It was hard to miss Anthony Cassar. Wearing a black suit, he was easily the tallest, widest figure in the Princeton Elks Lodge, a venue that on June 3 was packed with Montgomery athletes and their parents.
A star wrestler, Cassar won the national championship in his weight class for Penn State earlier this year. He plans to pursue a spot on the U.S. Olympics team as his next challenge.
Despite his imposing stature, his demeanor was anything but. He mingled with fans in the Elks Lodge, hoisting young wrestlers high into the air, signing autographs, and celebrating his success with members of the community.
After an hour of celebration, John Moyle, founder of Montgomery’s wrestling program, took the stage. He described the program in its early days, when Cassar first began his wrestling career. He needed at least ten wrestlers to start a team.
“It was six kids” Moyle remembered, “then John [Cassar] came in with his four boys.”
Below: Champion Wrestler Anthony Cassar
during his Montgomery High School days.
Cassar is from a large family in Rocky Hill. His brothers and sisters attended Montgomery High School. He is pictured below with three of his siblings. From left: Sophia, Elizabeth, and Christina.
With dozens of Montgomery wrestlers in attendance at the Elks Lodge, Moyle’s success seemed to surround him.
“This year, we had close to 50 kids in the wrestling program,” he said.
Speeches from Cassar’s other Montgomery coaches followed, recalling his determination and athletic prowess. His middle school and high school coaches remembered Cassar when he weighed only 110 pounds, a far cry from the 285 pounds he weighs today.
They remembered his desire to bulk up, the start of his journey to becoming a heavyweight champion. “Anthony never wanted to cut weight,” one of the coaches said. “No matter what weight he came in at, he’d say, I’ll go up, coach.”
Moyle played a brief montage video of Cassar’s victories, then the champion wrestler gave a speech. He discussed the adversity he faced when he injured his shoulder while competing in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and his recovery from his injury. Though the recovery was painful, he was grateful for the opportunity to build his character.
Addressing the audience, Cassar offered three pieces of advice given to him by Penn State head coach and wrestling legend, Cael Sanderson.
“One is to be clear in what you want,” he said. “No matter what it is you’re doing, know exactly what you’re working for."
Two is that it’s your responsibility to get it, no matter what it takes," Cassar said. "And then three is to have gratitude for everything, wherever you are in the process.”
“I just hope you continue to support me as I pursue my next goal of becoming an Olympic champion.”
Applause drowned out the end of his announcement.
Cassar has two more years of college-level wrestling eligibility and plans to wrestle for Penn State again next year.