi did just that. He trained outside during the summer, and hit the mat once they were allowed to. He said it’s the little things in his game that will make a big difference in his sophomore season.
“Really just, fundamental wrestling is key for me,” said Cassioppi. “Getting in my positions, staying in my positions. Sometimes, maybe I have to concede a takedown instead of giving up a takedown to a turn. Other times, just wrestle through everything.”
Cassioppi is also willing to take advice from anyone on the team.
“Every day in the practice room I’m learning something,” explained Cassioppi. “Whether it be from the coaches or talking to Spencer Lee and Austin DiSanto and I’m learning from them. Even though they’re a lot lighter weight than I am. We both learn from each other. I know I’ve worked on some stuff with Austin, which is heavyweight and a 133 pounder working on stuff together, but we both get stuff out of it. So it’s awesome.”
The Hawkeyes won the Big Ten tournament last year for the first time since 2010. Now they have their eyes set on an even bigger prize in 2021.
“We’re super focused, we’re ready for anything. We are all training at the highest level to be the best. We want to be NCAA champs. We got unfinished business from last year, so that’s what we’re looking for.”
#1 Iowa opens the season at home against #6 Nebraska on Friday. There will not be any fans in Carver Arena. You can catch the dual on the Big Ten Network starting at 8 p.m.
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