Willie McDougald takes DiPaolo scholarship

Bob Koshinski/contributorIn this Feb. 29 file photo, Niagara Falls' Willie McDougald fends off his opponent, Hempstead's Lee Mauras, in the Division I 145-pound championship match at the state wrestling tournament in Albany.

Willie McDougald, the Niagara Falls High School wrestling star and 2020 145-pound Division I state champion, has been awarded the 2020 Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship.

The annual scholarship, one of six given to senior high school wrestlers from Section VI by the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Committee, is given to a wrestler that has excelled in wrestling, academics and citizenship.

McDougald is a two-time New York State D-1 champion and a three-time finalist with a glossy 243-17 career record. He has committed to wrestle for the University of Oklahoma, which is coached by Royalton-Hartland’s Lou Rosselli, a former two-time New York State champion and two-time NCAA champion.

Other scholarship award recipients are:

• Ryan Forrest from Hamburg earned the Gary Castanza Award. Forrest is the 2020 Section VI 132-pound champion with a career record of 162-44 and has been accepted to eight different colleges looking to major in bio-medicine.

• Justin McDougald, Willie's cousin from Niagara Wheatfield, received the Destroyer Award as the 2020 state 138-pound D-1 champ. Justin is a three-time state finalist and a five-time Section VI champion with a 241-27 record who has signed to wrestle for the University at Buffalo.

• Ryan Stencel from Lancaster received the Bill Hein Award. He has a 200-52 career record and is a three-time state place finisher and three-time Section VI champ.

• Giovanni Schifano from Eden high was the recipient of the Cauliflower Alley Award, having placed second in the NYS Division II 160-pound weight class in 2020. He finished with a 188-47 career record.

• Blake Bielec from Grand Island was awarded the Knuutila Family Scholarship. Bielec is a two-time Section VI 220-pound champion with a 144-29 career record and was also a All-Western New York defensive player for Grand Island football.

This is the 25th year of the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship awards, named after the late professional wrestler and popular restaurant owner. A formal awards presentation will be held at Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant in Blasdell after the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

Recommended for you