Sister knows best: OFSAA silver for Romano
When his oldest sister talks, Matteo Romano listens.
The recently crowned Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations wrestling silver medalist at 54 kilograms had sibling Samantha Romano coaching him at the provincial championship.
Samantha is a former OFSAA, provincial and national champion, who also won silvers at U SPORTS and the Canada Games.
“I learned a lot from her. She always helps me out at practice and she has always been a real role model for me,” said Matteo, an 18-year-old Welland resident.
The Grade 12 student at Centennial is a big fan of his sister’s coaching.
“Because she has been at Brock, she knows how to wrestle really well. Whenever she sees me wrestle, she gives me pointers, she tells me if I have to hit harder with my shots and she corrects me on things.”
He admits it took time to get used to taking instructions from his sister.
“At first, it was a little bit difficult because I hated getting the criticism but as time went on, I got a better understanding of where she was coming from. She has won at U SPORTS and won OUAs and she knows what she is doing.”
The OFSAA championships went well for Matteo.
“I started off with a couple of tough matches and my semifinal was difficult because I couldn’t really get the guy to come at me. It was more pushing and getting him on the shot clock.”
The gold medal match didn’t go as Romano had hoped. He was trailing by two points when he was pinned.
It was a tough pill to swallow when the silver medal was placed around his neck.
“It was hard but I knew that I had to keep my head held high because it is still a good accomplishment to get silver at OFSAA,” Romano said. “It hurt but it was still good.”
It was the second time the 2023 Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association champion had competed at the OFSAA championships. In Grade 9, he won silver medals at 51 kilograms at OFSAA and SOSSA.
“I haven’t grown much,” he said, with a smile.
Romano isn’t sure what comes next in his wrestling career. He has applied to study business at Niagara College and history at Brock University and is waiting to hear from the institutions. If he gets into Brock, he will try out for the wrestling team. If he is accepted at Niagara, he will continue as a club wrestler at Brock. There is also the possibility of returning for his 12B year at Centennial.
Born in Markham, Romano started wrestling with Team Impact when he was four years old. When his family moved to Welland when he was in Grade 6 to take advantage of the region’s wrestling culture, he started training with the Brock Junior Badgers. That lasted until the start of Grade 9 when he began training at Brock University.
He is passionate about the sport.
“It’s a competition. I like having someone in front of me and trying to figure out the puzzles by using my strength and skills.”
Matteo wasn’t the only Romano competing at OFSAA. His younger sisters also made it to the top five in their respective weight classes. Arianna Romano was fourth at 41 kilograms and Bianca Romano was fifth at 47.5 kilograms.
Matteo is the third OFSAA medalist in his family. In addition to Samantha, older sister, Katelyn, won a bronze medal at OFSAA in 2020.