Cifaretto, Riccitelli To Play Football In College


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Mike Cifaretto is going to Ithaca College, while long-time Verona teammate Matt Riccitelli will play for Susquehanna.
Mike Cifaretto is going to Susquehanna University, while long-time Verona teammate Matt Riccitelli will play for Ithaca College.
Add two more names to the list of athletes from the Verona High School Class of 2015 who will continue to play in college.

Last Friday, Mike Cifaretto and Matt Riccitelli, both part of the rock-solid Hillbilly O-Line on this year’s state championship team, signed letters of commitment for college football. Cifaretto will be attending Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Penn., while Riccitelli will head north to Ithaca College.

“I’ve loved football since I was a kid,” says Cifaretto, “and I still have the same feeling for it now. I didn’t feel like it was time to stop playing.” He says that while he had considered Susquehanna a “reach” school he decided to apply anyway to see what would happen, and he’s happy he did. “The campus is beautiful, the academics are very good, I have a friend there and I like the conference they play in”. Cifaretto, who plans to major in sociology and legal studies, will join the team as a fullback, but might move in the future to center, his Hillbilly position.

Cifaretto with his parents, Mike and Colleen.
Cifaretto with his parents, Mike and Colleen.
Riccitelli is also looking forward to fall. “I am so excited to start playing college ball for a school I had applied to before they had started to recruit me,” he says. “Before the season started I would have never have dreamed this was possible, but I had decided that if my senior year was going to be the last I was going to going to give it my all and I did. Then the calls started coming and the coaches started coming. I said, ‘wow these schools want me what am I going to do?’.” Riccitelli says he had nice offers from many schools but he really felt a bond with the Ithaca coaching staff. “I feel that at Ithaca I will be able to get a great education in the field of communication as well as play a sport I have been playing since third grade,” he adds. “I want to thank all of my coaches, from Verona Eagles to Hillbillies as without their guidance none of this would have been possible. I am looking forward to my college years, the next step in my journey.”

The two have played together for 10 years on the Verona Eagles and VHS Hillbillies, and have received many honors. Cifaretto was named first team offense for the All-Super Essex Conference Colonial division team last fall, while Riccitelli was named first team defense.

Both of their new schools are NCAA Division III teams. Cifaretto can keep some parts of his VHS wardrobe when he joins the Susquehanna Crusaders: Their colors are maroon and orange. Most of his games will be in Pennsylvania, although the Landmark Conference also plays Drew University in New Jersey. The Ithaca Bombers (team colors: blue and gold) play a host of teams in upstate New York, as well as the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

Cifaretto and Riccitelli join seven other Class Of 2015 athletes who have already signed to play in college: Ellis Martin, Jake Miller, Caroline Chivily, Bill Ferrari, Claire Fitzpatrick, Frank Ferrari and Julia Ashley.

Riccitelli with his parents, Camille and Joe.
Riccitelli with his parents, Camille and Joe.
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