The Western New York high school wrestling family got together for their annual reunion.
Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant in Blasdell served as the site of this gathering also known as the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Award dinner. The 15th annual event, which brought together 200, honored the best from the 2009-2010 wrestling season in the form of six awards and five college scholarships totaling $9,000.
Bob Koshinski of the Executive Committee made the case for the Class of 2010 being the most elite group in the award's history. The competition was so tough, two New York State Champions did not make the final list.
The winners combined for 836 career wins, 12 Section VI individual championships, nine place finishes at states and three state championships.
The distinguished group included:
Ilio DiPaolo award: Dominic Montesanti, Medina
Gary Castanza award: Kyle Colling, Pioneer
Destroyer award: Angelo Malvestuto, Niagara-Wheatfield
Bill Hein award: Joe Kalinka, Iroquois
Cauiflower Alley Club: James Donner, Niagara-Wheatfield
St. Francis football captain's award: Adam Pasnik
• Past winner of the Ilio DiPaolo scholarship, Kane Smith, was the guest speaker. The 2005 Salamanca graduate gave a polished delivery in which he talked about how revealing 6 minutes on a wrestling mat can be, and how the sacrifice, sweat and pain it takes to be a wrestler prepares you for everyday life.
• A DVD presentation prepared by the committee gave a look into the life of man who brought everyone together. The 1950s black and white footage showed DiPaolo in the ring displaying amazing athleticism for a man his size and he disposed of each opponent.
• Dennis DiPaolo, always a gracious host, did his best to recognize some of his guests: former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, former Buffalo Bills trainer Eddie Abramoski, retired Niagara-Wheatfield wrestling coach Ace Cacciatore, retired Roy-Hart/Newfane coach Dick Lange, Empire State Games local chairman Ralph Galanti, Preston Teague of the Buffalo Bills Community Relations department, Linda Knuutila of WNY Wrestling Review and his charming mother.
---Mary Jo Monnin
taggedIroquois | Medina | Newfane | Niagara-Wheatfield | Pioneer | Roy-Hart | Salamanca | Wrestling