Cardinals Trio Takes Titles at W&J Invitational



WASHINGTON, Pa. After registering a top 10 upset Thursday night, the Cardinals continued an outstanding first week on the mats. The Wheeling Jesuit wrestling team registered 59 wins, while Daniel Romero, Aiden Pasiuk and Terrance Fanning captured individual titles at the Washington & Jefferson Invitational Saturday.

Romero, Pasiuk and Fanning went a combined 12-0 and garnered the 141, 184 and 285-pound individual titles. As a team, the Cardinals won almost 72-percent of their 82 individual bouts, two second places, three thirds and a pair of fourth place finishers.

"A very good day from start to finish, we were aggressive and pushed for bonus points from our lightweights through our heavyweights," pointed out WJU head coach Danny Irwin.

The first-year head coach went on about each of his individual champions.

"Romero beat two quality opponents on his way to the championship. He controlled the center of the mat, got out from bottom and hit some nice mat returns. Our entire team can learn from his attitude today," said Irwin.

After a first-round bye, Romero won three decisions of 6-4, 8-2 and 5-3. The senior from California, then, won the title bout by a 16-2 major decision over Michael Heinl of Washington & Jefferson.

"I felt in control of my matches throughout the day, but nowhere near my potential. I need to be dominating these guys in order to achieve my goals. But, there's time to work and get better," added Romero.

At 184, Pasiuk did not spend a lot of time on the mat in his first three wins. The freshman pinned his foes in 1:51, 2:10 and 2:01 to qualify for the championship. In the finals, Aiden claimed a 4-1 win over Washington & Lee's Brandon Lefore.

"Aidan showed his skills off again today being one of our few starters to compete today. He showed progress in a couple positions just from his 'W' on Thursday night," noted Irwin.

Following a tough 3-2 defeat to a top 10 opponent Thursday night, Fanning could not be stopped on Saturday. With a first-round bye, the 285-pounder pinned his first two opponents in 1:42 and 1:23. The redshirt junior major decisioned his semifinal foe, 10-1, before he edged a 10-8 win over Jake Evans of Waynesburg for the title.

"Terrance took out an All-American in the finals, which was nice to see after losing a tough match Thursday night. This week alone, we figured out exactly the direction he needs to go for the NCAA's," explained the Cardinals coach.

Fanning expanded on his coaches comments, "Today was an exciting day to begin with for me. Just going to the meet, the atmosphere of the team was full of excitement and fun! This was all before I was able to add some additional pins to my career record, and win the tournament."

I made another stride in my improvement to allow me to make my run at Nationals in March. However, I made a lot of mistakes, which will allow me to improve further," added the heavyweight. "Today was more exciting as a team to see everyone wrestle and to see how we support each other on every single match! The one main positive I took from today, it was being able to support and be supported by my brothers on my team, and our captain steering the boat (Coach Irwin) and all of the coaching staff."

Two sophomores Anthony Renforth (165) and Justice Avery (174) had strong showings of their own with second places. Renforth was dominate in his first three bouts with wins of 12-0, a fall in 7:00, 16-3 and 11-0. He suffered his only defeat of 3-2 in the finals to Derek Hull of Waynesburg.

Avery produced his own quality afternoon with three-straight 174-pound wins of 7-3, 8-7 and 3-1. Caleb Baxter of Waynesburg ended his run in the finals by fall giving Avery second place.

Marcus Baptiste (133), Connor Craig (157) and T.J. Smith (165) all grabbed third places finishes. Jared Donahue (141) and Tristan Brady (165), who pinned his first three opponents, were both fourth place finishers.

Every Cardinals wrestler won at least one win and 15 of the 19 team participants had at least three victories.

WJU has a week off before it travels to wrestle at the University of Findlay Open next Saturday, Nov. 18.

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