Scholarship Awards & Winners

Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Awards Night Winners

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!


2023 Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Award Winner:

2023 Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Award Winner:

Kenneth Schmitz

Hamburg Central 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.

2023 Gary Castanza Award Winner:

2023 Gary Castanza Award Winner:

Brady Heckathorn

Pioneer Senior 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.


2023 "Destroyer" Wrestling Award:

Jaden Crumpler

Niagara Falls 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.

2023 Bill Hein Award Winner (Most Dedicated):

2023 Bill Hein Award Winner (Most Dedicated):

Gwyneth & Meghan Edwards

Porter 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.

2023 Cauliflower Alley Club Award:

2023 Cauliflower Alley Club Award:

Luke Ventresca

Saint Joseph Collegiate Institute
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.

2023 Knuutila Family Award:

2023 Knuutila Family Award:

Matthew Caldwell

Starpoint High School
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.

2023 Harrison Phillips Award:

2023 Harrison Phillips Award:

Tommy Carlsen

Lancaster High School
It is with great pride the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Committee adds this very special award to it's six other prestigious awards. Harrison Phillips was the Third Round Draft Pick in 2018. Out of Stanford University, he was a four-time All-Academic and All-Conference, as well as a three time Team Captain. Harrison began wrestling at four years old. He was a three-time undefeated State Heavyweight Champion at Virginia Beach, Tulsa & Fargo Nationals with a record of 28-0! He also founded the Harrison Phillips' Playmakers Foundation for the disadvantaged. The Harrison Phillips award is given to someone who exemplifies these qualities in academics, commitment and community.


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)
2019 Robert Penhollow (Falconer)
2020 Willie McDougald (Niagara Falls)

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)
2019 Cory Day (Iroquois)
2020 Ryan Forrest (Hamburg)

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)
2019 Michael Rigerman (Pioneer)
2020 Ryan Stencel (Lancaster)


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)
2019 Warren McDougald (Niagara-Wheatfield)
2020 Justin McDougald (Niagara-Wheatfield)

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)
2019 Zachary Braddell (Tonawanda)
2020 Giovanni Schifano (Eden)

The Knuutila Family Award

2019 Johnny Putney (East Aurora)
2020 Blake Bielec (Grand Island)

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)