Gentile brothers continue Paulsboro tradition
Don't let the similar spelling fool you: When John and Ron Gentile step onto the wrestling mat, they are anything but gentle.
The Gentile brothers have proven to be powerful hammers for the Paulsboro wrestling team (16-3). John Gentile, a senior, wrestles primarily at 120 pounds and is 25-3 this season. Ron Gentile, a sophomore, is 24-1, usually wrestling at 132.
The dominance of this duo was evident during Paulsboro's 46-21 victory over Colonial Conference rival Collingwood on Monday. John Gentile won his bout by a 10-0 major decision, and Ron Gentile pinned his opponent in just 21 seconds.
"John and I have different techniques, but our mind-set is the same," Ron Gentile said. "We go after the kids, go out there, and be aggressive. I think he's a little more slick and I'm a little more powerful."
But these two are just a small part of a much larger family tradition at Paulsboro. Their father, also John Gentile, wrestled for Paulsboro before graduating in 1981. And the Gentile family tree is filled with wrestlers dating to the 1930s.
"It might be in the genes," the younger John Gentile said. "My dad was a pretty good wrestler. Since Paulsboro's first team in wrestling, we've always had a Gentile on the team. It's pretty cool."
"It's nice to have. It's a tradition here. We have a lot of the same names pop up over the years," said Paulsboro coach Paul Morina, who also has two sons, Sam and Mike, on the team. "It says it's important to the families. The program has been that way forever."
For John and Ron Gentile, being part of that long-standing tradition meant having to start early. John began wrestling at age five, and Ron started when he was just three, said their mother, Tina.
"They could literally switch before they could read or write," the elder John Gentile said.
The two brothers have been working on their sport ever since, but only recently against each other. When the two were younger, wrestling matches between them could end in a fistfight.
Now older and more mature, the two use the access to a formidable sparring partner to their advantage.
"We have a wrestling building right across the street from our house, so if we're bored, we'll go over there and drill with each other," the younger John Gentile said.
"If we have to make weight, we'll go over there and wrestle. It's good having someone good in your family, just have a good partner all the time."
So who is better? That depends on whom you ask.
"I usually came out on top," Ron Gentile said. "I beat him a lot."
"He started getting bigger than me in about sixth grade, so he started to overpower me a lot," John Gentile said.
While conceding that, though, John had one thing to add:
"But I'm more technical. I'm better."
Contact Christian Hetrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.