Ben Haas' biggest accomplishment on the wrestling mat came in February, when he won his second consecutive New York State title. His biggest off the mat came on Thursday when the Salamanca senior won the annual Ilio DiPaolo Wrestling Scholarship.
The 17th annual banquet, attended by 200 people at DiPaolo's Restaurant, honored the best from the 2011-12 high school wrestling season in the form of six awards and five college scholarships totaling $9,000.
The DiPaolo award is named for the late pro wrestler, who believed as your success grows, so should the support you give your community. The award recognizes, and provides financial aid to, a college-bound wrestler for his efforts on and off the mat.
Haas will use the $2,500 scholarship toward his education at Lehigh University, where he will continue his wrestling career.
Haas defended his state title in the Division II 145-pound class. While most wrestlers are lucky to get to one state meet, Haas has seen five.
His work on the mat, in the classroom and in his community helped sell the selection committee. He ended his career with a 240-40 record. Academically he carries a 96.85 grade average. He's a member of the National Honor Society and is currently ranked No. 2 in his class.
Tom Page of Eden was presented the Gary Castanza Award, named for the late martial arts soke who worked numerous charity events with DiPaolo. Page is a four-time New York State place finisher (three third places and a fifth). He's a four-time Section VI and class champion. He has signed with American University. Like Haas, he's also ranked No. 2 in his class and carries a 98.37 average.
Tony Lock of Pioneer was presented the Bill Hein Dedicated Wrestler Award, which goes to a wrestler who displays love and commitment to the sport. Lock was state champion this year at 182 pounds, was runner-up in 2011 and fourth in 2010. He was 196-41 in his career and has signed with the University at Buffalo.
Jim Kloc of Iroquois was presented the Destroyer Award, named for Hall of Fame wrestler Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer. Kloc is a two-time state champion, a three-time state finalist and a four-time place finisher. He was 254-28 in his career. He joins Lock as a signee of UB.
Tristian Hamner of Medina won the Cauliflower Alley Club Award, which recognizes fellowship within the wrestling world. Competing in three state tournaments, he placed fifth, third and third. His record was 190-27. He's considering Binghamton University.
The St. Francis football Captain's Award was presented to Jarrett Dolegala.