COLUMBIA — For the past seven years, one name has been a constant for Hickman High School wrestling.
That name is Pescaglia.
Friday and Saturday, Hickman hosted its 19th Annual Invitational Wrestling Tournament. Senior Vince Pescaglia went into the tournament with a 33-2 record.
At the tournament, Hickman did not place as a team, but Pescaglia won first place for the 119-pound weight class. Senior Terrell Shannon placed fourth for the 152-pound weight class.
Brothers Tony, K.C. and Vince Pescaglia have all wrestled for Hickman. Tony and K.C. Pescaglia both won state, and Vince Pescaglia has his eyes set on doing the same. However, wrestling did not start for the Pescaglia brothers until this generation.
“My brother, Tony, got a flier for basketball and wrestling,” Vince Pescaglia said. “My dad decided we were too short to play basketball, so we wrestled.”
Vince Pescaglia said that while his father did not wrestle, he still had a huge impact on their involvement in wrestling. “We’d have to go to extra stuff.,” Pescaglia said. “ He pushed us to work harder and harder in practice.”
Vince Pescaglia plans to attend MU in the fall, but does not plan on wrestling. His father, Bucky Pescaglia, said he admires his son for accepting the challenge that was placed before him with the success of his brothers, but believes that all of the brothers wrestled their best when they were together.
“When Vince filled out his senior profile, he said his favorite moment was when he got to wrestle on varsity with his two older brothers. Now, he’s a senior, and his two brothers are helping him."
Tony and K.C. Pescaglia are both students at MU. They both used to wrestle for MU. Now, Tony Pescaglia is an assistant coach for Hickman, and K.C. Pescaglia volunteers his time as well. K.C. Pescaglia said the brothers were always very competitive.
“Every tournament was a competition,” K.C. Pescaglia said. “There was always something going on.”
With Tony and K.C. Pescaglia focused on coaching, there is a new competition between them. “Now we both get competitive about coaching,” K.C. Pescaglia said. “We both have different coaching philosophies.”
Tony Pescaglia said he loves having the chance to coach for Hickman. “I love giving back,” he said. “So many coaches have given me their time, so I feel like it is my duty to give back to the kids.”
Blue Springs South High School coach Doug Black used to coach for Hickman High School. He coached both Tony and K.C. Pescaglia. With Blue Springs South in the tournament this past weekend, Black was able to watch the one brother he never coached.
“They had natural ability, but their work ethic was second to none,” Black said. “They were very coachable.”
Black left Hickman because of his daughter’s vision problems. Black said there was a very good school for vision in Blue Springs and this led to his decision to leave.
“It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make professionally,” Black said. “I’m still friends with the wrestling community here. I had a lot of good times.”
Rock Bridge High School coach Travis Craig has seen all of the brothers wrestle and he believes that the Pescaglia brothers have helped make his teams better as well.
"They are really tough,” Craig said. "They have an unconventional style. It’s hard to prepare because their style is so different. They do a lot of scrambles. They’re especially tough on top.”
Craig said it’s bitter-sweet seeing the last Pescaglia on the verge of graduating.
“It’s great competition, which makes our kids have to work harder,” Craig said. “It’s kind of a relief, but it’s kind of hard to see that talent leaving.”
Hickman High School coach J.D. Coffman said he enjoys having all three brothers around.
“Vince has progressed a lot,” Coffman said. “He has done the best when he’s in the same room as his brothers. Now that K.C. is around and we have Tony on staff, it gives him (Vince) a sense that they’re back together.”
Coffman said he thinks there is a chance they could wrestle again in college. “They’ve always had goals and a lot of them they keep to themselves,” Coffman said. “There may be some unfinished business for them in college, but for now, they’re happy helping the wrestling program here.”