Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic: Jordan Seefeldt

Seefeldt pose

Port Allegany RB/WR/DB Jordan Seefeldt (Photo by Pam Fischer)

July 21, 2016

The Pennsylvania roster for this year’s Big 30 Charities Classic includes a congregation of Gators, with Jordan Seefeldt the seventh Port Allegany player added to the Keystone State squad for the 43rd renewal of the annual all-star contest, which is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Aug. 6 at Parkway Field in Bradford. New York, on a two-year winning streak, holds a 22-18-2 overall lead in the series which has raised more than $1.6 million for local individuals and charitable organizations.

“I can’t say enough positive about Jordan Seefeldt. The high level of leadership and coachability he offered to our entire sports program will be tremendously missed now that he has graduated. I will speak on behalf of his basketball and baseball coaches when I say we will miss him on an extremely important and high level,” Gator coach Justin Bienkowski said of the three-sport standout.

“From a football perspective, Jordan was a guy we could always count on to make a big play for our offense. He started his career being mentored by Matt Bodamer and ended his career mentoring our younger guys extremely well. As a head coach I could always count on Jordan doing the right thing with our team goals always on the forefront of his mind. ‘Team first, Jordan last’ would be a slogan to describe how much he valued the team first and his own accomplishments last.”

The 5-11, 165-pound Seefeldt began his varsity gridiron career as the backup quarterback on Port’s record-smashing 2012 squad, then stepped into the starting role the following season. He threw for 971 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore, including a 366-yard performance against Coudersport.

His junior year brought a position switch on offense partway through the season, shifting to running back while Tre’ Garzel took over at quarterback. Seefeldt’s reaction to the move drew praise from Bienkowski.

“He could’ve pouted and let Tre’ fail,” the third-year head coach said. “However, he aided Tre’ to put guys in the right spots and allowed him to execute our offense and accept 100 percent of the credit, no questions asked.”

He ended up leading the team that year with 751 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns, rushing for 132 yards and the game-winning 26-yard score at Coudersport, then clinching a victory over Smethport with an 85-yard pick-six as the Hubbers were driving late in the game.

Seefeldt missed the first three games of his senior year due to injury, but recovered well enough to help the Gators claim the Allegheny Mountain League North Division title — which he listed as his “most memorable moment” in the Big 30 press release — and make the AML All-Star Team at defensive back while contributing at running back, receiver, and quarterback on offense.

“He is honored to play in the Big 30 Game and represent his school. It’s also a chance to play one more game with his guys,” the release noted.

Also a four-year letterman in basketball (along with three in baseball), Seefeldt joined the PAHS 1,000-point club in January. He finished his Gator hardcourt career with 1,119 points, four consecutive berths on the North Tier League All-Star second team, and selection to the Big 30 Senior Classic, where he tallied nine points in Pennsylvania’s 107-95 win.

According to the press release, Seefeldt plans to attend Penn State Behrend and major in secondary math education. A member of the National Honor Society, he also received the John Thrash and Gerald Stayer memorial scholarships and the Technology Education Award at this spring’s assembly. Along with raising prize-winning Angus bulls, his hobbies include power sports (dirt bikes, four-wheelers, snowmobiles), driving heavy equipment and playing basketball. His favorite football team is the Alabama Crimson Tide and his favorite player was Tim Tebow.

Seefeldt joins classmates Dylan Baumgarner, Ethan Budd, Tre’ Garzel, Nate Lowery,
Bryan Stahlman, and Mac Tanner on the Pennsy roster, giving the Gators their second-most players in Big 30 Game history. Only the 2013 edition had more (eight), fresh off their second-straight AML and District 9 titles and the program’s first-ever state playoff win. All but Baumgarner were lettermen on that team, getting an early lesson in the amount of work needed to have a successful season.

“As freshman they witnessed a great experience,” Bienkowski said, “and now as seniors they did their best to fulfill their God-given abilities. We will miss them and we wish them all the best!”

Camp Bruno continues to grow

Team Bruno 2016

Team Bruno, circa 2016.

Lori Chase
June 30, 2016

It’s becoming an annual tradition, and one which keeps growing every year.

For a week in mid-June, dozens of young wrestlers, coaches, and clinicians from all over the country — and this year, even an Olympian from the island nation of Palau — made the pilgrimage to Port Allegany for the 13th annual Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp.

Renamed in 2004 to honor the memory of the Ridgway High School standout and Pitt-Johnstown All-American who died in an auto accident shortly after working at the camp the previous summer, this year’s sessions boasted nearly 150 campers and more than three dozen coaches and teachers from the sports of wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and mixed martial arts.

“We’re pretty much at capacity for the number of kids we can handle, so that worked out perfect,” said Isaac Greeley, who co-founded the camp with Sean Lathrop, Aaron Rendos, and Jared Kulek. “Everyone’s got the ‘Bruno Spirit,’ where everyone gets into what Bruno was trying to accomplish, trying to carry on his legacy.”

Over at the registration table, Lathrop was already working on how to borrow more mats and find housing for more campers next year.

“That’s a tough problem to have,” he said, smiling. “Every year, things just seem to fall into place. We may have a hiccup here or there, but everybody steps in to help.”

One of the highlights of this year’s camp, in addition to a visit by two-time NCAA Division 1 champion Quentin Wright (Penn State), was Florian Temengil’s first visit to the mountains of northern Pennsylvania.

The 29-year-old Temengil, who lives and works in Dallas after becoming an All-American wrestler at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, will head to Brazil in August to represent Palau in the 125-kg freestyle division at the Summer Olympics. It will be the second Olympiad for Temengil, the reigning heavyweight champion in Oceania, who also wrestled at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

A conversation with an MMA fighter he was working out with in Dallas brought up Greeley’s name as someone who’s had success coaching in several different forms of combat sports, including current UFC fighter Chris Dempsey and Dom Mazzotta, who’s set to challenge for the Cage Fury Fighting Championships bantamweight title in Atlantic City in August.

“I texted Isaac, he invited me out, and it’s been a great idea. I needed to get away from working and focus for a little while for the Games. You have to prepare. So this has been amazing,” Temengil said. “The whole town’s been great. I’m really glad I came. It’s like 150 degrees in Dallas, and here, kids are swimming while their parents are wearing sweaters. It’s a little different up here, but it’s nice. I like it. Everyone’s been really friendly. A real good experience.”

Greeley explained, “I told ‘Flo’ I had some good heavyweights to wrestle with and some great coaches, so he made the trip up, and he stayed with Ray Howard. He’s been training with D.J. Sims (UPJ), Nick Budd (Gannon), and Al Beattie (UPJ), and Tom Storey (1989 Coudersport state champ and former college coach) has been working out with him too.”

At Thursday’s cookout at the Port Allegany Veterans Memorial pavilion, it didn’t matter whether you were from Port Allegany, Pittsburgh, or Palau, with the festivities taking on the appearance of a giant family reunion.

“I’ve just got to give credit to Isaac and Brandon (Newill, Iorfido’s UPJ teammate) and Sean, all the people that put this thing together,” said longtime UPJ coach Pat Pecora, who continues to make the trip upstate every year. “It’s just amazing. And, of course, the purpose is outstanding. What better way for a person to live on than have a memorial for them with a celebration? Not only the guys he wrestled with, but his family, his brothers, the wrestling community…To me, it’s a blessed event. I leave here every year feeling like I came from a revival meeting or something. It’s such a great feeling. I know Bruno would be so humbled and honored to see it: ‘All these people are getting together for me?’”

Iorfido’s family also comes up from Ridgway for the event. This year, camp organizers presented them with a plaque bearing the names of BIWC scholarship winners, with the current total of awards standing at $27,000.

“When I saw the team picture this morning, I knew this was the biggest camp yet. I was very proud. Proud of this staff,” said Iorfido’s father, ‘Big Bruno.’

“When I see the guys that Bruno wrestled with, Brandon, Isaac, Aaron, Craig (Hight), I’m so proud to see you guys here every year. For all you new campers, you younger guys, this is going to be your family. Wrestling is gonna be your family. This is going to carry you through the rest of your life. These people that you’re with, your wrestling family, it’s going to be a very important part of your life.”

Greeley echoed the sentiment.

“It’s a pretty special thing. You just can’t create this in one night; it’s been 20 years in the making,” he said. “This is the 20th year having camp, the 13th year of it being the Bruno Iorfido scholarship camp. It’s just something special that we’ve created. It’s pretty amazing.”

A plaque containing the names of the Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp scholarship winners was presented to Iorfido’s family during a awards ceremony at the Port Allegany Veterans Memorial on June 16.
From left: Iorfido’s college coach at Pitt-Johnstown, Pat Pecora, camp co-founders Sean Lathrop and Isaac Greeley, 2016 Olympics wrestler Florian Temengil (holding plaque), Bruno’s parents, ‘Big Bruno’ and Val Iorfido, and his brothers Beau and Paul Iorfido.
(Photo: Pam Fischer)

In addition to Port Allegany High School, which has been “real hospitable letting us use their facilities,” Lathrop had a list of people to thank:

“Most important, my wife Laurie and daughters Becca, Allison, and Hannah.”

Mick and Sue Greeley, Ray and Janet Howard, John and Becky Caden, Brad, Jenny, B.J. and Jena Greenman, Barry and Donna Sauers, Mark, Phil, and Perry Carlson, Rod and Pam Rees, and Perry and Jon-Marc Burdick all helped house campers and clinicians for the week.

Also, Steve Crowe, the Port Allegany Veterans Memorial, Dave Frontino and the Port Shop ‘n Save, and Pam Fischer and Lori Chase of the Reporter Argus.