The score was not important in the second annual Nick Colleluori classic on Saturday, Oct. 11. The men’s lacrosse team stepped on the turf at Ridley High School to play against Villanova and Saint Joe’s University to support and spread awareness about the Headstrong Foundation.
Nick Colleluori, nicknamed “Head,” graduated from Ridley High School in June 2004 and continued on to play lacrosse at Hofstra University. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in September, which started his 14-month battle with cancer.
“Nick was the hardest working person I knew. He gave 100 percent at everything he did, whether it be games or practice, he gave it his all,” former teammate and senior finance major Pat Grenier said.
During his battle, he came up with the idea to begin the Headstrong Foundation to help those with the same struggles,who have been diagnosed with blood cancers, as well as put an end to this disease.
“It’s amazing how much it’s grown in just two years and I know Headie blessed us with this beautiful weather today,” former teammate and senior business administration major Chris Cavaliere said.
This year, the tournament went from six colleges and universities to 13 division I and III schools, including Bellarmine, Cabrini, Villanova, Haverford, Hofstra, Lehigh, Loyola, Maryland, UPenn, Penn State, Princeton, St. Joe’s and Widener.
“It’s really cool that most of the top programs in the country are here today and it’s a great tribute to Nick. Overall, it’s just a great lax day,” junior math and secondary education major Mark Hamilton said.
Last year, the foundation raised $75,000, which they used for blood cancer research, as well as help those afflicted by this terrible disease in the Philadelphia area.
“Being involved with Headstrong is a great feeling, especially since I played with Nick, it means a lot to give back to the Headstrong Foundation,” Grenier said.
The beautiful sunny weather and mixed emotions left no seats open in the stands. Supporters of Headstrong filled the bleachers, enjoyed refreshments and purchased their own Headstrong gear.
“The turnout is phenomenal; You can tell by the growth, vendors and teams playing that the foundation is bringing more of a crowd already,” Cabrini alum ’06 Kevin Rayer said.
Every player on each team sported the Headstrong Laces, which could be found on teams all over the world for the past year.
“It makes me feel proud that we were asked to be a part of this. I especially like that the money is going to families in need in the Philadelphia area,” assistant men’s lacrosse coach Brian Felice said.
Every team was given a senior captain who is currently facing a type of blood cancer. Cabrini’s captain was a young man named Stephen Vail who is on the executive board for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“It’s a wonderful event. Obviously Nick’s the one who started it all. For me, everything I do for the leukemia fund is all for the kids, so they won’t have to experience what we have,” Vail said.
With no official scoreboard, St. Joe’s beat the Cavs 5-4 and the Cavs had two points over Villanova with a final score of 7-5.
Anyone who wishes to get involved or learn more about Nick and the Headstrong Foundation can visit HEADstrongfoundation.org.
The 2nd annual Nick Colleluori Classic reached out to an estimate of 10,000 people and raised more than $200,000.
Nick’s mother, Cheryl Colleluori, spoke in a presentation late Saturday afternoon.
“He was relentless. In whatever he did, whether it was busting someone’s chops, doing school work or playing a game, he approached it with passion. This tournament is just a small glimpse of who Nick was,” Colleluori said.