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Daniel Cantafio named Skip Vonsik scholarship winner

West senior Daniel Cantafio has been named the 2018-19 Skip Vonsik Memorial Scholarship winner. 

This scholarship is awarded in memory of 1976 West graduate Skip Vonsik. Vonsik was affectionately known as “Big Guy” because he was the small guy on the team that was the hardest working. He played football, hockey and baseball for West. 

Annually, his friends and family come together from across the country for a golf tournament to raise money for scholarships given to West Athletes. Close to $100,000 has been given to student athletes in scholarships and recognition programs. West graduates from the 1960s to present support this great cause. 

The criteria for this scholarship is a multi-sport athlete who is known for being the hardest worker but is an undersized over achiever who puts the team first and does whatever is asked of them, just as Vonsik did.

Cantafio has competed in football, wrestling and lacrosse since seventh grade. In football, despite being only 5’6”, he was the starting center and earned honorable mention all-star for ECIC A. As a wrestler he wrestled at 220 or 285, depending on what the team needed. Again, despite his size, he was able to place third in the Class Championships. As a lacrosse goalie, Cantafio has been a three year starter. He is a three sport Academic ALL WNY Athlete, ranked No. 17 in his class of 307. He was a 2019 Student of Excellence. Cantafio will be attending Lycoming College in the fall to study to be a math teacher and coach. He will also play lacrosse.

Head Football Coach Mike Vastola said Cantafio has been “bleeding blue” since he was in seventh grade in the summer weight training program.

“He and his brother John even offered to help with our program this past summer, offering assistance to our youngest Indian football players,” Vastola said. “He relished being in the role of an offseason captain. He always put everything he had into the program, doing what was asked of him as the glue that keeps teams together.”

Head Wrestling Coach Dave Recor said Cantafio’s hard work and dedication along with a team-first mentality has made him a player and wrestler that you would want on your team. 

“He has shown that hard work pays off,” Recor said.

Head Lacrosse Coach Bob Tulowicki said Cantafio is an extremely hardworking student athlete. 

“Whatever the task was, Dan was up for the challenge and offered whatever he could do to make sure the team was successful. From being a team captain to organizing off season workouts and practices, Dan was always there to make sure it happened,” Tulowicki said. “As the starting goalie on varsity lacrosse since his sophomore year, Dan’s leadership skills and play on the field contributed to West’s most successful season in 2018 and repeated trips to the Section 6 Class B semifinals. We look forward to watching Dan continue his lacrosse career at Lycoming College.”

The 17th annual Skip Vonsik Memorial “Big Guy” Golf Outing benefiting the West Seneca West Senior High School Underdog Scholarships will be held Saturday, July 13 at Chestnut Hills Country Club, 1330 Broadway in Darien. The event will begin with an 8 a.m. shotgun start.

To register a foursome for the outing or to donate or sponsor a hole, contact Joe Cantafio at 472-7334 or