Crivelli Family Bragging Rights at Stake in PAC Wrestling Championships

By Justin Zackal

Thiel senior Marco Crivelli.

Thiel senior Marco Crivelli.

Blood is thicker than water, but is it more vivid than the color of a wrestling singlet?

Two brothers have grappled with this question the last three years when the wrestling teams at Waynesburg University and Thiel College faced each other. They’ll do it one more time Friday as Thiel hosts the 2016 PAC Wrestling Championships.

Marco Crivelli is a senior who leads Thiel in wins this year with a 19-1 record, mostly at 184 pounds. His younger brother, Filippo Crivelli, is a junior who leads Waynesburg in wins with a mark of 26-10 at 141 pounds.

This puts the Crivellis in an awkward situation, especially when a brother is wrestling one of his sibling’s teammates.

“It kind of does,” Marco said. “Whenever (my teammates are) out there and saying, ‘Well, you got to beat him,’ and talking talk crap about my brother, it’s part of the game. Deep inside I want my brother to win, but I want my team to win also.”

“It’s like, obviously, I always want my brother to win all the time,” Filippo said. “To me, it’s family first, but at the same time my teammates are essentially my family too. I want my brother to win, but, for me, whoever wins, wins. Let the best wrestler win. It’s hard; it definitely is.”

So what do they do when their brother is wrestling a teammate?

“When he’s wrestling (a Thiel wrestler), I just sit off to the side and walk back and forth and cheer in my head kind of thing,” explained Marco.

“I try to stay away from the bench and distance myself from everyone,” Filippo said. “I don’t want to disrespect my teammates, but at the same time I don’t want to disrespect my brother, because I know he’s always there for me and I always want to be there for him.”

Their parents, Ugo and Annamarie, sit in a neutral section of the gym and cheer for each son. Annamarie has a customized stitched sweatshirt, cut down the middle so one half is Waynesburg orange and the other half is Thiel navy blue and gold.

None of this would have been a problem if Filippo would’ve followed his brother to Thiel, but each brother has found his place – and success – at his school.

Marco has a 76-37 career record at Thiel, including 24-9 last year as the PAC champion at 184 pounds. He has a 3.58 grade-point average, and, as a criminal justice major, he is in the process of being admitted into the Pennsylvania State Police Academy.

Waynesburg freshman Filippo Crivelli. (Photo courtesy Waynesburg Yellow Jacket).

Waynesburg junior Filippo Crivelli. (Photo courtesy Waynesburg Yellow Jacket).

Filippo is 80-43 and was the PAC champion at 133 pounds as a freshman, before a runner-up finish last year. Preference for his major, exercise science, was just one of the reasons he chose Waynesburg.

“Honestly, I think it was cool that we went separate ways,” Filippo said. “Sometimes growing up together you need to get a little distance from each other.”

Not to mention their separate weight classes, the Crivellis are two different styles of wrestlers. Marco has a more brute-strength style and Filippo, a more technical style. However, just because the Crivellis remain loyal to one another when they’re pitted against each other’s teammates, that doesn’t mean they don’t throw a few barbs at one another.

“We just brag and make fun of each other,” Marco said. “We just say, ‘Your team sucks.’ Stuff like that. We just fire away at each other.”

“It’s obviously fun and we always talk about it and whose team we think is better and stuff like that,” Filippo added.

The PAC Championships are pivotal for Crivelli family bragging rights. Thiel is the defending champion, but Waynesburg won during Filippo’s freshman year. Marco says his team has battled many injuries this year, which is why he has wrestled up in weight classes, appearing at 174, 184 and 197 at times this season. Waynesburg, meanwhile, is a younger team that lost three starters last year and was picked third, behind Washington & Jefferson, in the preseason poll.

Despite Thiel winning a dual match, 24-16, on Jan. 29 in Waynesburg, Friday’s championships at Thiel could settle the score.

“(Marco) deserves bragging rights (for last year), but ultimately it come down to PACs,” Filippo said. “We’ve really grown throughout the year and we’re really proving that we can win it and hang with Thiel. We were pretty confident we could beat them (on Jan. 29), but we know what mistakes we made and how to beat them next time.”

For Marco, the outcome was ideal in the dual match at Waynesburg. Marco won by tech fall at 197 pounds and Filippo won by a 5-3 decision at 141 pounds.

“That’s what I asked for; that’s what I wanted,” Marco said.

But, still …

“PACs is what really matters,” Filippo added.