Donnie Cimino Jr., Class of 2011 sheds light on the college selection process, how athletics has helped him standout in the classroom, and what he misses most about his playing days as Captain of the Cardinals football and baseball teams.
Q: With your excellent academic and athletic credentials at WWRHS you had many options for college – what made you select a top business school like Wesleyan University?
A: I had a long recruiting process and for a long time I didn’t know where I was going to go and what I was looking for. Eventually I valued the academic level of a university as the deciding factor for my college decision which led me to Wesleyan. I also knew that I could continue to play two sports here which definitely influenced me. Sure, I had other opportunities to play either sport at bigger schools but, in the end, Wesleyan was where I felt most comfortable. Looking back, I’d say that ultimately it comes down to how you feel at the school: going there, meeting students and trying to picture yourself there – that’s when you know.
Q: A recent study concluded that athletics serve as a positive motivational factor for students and that THERE IS a direct relationship between participation in athletics and academic success. Do you agree?
A: I definitely agree that athletics play a major part in academic success. In sports, we learn that vale of hard work, focus passion, etc. These values easily translate to the classroom. In today’s culture, you have to fulfill the student part of student athlete in order to compete for scholarship money so there is a huge incentive in doing well in both school and athletics.
Q: Two-sport athletes are rare at the collegiate level – how do you balance athletics and academics?
A: At Westwood, most of my friends were two, some even three-sport athletes so my schedule was similar to the kids I was seeing every day. In college, however, I’m one of the few two-sport athletes, which makes me have to be very independent and self-motivated. I have to keep myself regimented in order to go to class, workout, go to practice and then do homework or study for whatever academic responsibilities I have. Westwood gave me a solid foundation for this discipline.
Q: Last season when Nick Campanile joined the Cardinals staff he cited “the tremendous game day atmosphere” at Westwood as a key reason he came aboard – what do you remember most about game day at WWRHS?
A: I remember walking over the bridge holding hands with my brothers next to me and seeing all the fans and my parents right before we ran onto the A field at Ketler. For as bad as that field was it had character. I think the “Cardinal Crazies” is a great idea that promotes unity in the school and I hope it becomes a long-lasting tradition with “Friday Nigh Lights” on the new turf field.
Q: To date, what are your proudest academic and athletic accomplishments?
A: Getting into Wesleyan is definitely my proudest academic accomplishment. There are so many great things we did football wise at Westwood but athletically speaking getting into the Bergen County finals in baseball my junior year was an awesome experience. This summer I was selected to play in a collegiate baseball league for Martha’s Vineyard so I am really pumped for that as well.
More about Donnie Cimino Jr.
Height: 6’2” Weight: 195 GPA (WWRHS) 3.8 GPA (WU) 3.4
Awards & Recognition
Westwood Regional High School
Baseball (1st Team All League & All County / 1st Team All Group 2 / 3rd Team All State)
Football (1st Team All League / 2nd Team All County)
Baseball (2nd Team All NESAC Conference / 3rd Team All New England)
Football (2nd Team All NESAC Conference)