The Cassioppis: a family of wrestlers, with chickens, in Roscoe


Erica and Tony Cassioppi are the proud parents of six children. All are deeply involved with wrestling. They support their children's ambitions and dreams, and constantly travel to wrestling events throughout the world.

This isn’t really a story about wrestling, as much as a story about a family of wrestlers: a remarkable family of six talented, hard-working children, and parents who have devoted their time and effort to making their children’s dreams come true.

The Cassioppi family lives on five acres in rural Roscoe, Illinois. A large barn on the property has been turned into a training room. Next door is the trophy room where jerseys and trophies line the walls.

The family knew next to nothing about wrestling a few years ago. Tony and Erica’s son, Giovanni, saw a flyer distributed by former Hononegah Community High School wrestling coach, Marty Keiser, and was interested in trying out for the team.

He and his older brother Tony Jr. decided to join the wrestling team with hopes that the sport would help improve their football skills.

They were hooked. In fact, the whole family became hooked.

Thus began a wrestling dynasty that includes Tony, Giovanni, Rose, Angelina and twins Rocco and Bruno. “We support each other and we all help each other out,” Tony said.

The Cassioppi family gathered at their home for a family picture. The large barn of the property has been converted into a training room and trophy room. Pictured (L-R) Bruno, Angelina, Giovanni, Tony, Rose and Rocco.

Today, Tony Jr. is a world-class wrestler. He currently attends Iowa State University in Iowa City, Iowa. He plans to attend grad school where he will study mathematics and sports and recreation. He has two years of sports eligibility left.

Among his many accomplishments, Tony won the U23 World Championship for 2020-2021 in Serbia.

A few weeks ago, Tony was head-butted in the mouth by an opponent while wrestling in Poland.  “I lost a front tooth but I won the match.”

Next up, Tony will be attending Olympic training in Spain in October.

Giovanni (“G”) attends the University of Colorado in Gunnison, CO., majoring in accounting. He is a three-time Illinois State qualifier and won four conference championships.

Next comes Rose who recently left for Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, where she will also attend her senior year of high school. “I love training, The more I do it, the more I like it.”

She and her younger sister Angelina were approached by Junior Olympics scouts during the Pan Am Games in Mexico last month, where Rose won a gold medal. In February 2022, at the first Illinois girls state wrestling championship in Bloomington,  both sisters became state champions in their respective weight classes 

Rose admits to being very competitive. “I want to win everything. I want to be the best.”

At 106 pounds, younger sister Angelina recently won third place and earned All-American status at the Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, ND. She will be a junior at Hononegah this year.

When asked about competing with the boys, Angelina said it’s not a problem. “Wrestling the boys makes me stronger. Sometimes they are a little embarrassed to be beaten by a girl.”

Identical twins, (L) Rocco and Bruno, are the youngest of the six Cassioppi children. At age 14, they are already on their way to winning. wrestling competitions. The boys received the unusual masks after competing in a tournament held in Las Vegas recently.

At 14, the twins, Rocco and Bruno are showing a lot of promise. Their older brothers claim that both boys are really good wrestlers.

Rocco is nursing a cauliflower right now, an injury from a recent match.

Erica has homeschooled all of the children from kindergarten through seventh grade. All six have attended Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA) online for their final year of elementary school. “The year at OLA prepares them for the next four years of high school,” Erica said.

Tony Sr. grew up in Rockford and attended high school at Auburn and Hononegah, where he played football. Erica is from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

They were both working at UPS, and became friends. “It was love at first sight,” Erica said. “We were married four months later. We have been married for 24 years.”

“Wrestling is a big part of our lives,” Tony said. “We are gone a lot. If the kids want to do the work, we do what we can to help them. It’s also a lot of fun.”

“Wrestling has been an unexpected gift. Our lives have totally changed.”

“It’s amazing. Because of wrestling, our kids have been all over the world, and their college is paid for,” Erica said. “The kids have all worked really hard and it is paying off for them.”

Not surprising, all six Cassioppi wrestlers have set their goal to be contenders in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.

The family raises a few small animals, including chickens, on their property. Tony has found a way to cope when the children leave home for college. “Whenever one of them leave, I buy a few more chickens.”

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