The Western New York Wrestling Coaches Association (WNYWCA) held its 15th Annual ‘Luncheon of Champions’ on Sunday, March 3rd at Ilio DiPaolo’s. The luncheon essentially ends the high school wrestling season in Western New York each year and allows the WNYWCA the chance to recognize wrestlers and coaches for their efforts at the end of the season as well. Also, the Association hands out of a series of awards to contributors and inducts its newest members into the WNYWCA Hall of Fame.
Former Lockport head coach and current WNYWCA chairman Joe Scapelliti again hosted the event on Sunday in front of a crowd of about 200 people. Before recognizing the outstanding wrestlers and coaches of the 2018-2019 season, Mr. Scapelliti first recognized the work of the Wrestling Review of Western New York, the Hall of Fame committee, guest attendee in SUNY Brockport’s longtime head wrestling coach Don Murray, and asked for a moment of silence for the late Mrs. Linda Knuutila. Mr. Scapelliti also recognized and thanked the DiPaolo Family and staff for their continued support of high school wrestling in Western New York and for the outstanding banquet that they put on each year.
Mr. Scapelliti touched on the Association’s mission of helping to improve wrestling in Western New York as a whole. He emphasized the increasing competitiveness of local wrestling and addressed the strengthening bonds of the wrestling community across WNY. The Association’s annual golf tournament and the 3rd Annual Ilio DiPaolo Nickel City Duals at Riverworks are being planned and are the two biggest offseason fundraisers for the WNYWCA.
The Section’s three recent New York State champions in Iroquois’s Cory Day, Falconer’s Robbie Penhollow, and Pioneer’s Mike Rigerman each received special recognition and commemorative plaques on behalf of the WNYWCA. In addition, each of the area’s state tournament qualifiers and place winners in attendance were recognized by their coaches at the end of the program.
Each of the eight league champion teams and head coaches were recognized and awarded plaques:
ECIC I – Clarence, head coach Jason Chase
ECIC II – Pioneer, head coach Chris Edwards
ECIC III – Tonawanda, head coach Dan Bishop
CCAA I – Falconer, head coach Drew Wilcox
CCAA II – Portville, head coach Matt Milne
Niagara-Orleans – Newfane, head coach Matt Lingle
Niagara Frontier League – Niagara Wheatfield, head coach Rick Sweney
Msgr. Martin HS Athletic Assoc. – St. Francis, head coach Mike Messore
The Coach of the Year in each league:
ECIC I – Jason Chase, Clarence
ECIC II – Chris Edwards, Pioneer
ECIC III – Dan Bishop, Tonawanda
CCAA I – Drew Wilcox, Falconer
CCAA II – Matt Milne, Portville
Niagara-Orleans – Matt Lingle, Newfane
Niagara Frontier League – DJ Giancola, Niagara Falls
Msgr. Martin HS Athletic Assoc. – Mike Messore, St. Francis
Rookie Coach of the Year– Wally Maziarz, North Tonawanda
Assistant Coach of the Year– Jordan McGregor, Tonawanda
Ilio DiPaolo Family Commitment to Wrestling Award
This award goes to a coach or former coach who has gone or continues to go “above and beyond” doing whatever is necessary to promote or helping to promote the sport, the athletes, or the WNYWCA.
2019 recipient: Jim Lamb
Jon Vesper Memorial Award
In recognition of your passion for the sport of wrestling and your tireless and unselfish efforts as a coach in supporting and promoting wrestling and wrestlers in Western New York.
2019 recipient: Chris Heximer, head coach, Williamsville South
Al Feuz Memorial Contributor’s Award
In recognition of your unselfish dedication, commitment, and work for the betterment of wrestlers and wrestling on all levels in Western New York.
2019 recipient: Brian DeYoung
Media Award – Matt Johnson, The Section 6 Wrestlecast
Division I Champion of Champions Award – Warren McDougald, Niagara Wheatfield
Division II Champion of Champions Award – Cory Day, Iroquois
2018-2019 WNYWCA Hall of Fame Inductees
Sam Williams (posthumously) – Contributor, official; accomplished college referee, helped found the US Wrestling Officials Association
Jacob Schaus – Falconer – Wrestler; 3x NYS place winner, 1994 NYS champion and National HS champion
Chris Conti – Fredonia – Wrestler; 3x NYS place winner, 2006 NYS champion
Alex Conti – Fredonia – Coach; 18 years as head coach at Fredonia, record 238-54-1; major contributor to the growth of girls & women’s wrestling
Greg Betts – Fredonia – Assistant coach, 1995-2013; helped coach 2011 NYS #1 small school, 8 league titles, 9 sectional titles
Leave a Reply