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  • Beloit Daily News

    Hononegah grad Joscelyn Bennett part of Northwoods Fastpitch League debut



    It was dubbed “Softball Day” in Mankato, Minn., on Sunday and Rockton native Joscelyn Bennett was right in the thick of it.

    The Hononegah High School graduate, a sophomore at Bryant & Stratton College in Milwaukee, played shortstop for the Mankato Habaneros in their inaugural double-header in the Northwoods Fastpitch League.

    The Habaneros split two games with the Minot Honeybees, losing 8-5 before winning 17-6.

    The first-year college league is patterned after the Northwoods baseball circuit.

    Bennett started both games and went 2-for-7 with five runs batted in to go with four runs scored. She was 0-for-4 in the first game, but drove in two runs and scored another. In the nightcap, she was 2-for-3 and reached base safely four times. She had a single and a triple, driving in three and scoring three times. She also walked and was hit by a pitch.

    The teams were scheduled to play another twinbill on Monday night.

    Bennett will play a lot closer to her home on July 8-9 when the Habaneros travel for back-to-back double-headers in Madison against the Night Mares at the Duck Pond at Warner Park.

    • CASSIOPPI A BADGER: Hononegah grad Tony Cassioppi most likely saw his wrestling career end this spring when, after dropping to 219 pounds, he came up short at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

    But the former IHSA two-time state champion and four-time All-American heavyweight at the University of Iowa, had some recent exciting news. He has been hired as an assistant wrestling coach at the University of Wisconsin.

    “Tony is an outstanding young man and a proven competitor,” said UW head coach Chris Bono in a press release. “His success on the mat at the NCAA and on the world stage speaks for itself. Tony’s high character and relentless work ethic were very apparent in the interview process. I am extremely excited that he wants to start his coaching career here at UW.”

    Cassioppi is only the 25th four-time All-American in Iowa’s program history, advancing to the national tournament semifinals twice and placing third at 285 pounds for his highest finish in 2021 while helping Iowa win its 24th NCAA title as a team. He never finished lower than third at the Big Ten Championships, earning automatic qualifications each of the four years he competed for the Hawkeyes. Overall, Cassioppi completed his wrestling career at Iowa with a 90-17 record, including 58 bonus-point victories with 40 pins.

    On the international mat, Cassioppi is a two-time world age-group medalist. He won gold at the 2021 U23 Men’s Freestyle World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia and outscored his opponents 36-8 en route to first place at 125 kilograms. He would go on to win the USA Wrestling U23 National Championships in 2022 and earn a bronze medal at the 2022 U23 United World Wrestling Championships in Pontevedra, Spain.

    The wrestler has also been a force in the classroom, earning four Academic-All-Big Ten honors and was also a four-time National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-American. The four-year letterwinner for the Hawkeyes earned two bachelor’s degrees as a double major in both math and sports & recreation management and also graduated this May with his master’s degree in finance. He was awarded Iowa’s Coaches Appreciation Award in 2023 and Most Courageous Award in 2024.

    “I am excited and proud to be joining the University of Wisconsin wrestling program,” said Cassioppi. “I look forward to working with a great group of athletes and helping them achieve their goal of winning NCAA championships both as individuals and as a team.

    “Coach Bono and Coach Reader will be great mentors for me, and I look forward to growing as a coach and leader. Growing up only an hour south of Madison, I have a lot of fond memories of training with the Wisconsin RTC (Regional Training Center) and watching Badger football games as a high schooler. I am excited to start my coaching career in a place with so much passion and commitment.”

    Cassioppi’s first duties will be to coach current Badger wrestler Masoma Endene at the U23 Pan Am Championships June 21-22 in Rionegro, Calif.

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