Hempstead, NY – On Sunday, September 30, 2012 over 11 collegiate women’s lacrosse teams from Long Island, NY and the surrounding areas gathered to remember former Hofstra athlete and HEADstrong Founder Nicholas Colleluori by taking part in the 4th Annual Women’s Nick Colleluori Classic at Hofstra University. This annual collegiate fall women’s lacrosse tournament is the sister fundraising event to the HEADstrong Foundation’s Men’s Nicholas Colleluori Classic held annually at Colleluori’s beloved Ridley High School in Folsom, PA. A beautiful forecast set the tone for this inspirational day which featured some amazing competitive lacrosse. The event successfully generated over $35,000 allowing the HEADstrong Foundation to strengthen their commitment to providing resources and assistance to patients and families battling blood cancers. Together both annual fall events have combined to generate over $215,000 for HEADstrong Foundation.
For new head coach and Long Island native Shannon Smith, while a chance to see her team in competition for the first time, this event was about celebrating the life of Nicholas Colleluori, continuing to share his legacy with her program and helping the Colleluori family further their mission of promoting blood cancer awareness in women’s lacrosse. And while she was not on campus during Nicholas Colleluori’s battle with Lymphoma, she understands the penetration of his story and the important role that the HEADstrong Foundation has within the lacrosse community and the blood cancer community.
“The Women’s Nick Colleluori Classic is an amazing event that I am thrilled to be part of and host here annually at Hofstra. We have a strong alliance with the HEADstrong Foundation and are committed to helping them grow the awareness of their cause and organization within women’s lacrosse. Whether it’s supporting the new women’s lacrosse gear with proceeds benefitting their fight or continuing to host fundraising events, we want all of women’s lacrosse to not only know who this organization is but to support their efforts as well. Shannon Smith, Head Coach, Hofstra Women’s Lacrosse
This special fundraising event has seen over $135,000 for the HEADstrong
Foundation since its inception in 2008. Over the summer Smith transitioned into her new role at Hofstra and amongst the challenges of taking the reins of the Division I lacrosse team, she was actively involved in coordinating this event
and plans are underway for expanding the event in the future.
“With more time and preparation for next year’s event, we will look to publicize the Women’s Nick Colleluori Classic a great amount and attract women’s teams from across the country. Our hope is to make this event the largest fall Women’s event in the country. We would love to get more local youth and club lacrosse teams involved as well.
This year the event featured Central Connecticut State University, CW Post, Hofstra University, Iona College, LaSalle University, Long Island University, Manhattan College, New York Athletic Club, Stony Brook University, SUNY Cortland and Villanova University. In addition, the Hofstra Women’s Lacrosse Alumni will be participating as Team HEADstrong in memory of Nick Colleluori.
The Colleluori family was on hand sharing their personal experience and progression of their organization with spectators. During the event teams gathered for the inspirational HEADstrong presentation, in which Cheryl Colleluori addressed the players, recognized the coaches that made the event possible and shared her son’s legacy with all in attendance. This year the HEADstrong Foundation recognized players from each program with the Nicholas Colleluori Award, presented to a player demonstrating leadership, service and a relentless drive for success on an off the playing field.
“I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the Colleluori family over the past few months and it is so inspiring to hear the vision that Nick created, which helped frame the HEADstrong Foundation. I am so impressed by their efforts and how the Colleluori family continues to carry on his legacy. We are truly grateful to be so closely related to the HEADstrong Foundation, especially being that Nick was a player here. Like the Colleluori family, our Pride family will continue carrying on his legacy to do whatever we can do to help people who are battling blood cancers.” says Smith
“What an amazing and inspirational day. We are so grateful to Hofstra University, Shannon Smith and all of the teams that made this wonderful event happen. On behalf of the HEADstrong Foundation, the Colleluori family and our Nick thank you for believing in our fight and remembering our son and his courageous battle against blood cancer. We truly feel at home here in Long Island and are so moved by the reception that we received today. Blood cancer affects men, women and children and we are working diligently to advocate awareness of our cause within women’s lacrosse. This event is such a wonderful chance to connect with this community and help unite lacrosse players in the fight against this disease.” – Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom