Scholarship Awards & Winners

Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Awards Night
Winners Announced on May 20, 2019

These scholarships are awarded to individuals who excel in academics as well athletics, while contributing to their family and community.

This idea to create an Award and Scholarship in the name of Ilio DiPaolo was through the efforts of Bud Carpenter, Randy Ribbeck, Jim Kelly and the entire Buffalo Bills Organization. They felt that his strong belief in education, athletics and family were essential for success. Ilio also believed that as your success grew so should the support you give your community.

The first year we were fortunate to give (2) scholarships through the financial support of many friends, organizations, businesses and individuals we didn’t even know. Then came “Legends”, the idea of Mark Stone, to bring Pro Wrestling back to Buffalo in the name of Ilio DiPaolo raising over $350,000 for Children’s Hospital, Buffalo Police Athletic League, Hunters’ Hope and many other organizations.

The Scholarship Fund has also grown through the Annual Ilio DiPaolo’s Memorial Celebrity Golf Classic, the Hanes Supply Sports Nite and the Celebrity Chef Dinner as well as proceeds from the sale of Ilio DiPaolo’s brand products in local grocery stores.

A special recognition goes to all the people who have volunteered their time to make the “Scholarship Fund” a successful reality!

* 2019 Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Award Winners shown above with Mrs. Ethel DiPaolo (first row, 5th from left); Dennis & Michael DiPaolo; Committee Member, Dick Gallagher; Buffalo Bill, Harrison Phillips; Committee Member, Bill Stachowski; Scholarship Fund President, Bud Carpenter; and Committee Member, Bob Koshinski


2019 Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Award Winner:
Robert Penhollow
Falconer High School
In honoring the memory and the high ideals of Professional Hall of Fame Wrestler, Ilio DiPaolo.  We are proud to announce this award providing recognition and financial aid to this deserving college bound athlete whom has become an accomplished wrestler through dedication, skill and sportsmanship while maintaining scholastics and citizenship.

*Robert Penhollow shown here with Scholarship Fund President, Bud Carpenter; Scholarship Committee Member & Presenter, Bob Breidenstein; Dennis DiPaolo, Ilio DiPaolo and Michael DiPaolo


2019 Gary Castanza Award Winner:
Cory Day
Iroquois High School
This award was named after legendary Martial Arts Sokie and owner of Universal Martial Arts Academy, Gary Castanza.  He was revolutionary in his field, training police and security forces along with Green Berets.  Gary’s audiovisual tapes were just the beginning and led to training NFL Players.  His world renowned Martial Arts skills and endless support of both charitable organizations and individuals showed his belief in community and family.

*Cory Day shown here with Scholarship Fund President, Bud Carpenter; Patrice Castanza, wife of Gary Castanza; Scholarship Committee Member & Presenter, Frank Nicotra


2019 “Destroyer” Wrestling Award:
Warren McDougald
Niagara-Wheatfield High School
This award was named after Pro Wrestling Hall of Famer, Dick “The Destroyer” Beyer.  Dick, who recently passed away, wrestled for and captained the Syracuse Football Team to their First Bowl appearance.  Inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, his tireless and endless effort to support the community is legendary.  He wrestled over 8,000 matches and his wrestling skills are unmistaken.

*Top Photo: Warren McDougald (middle) donning his “Destroyer” mask along with Kris Jones, Daughter of Dick “The Destroyer” Beyer and Scholarship Committee Member, Kiel Illg

Bottom Photo:  Kris Jones posing with Warren McDougald in his official “Destroyer” mask.



2019 Bill Hein Award Winner (Most Dedicated):
Michael Rigerman
Pioneer High School
This award honors Bill Hein, whose love and dedication to wrestling promoted the sport on all levels nationally and in the Western New York area.  It is given to a wrestler who displays that same love and commitment to the sport.

*Michael Rigerman accepting The Bill Hein Award from President, Bud Carpenter and Presenter & Scholarship Committee Member, Chris Fischetti


2019 Cauliflower Alley Club Award:
Zachary Braddell
Tonawanda Senior High School
The Cauliflower Alley Club is an association of past, present & future champions, combatants and allied personages joining in celebration and recognition of fellowship within the Wrestling World.

*Cauliflower Alley Award winner, Zachary Braddell shown here with Kris Jones, Daughter of Dick “The Destroyer” Beyer’ Presenter & Scholarship Committee Member, Ralph Pignataro and President, Bud Carpenter


NEW THIS YEAR!!!  2019 Knuutila Family Award:
Johnny Putney
East Aurora High School
It is with great pride the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Committee adds this very special award to its five other prestigious awards.
The Knuutila Family Award is given in Honor of the compassionate heart of Linda Knuutila & her family. Linda was one of our Scholarship Committee Members, who sadly passed away in 2018. She and her family were committed whole heartedly to the sport of Wrestling and this award recognizes a student who emulates the qualities the Knuutila Family members hold true. This award is given to an individual who displays the characteristics of an “Overachiever”; they are persistent, have experienced a setback in life, yet persevered and even when they don’t reach their goal, they keep trying and never gave up.
The winner of the Knuutila Family Award consistently shows the ability to place teammates and team before him or herself; is a solid team member who is always willing to help out with whatever it takes to help his team win a match or tournament. They help those around them to become better athletes and more importantly, better people. The Knuutila Family Award winner is that special athlete on your team you just can’t do without.

*Knuutila Family Award Winner, Johnny Putney shown here with Scholarship President, Bud Carpenter; Granddaughter of Linda Knuutila; and Committee Members, Eric Knuutila & Kristin Clark, Daughter of Linda Knuutila



1996 – 2018

Ilio DiPaolo Award

1996  Greg Bentley (Ripley)
1997  David Guarino (Lake Shore)
1998  Ryan Bentley (Ripley)
1999  Greg Tompsett (Falconer)
2000  Brian Tatar (Sweet Home)
2001  Chris Purtell (Pioneer)
2002  Chris Terranova (Lancaster)
2003  Ryan Needle (Newfane)
2004  Joe Calderon (Eden)
2005  Kane H. Smith (Salamanaca)
2005  Matthew Mazgaj (Southwestern)
2006  Alexander Siedlecki (Clarence)
2007  Matt Mariacher (Iroquois)
2008  Christopher Conti (Fredonia)
2009  Jared Messina (Cheektowaga)
2010  Dominic Montesanti (Medina)
2011  Philip Czapla (East Aurora)
2012  Benjamin Haas (Salamanca)
2013  Drew Hull (Royalton-Hartland)
2014  Rocco Russo (Frontier)
2015  Tyler Hall (East Aurora)
2016  Kellen Devlin (Amherst)
2017  Jordan McLaughlin (Olean)
2018  Giuseppe Hoose (Southwestern)

Gary Castanza Award

1997  Dan Dixon (Niagara-Wheatfield)
1998  Adam Kampff (East Aurora)
1999  Brian Hanselman (Sweet Home)
2000  Robert Truman (Allegany-Limestone)
2001  Michael Sebaaly (Lancaster)
2002  Dan Faden (Amherst)
2003  Jamie Minner (Salamanca)
2004  Bradley Penhollow (Falconer)
2005  Mike Rozbowski (St. Joseph’s)
2006  Jamie Ott (East Aurora)
2007  Jacob Koshinski (Niagara-Wheatfield)
2008  Matt Metzler (Salamanca)
2009  Carlene Sluberski (Fredonia)
2010  Kyle Colling (Pioneer)
2011  Abdulqawi Mohamed (Lackawanna)
2012  Thomas Page (Eden)
2013  Christian Saden (Fredonia)
2014  Alexander Smythe (Eden)
2015  Alexander Kelly (Pine Valley)
2016  Ryan Hetrick (Maple Grove)
2017  Connor Day (Iroquois)
2018  Joseph Andreessen (Lancaster)

Bill Hein Award

1998  Chris Fairbank (Southwestern)
1999  Andy Johnson (Southwestern)
2000  Joseph Glinsky (Iroquois)
2001  Dan Uderitz (Albion)
2002  Ryan Feltz (Springville)
2003  Daniel Murrer (Williamsville East)
2004  Brandon Monin (Lancaster)
2005  Errick Cholewa (Starpointe)
2006  Michael Bunn (Eden)
2007  John Taylor (Lockport)
2008  Mark Lewandowski(Lancaster)
2009  Matthew Peters(East Aurora)
2010  Joseph Kalinka (Iroquois)
2011  Adam Donner (Niagara-Wheatfield)
2012  Anthony Lock (Pioneer)
2013  Jude Gardner, Jr. (Fredonia)
2014  Rocco Russo (Frontier)
2015  Donny McCoy, Jr. (Niagara Falls)
2016  Bradley Bihler (Maple Grove)
2017  Matthew Cicco (Niagara-Wheatfield)
2018  Anthony Robinson (Starpoint)


1997  Josh States (Lockport)
1998  Rashad Evans (Niagara-Wheatfield)
1999  Ryan Fralick (Falconer)
2000  Bill Prince (Frewsberg)
2001  Victor Arena (Salamanca)
2002  J.R. Roberts (Medina)
2003  William Sidey (Fredonia)
2004  Kevin Rosplock (Cassadaga Valley)
2005  Justin Walp (Lewiston-Porter)
2006  Daniel Audy (Clarence)
2007  Salvatore Montesanti, Jr. (Medina)
2008  Robin Broda (Eden)
2009  Kenneth Betts (Fredonia)
2010  Angelo Malvestuto (Niagara-Wheatfield)
2011  Irwin Buck (Niagara Falls)
2012  James Kloc (Iroquois)
2013  Eric Lewandowski (Lancaster)
2014  Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowaga)
2015  Cody McGregor (Tonawanda)
2016  Dakota Gardner (Fredonia)
2017  Jacob Peru (Falconer)
2018  Bryce Rowe (Chautauqua Lake)

Cauliflower Alley Award

1996  Alonzo Roane (Niagara Falls)
1997  Anthony Calandra (Sweet Home)
1998  Adam Brunner (Clarence)
1998  Sean Deland (Williamsville East)
1998  Joe DeBarbieri (Portville)
1998  John DeBarbieri (Portville)
1999  Dan Thrush (Canisius)
2000  Adam Rowe (Ripley)
2001  Brandon Booker (St. Francis)
2002  Derek Ostrowski (Lancaster)
2003  Larry Aceti (Niagara Falls)
2004  Jeremy Stopa (Newfane)
2005  Stephen Sanderson (North Tonawanda)
2006  Reece & Lucas Mariacher (Iroquois)
2007  Tom Rozborski (St. Joseph’s)
2008  Eric Velez (Medina)
2009  Clayton Reeb(Cheektowaga)
2010  James Donner (Niagara-Wheatfield)
2011  Dylan Duncanson (Medina)
2012  Tristan Hamner (Medina)
2013  Anthony Liberatore (Williamsville South)
2014  Marshall Taylor (Lockport)
2015  Kirkland Feeney (Lockport)
2016  Cameron Swick (Royalton-Hartland)
2017  Steven Kapuscinski (Lockport)
2018  Matthew Evans (Randolph)

St. Francis Captain's Award

1996  Peter Talty
1997  Robert Crummet
1998  Dan Puckhaber
1999  Nathaniel Suchyna
2000  Michael Radon
2001  William Seychew
2002  Adam Hass
2003  John Lambert
2004  Ralph Pignataro
2005  Nick MacDonald
2006  Pat Garvin
2007  Luke Tasker
2008  Delano Fabor
2009  Brandon McLean
2010  Adam Pasnik
2011  Akheel Lynch
2012  Jarrett Dolegala
2013  Jake Dolegala
2014  Nick Weikle
2015  Johnathan Strawbrich
2016  Devan Delmont
2017  Dawson Tyger
2018  Jake Ritts

Tom Sestak & Tom Day Lineman Award

2007  Matt Brennan (Maryvale)
2008  Corey Balcerzak (Lockport)
2009  John Urshel (Canisius)
2010  Anthony Sanders (McKinley)
2011  Mike Morganstern (Cheektowaga)
2012  Ryan Hunter (Canisius)
2013  Phil Zobrest (Alden)
2014  T.J. Wheatley (Canisius)
2015  Jake Fuzak (Williamsville South)
2016  Nate Emer (Iroquois)
2017  Jeremiah Sanders (South Park)
2018  Trevor Smith (Pioneer)