Vinny Chiarenza ’19
"Honestly, I didn’t think my baseball career could have reached this level," said Vinny Chiarenza, NCCC class of 2019 graduate. "It just goes to show you that all the hard work you put into something will pay off over time, especially if you surround yourself with people who believe in each other…the possibilities are endless."
Vinny started playing tee-ball for Grand Island Little League when he was 4-years old. Vinny explained, "my dad got me into tee-ball and he is the person that I look up to everyday. My dad always encourages me to work hard and do my best. I had no idea that this would be the beginning of an amazing journey with a sport that I would later fall in love with. When I entered high school, I decided I wanted to try other sports too including football, basketball, and hockey. I loved playing all the sports and pushing myself to excel in each of them, but I eventually chose to devote all of my time to baseball."
When Vinny was exploring where to go to college he knew that NCCC would be a perfect fit for him because it offered everything he was looking for both academically and athletically. Vinny explained, "NCCC had a successful, nationally recognized baseball program with an amazing coaching staff along with so many academic opportunities that I couldn’t wait to explore it!"
Explore and excel he did! During Vinny’s time at NCCC, he was honored as a two-time All-American baseball player and Region III Gold Glove honors. His dedication and success at NCCC was also recognized when he became the senior captain of the Thunderwolves baseball team. In addition, Vinny was also the recipient of the 2019 President’s Cup Award, the most distinguished award in NCCC intercollegiate athletics. This honor is given annually to the student-athlete who achieves success both in academics and athletics. "To be selected for these awards feels amazing, but it’s something that wouldn't have been possible without my incredible teammates, coaches, and family. I also take my role as team captain very seriously. I strive to always be patient, hardworking, and honest with my teammates so that we can believe and trust in one another to reach our goals. When my team is successful it motivates me to work harder because I want to be great for not only them, but also this school and the community."
Baseball wasn’t Vinny’s only focus. While attending NCCC, he maintained and graduated with a GPA of 3.6, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa for 2-years, and a member of Student Senate for 1-year. "I became a member of the prestigious Phi Theta Kappa thanks to my professors, Laurie Ryan and Paul Ratka, who pushed me academically to help reach my goals. I felt honored to be inducted and included in such a respected club." With his success academically, Vinny was chosen to receive the 2019 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. This award honors SUNY students who have demonstrated their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives including leadership, campus involvement, athletics, and more.
This summer, Vinny is continuing his career with Niagara Power Baseball and plans on attending Canisius College in the fall. He will play baseball at Canisius too. Vinny’s long term goal is to become a Major League baseball player and a financial advisor. "Looking back, if I had a chance to tell future student-athletes anything," said Vinny, "it would be that this is the best time of your life! You get to play a sport at a high level and at the same time make amazing lifelong friends. Take advantage of all the opportunities NCCC has to offer you. I am extremely grateful for NCCC - they helped me get on the right path for my career and my future!"