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ECC inducts Ciminelli, Nelson into Hall of Fame

Erie Community College welcomed a pair of left-handers, from different eras, into its athletics Hall of Fame at a reception and induction ceremonies at the Bert Flickinger Athletic Center.

Ryan Ciminelli, who won the National Junior College Athletic Association, singles title in 2005 and the all-events in 2007 before embarking on a successful career on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour and former Steve Nelson, a South Park who starred in basketball, baseball and bowled on a regional championship team at ECC 1966-68 before going on to the University at Buffalo were the inductees.

Ciminelli. the reigning U.S. Open champion, brought along the “USBC Eagle” he won as the champion of the Open, one of the sport’s major championships. He was presented by Jerry Carroll, another former ECC bowler. Pete Herrmann, a Buffalo native who was head coach at Navy and is now head basketvall coach at Young Harris College in Georgia, and former ECC coach and athletics director Jack Fitzpatrick introduced Nelson.

“The best teammate anybody could have,” said Herrmann, who played with Nelson on Ramblers teams from South Buffalo in Muny baseball in the 1960s.

Carroll recalled when Ciminelli bowled for the Cheektowaga varsity as a middle schooler. “Ryan had a work ethic second to none,” Carroll said.

Nelson, a recovering cancer patient, introduced his teammates from his years at South Park in an emotional acceptance speech.

“I’m bummed that I’m so much younger,” Ciminelli, who is turned 30 this month, said to Nelson.”We could have been friends.”

ECC President Jack Quinn made welcoming remarks. Director of athletics Peter Jerebko was the master of ceremonies.