Former LHS great inducted into Wrestling Wall of Fame
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport’s Matt Cinelli learned early in life the importance of setting goals and then working hard to achieve them.
As a seventh grader on the LHS wrestling team, Cinelli said he had many discussions with coaches who imparted those beliefs in him, including Joe Scapelliti, Pat Seidel and Shawn Murray.
“I remember when I first started, my goal was to win the class tournament and sectionals,” said Cinelli, 23, the son of Tom and Anita Cinelli.
“Then once I got there, my goal was to get to states and then when I saw what it was like to be at states, my goal was to go back and to place at states my senior year and I did that, coming in fifth. I was very proud of reaching the goals that I had set.”
Cinelli, the second winningest grappler in Lions mat history behind Bill Morello (215), was inducted Wednesday night into the LHS Wrestling Wall of Fame. There with the Class of 2007 LHS graduate to help him celebrate the occasion were his parents, along with his sister, Jessica; and his girlfriend, Meghan Batt.
“It’s great to be inducted, honestly. I hope that a lot of the younger kids can look up there and realize that someday it could be them,” said Cinelli, decked out appropriately in a Lions’ royal blue shirt. “It only takes a little determination and dedication.”
Cinelli, who finished his stellar LHS career with 161 victories, said most of his memories involve the relationship he had with his teammates and close friends.
“We were like a family,” Cinelli said. “I still miss wrestling. I still miss getting on the mat and the exercise and beating up people, but I miss my teammates the most. We were a real family.”
Cinelli said no single wrestling memory means most to him, but he did recall his many tough matches against “one of the Malvestuto brothers” from Niagara-Wheatfield, his state tourney runs and just horsing around with teammates in general.
The Wrestling Wall of Fame ceremony was held just prior to the Lions’ Niagara Frontier League match against visiting Niagara Falls. Both teams entered with 3-0 records.
Meanwhile, the future continues to look bright for Cinelli. His dream of opening up his own business may soon become a reality in Wisconsin.
In the meantime, Cinelli said he plans to drop by LHS practices and help out any way he can.
“I remember when I was one of them and the dreams that I had,” Cinelli said. “Maybe I can help motivate some of these guys into reaching their goals like I did. It was a great, unforettable experience.”
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s clash of Niagara Frontier League wrestling unbeatens was an anti-climactic one as the Lockport Lions rolled to a decisive 68-18 victory over visiting Niagara Falls.
With the win, head coach Joe Scapelliti’s Lions improved to 4-0, tied for first place in the league standings with Lew-Port. The previously-unbeaten Wolverines dropped to 3-1.
On a day the Lions inducted former great Matt Cinelli into their wrestling Wall of Fame at LHS, the Lions responded with a dominating Cinelli-like team victory, posting seven pins and two decision victories to remain undefeated in the NFL in 2012-13.
Anthony Orefice (126 pounds), Vince Eberhart (132) Kirk Feeney (138), Jose Pagan (145), Doug Blazier (170), Matt Simpson (195) and Marcelus Hinton (285) all earned pins for the mat Lions.
State-finalist Orefice pinned Palmer Archi in 5:53, Eberhart stopped Marquise Sanders in 1:04, Feeney won by fall over Anthony Zelinsky in 1:04, co-captain Pagan pinned Dmari Duckworth in 2:41, Blazier stopped Tevin Hamilton in 3:43, Simpson won by fall over Quiante Wallace in 5:43; and Hinton pinned Dajuan Jackson in 51 seconds.
Other wins by the Lions were recorded by Josh Steinman (152) and football standout Seth Anderson (160). Steinman earned a 16-1 technical fall victory over Keneddi Eddings, while Anderson won by decision over Desha Duckworth, 7-4.
Earning forfeit wins for the Lions were Mark Cye (106), Chris Clay (120) and grid all-star Marshall Taylor (220).
The Wolverines got pins from Donny McCoy (99), Baha Shihadeh (113) and DeQuan Ralands (182).
Starpoint 57, Will East 23
PENDLETON — The Spartans got five pins Tuesday en route to a big win over Williamsville East, topping ECIC Div. II wrestling action. With the win, Starpoint improved to 3-3 in the league and 8-8 overall.
Wayne Leblanc (152), Chris Willms (170), Dillon Thomas (182), Reese Elson (220) and Rion Elson (285) all earned pins for the garnet and gray.
Leblanc (S) pinned Brian Marreally (1:42), Willms pinned Conner Shea (3:24), Thomas stopped Alex Bartusherich (3:55), Reese Elson pinned Bill Brady (2:41) and Rion Elson pinned Pat Ennd (1:16).
Starpoint’s Tyler Mack (120) won by technical fall over Alex Vito of the Flames, 15-0; while Corey Mack (138) earned a major decision 13-2 win over Will East’s Josh Barrett.
Earning forfeit wins for the Spartans were Jake Barone (99), Derek Driskel (106) and Brian Ghiandoni (113).
Getting a pin at 145 pounds for the Flames was Ben Clark.
Roy-Hart 39, Newfane 34
MIDDLEPORT — The Rams (3-1 N-O) were sparked by pins by Drew Hull (145), Travis Kelkenberg (170), Alex Jensen (220) and Clayton Smith (285).
The Rams also got decision wins by Jake Stern (113), Troy Lawson (120), Zack Bickle (126) and Cameron Swick (106) in the final bout which locked up the win.
Cyrus Simons (132), Damon Taylor (152) and Jordan Brawley (182) all notched pins for visiting Newfane (2-2 N-O).
Medina 48, Wilson 36
WILSON — First period pins by Brennen Callara (99), Nick Doberstein (120), Nick Erway (126), Ben Howell (138) and Rob Wendt (152) sparked the Mustangs (4-1 N-O) to the victory.
Wilson, which dropped to 0-4 in the league, got pins from Joe Brown (145), Chase Wheeler (160), Joe Stimm (170), Justin Stephenson (182) and Brian Kerwin (220).