Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/7/19
From Press Release
For many in Delaware County, Thanksgiving traditions begin with local high school football rivalries, but this year, on Black Friday, a new holiday sports tradition will be born.
The inaugural Alumni Rivalry Game between Ridley and Springfield – presented by American Brokerage Services Inc. and Cell Vault – will feature two of Philly’s most celebrated high school programs with noteworthy graduates from the past few decades facing off in a special benefit game.
The stage is set. A local sports debate that has spanned nearly 60 years will be settled on Friday, November 29 as the lacrosse alumni of Ridley and Springfield will meet at iconic Phil Marion Field on the campus of Ridley High at 1 PM in a crosstown rivalry game for the ages.
With this event being the first of its kind in the region, event organizers are hoping to attract both communities to witness this incredible experience that has the lacrosse world buzzing. Teams will take the field with the purpose of honoring the past, investing in the future, remembering those lost and celebrating the game.
General admission tickets are $5.00 and can be purchased in advance Click here to purchase your tickets or at the gate. Proceeds will support the HEADstrong Foundation and their commitment to local families overcome by cancer.
For many, this event is a nod to the rich history of both Ridley and Springfield’s programs, who have been instrumental in laying the framework for the growth of the game in the Philly region. For some, it’s nostalgia and a chance to relive their glory days. For some it’s bragging rights.
For all, it’s a chance to memorialize and celebrate the lives of two very special athletes, Ridley’s #27 Nicholas “HEAD” Colleluori and Springfield’s #14 Nicholas “NACHO” Baratelle, who both succumbed to cancer.
As a former captain of Green Raiders, Colleluori’s tenacious defensive play once wreaked havoc on opponents and was instrumental in leading his program to three consecutive state titles.
At just 19, Colleluori was terminally diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma shortly into his sophomore year at Hofstra University and created the HEADstrong Foundation to serve as “the” resource that he wish existed for his own family when the rug was ripped out from under them in 2005.
Tragically, at just 21, Colleluori lost his untimely battle in 2006 but his legacy carries on through the charity.
Baratelle, was an accomplished goalie at Springfield and played collegiately at Wheeling Jesuit University. At 19, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Disseminating Oligodendroglioma-like leptomeningeal tumors. Baratelle lost his fight on July 11, 2018, he was just 22.
To honor their fallen brothers, all of the members of Ridley’s team will take the field dawning #27, the number that Colleluori proudly wore as a member of the Green Raiders and Springfield will take the field wearing Baratelle’s #14. In addition, each program will wear a commemorative patch in support of Mike “Flake” Falasca, a former player and longtime coach at Ridley who is currently battling Multiple Myeloma.
From legendary Cougars such as Greg “The Beast” Gurenlian, Austin Kaut and Kyle Sweeney to Ridley greats such as Andrew Cleghorn, Brett Moyer and Marc Schaffer, the rosters have been assembled and will feature some of the most accomplished athletes that sport has ever seen. The rosters are made up of current and former members of Team USA, current and former professionals, collegiate and high school All-Americans, countless former All-State and All-County selections that span the past 30 years.
More than 50 athletes from each legendary program will suit up for this very special event. Both programs are competing to raise funds to support local families overcome by cancer through the charitable mission of the HEADstrong Foundation.
The Alumni Rivalry Game will also pay homage to Ridley’s Joe Stranix and Springfield’s Sean Duffy. Stranix and Duffy will both be presented with an award at the event for their dedication and commitment to their programs, community and the sport at large. Additionally, HEADstrong Sports, a division of the HEADstrong Foundation will be making a commitment to both programs through an annual donation of new boys and girls youth lacrosse sticks in an effort to provide opportunity to grow the sport within each community.
“On behalf of the HEADstrong Foundation as well as the Colleluori and Baratelle families, we wish to extend our sincere appreciation, love and respect to the Ridley and Springfield communities for carrying on the legacies of our sons and never forgetting,” said Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom. “For anyone grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays are incredibly difficult and opportunities like the Alumni Rivalry Game truly get us through the pain and allow us to fulfill the promises made to our children.
“It has been the highest privilege to work alongside of both of these programs to organize this incredible event. We are motivated and energized by their enthusiasm, commitment, competitiveness and overall excitement. For so many of us, lacrosse is a positive bridge that has played such a critical role in our lives, a sport that has given us opportunities and has brought light in the darkest times of our lives. We often say that the best times of our lives were shared on a lacrosse field and we are so very honored to bring a new tradition allowing us to strengthen our commitment to local families overcome by cancer at such a very special and significant time of year.”
So, who will win this epic rivalry game? Who will settle the score? Who will hoist the Nick Colleluori & Nick Baratelle Trophy? We’ll find out on Black Friday.
To learn more about how the HEADstrong Foundation is changing the game for families overcome by cancer please visit www.HEADstrong.org
Ridley Alumni Game Roster
Lee J Kulberg
** Honorary Captains
Springfield Alumni Game Roster