The #PrepTalkCountdown continues.
We are unveiling the Prep Talk Players of the Year (a total of 36 honorees) as we count down to the Prep Talk Awards, presented by UBMD Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, on June 15 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. See the complete countdown list at the bottom of this post.
* * *
School: Orchard Park
#PrepTalkResume: Two straight state championships in the 100-yard freestyle; this year she was the lone Section VI swimmer to win a state title. Four straight trips to the state championships. Member of 2013-14 USA Swimming Scholastic All-America Team.
Statistics 101: Her winning time at the state meet in the 100 free was 50.88, which is the very same time she won in the previous year. She took second in the state in the 50 free; in state preliminaries, she set an Orchard Park record in an All-American time of 23.40. She also anchored second-place finishes for the Quakers in the 200 and 400 free relays. Ernst’s scoring at states helped Orchard Park finish in third place as a team with 172 points.
Favorite moment in H.S. competition: "Winning the 100 freestyle for the second year in a row at states with the exact same time as the previous year and our team placing third overall."
Favorite teammate: Olivia Sapio and Katrina Wardner.
Toughest opponent: Kristen Romano (Lancaster).
Role model: Becky Sapio (head coach at TWST -- Town Wreckers Swim Team).
Pro/college athletes she looks up to: Missy Franklin.
I wouldn't be Prep Talk Player of the Year without ... "my supporting family, especially my mom and dad, and friends, as well as my coaches."
When I'm not playing or practicing my sport, I'm ... "spending time with family or friends."
What's ahead: She still has her senior season to attempt a three-peat; her times have already attracted plenty of attention from major Division I swim programs.
* * *
The second annual Prep Talk Awards, presented by UBMD Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine and sponsored by Valu Home Centers, is our version of Oscar Night for WNY high school sports.
The night features radio personalities Janet Snyder and Nicholas Picholas while Buffalo Bills all-time great and CBS sportscaster Steve Tasker will be the guest speaker. Watch our PrepTalkTV interview with Tasker as discusses the awards, along with his own experience as a high school athlete and a high school parent in Western New York, among other topics.
For information on making reservations and ordering tickets, visit buffalonews.com/preptalkawards.
We will honor the Prep Talk Players of the Year in every sport that we cover -- along with the All-Western New York football first team and the first-team members of the All-Western New York boys and girls basketball teams -- as well as some very special Prep Talk Awards: Male and Female Athlete of the Year, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year and Program of the Year (and some surprises).
Who will be this year's Prep Talk Team of the Year? Miguel Rodriguez's final Power 10 of the fall determined our choices as the top teams from the first season of the school year. Rodriguez's final Power 10 of the winter determined the top teams of the second season of 2014-15. The No. 1 in each season's Power 10 becomes a finalist for Prep Talk Team of the Year.
For sponsorship opportunities, contact your Buffalo News sales representative or Ann Brooker at 849-4413 or email@example.com.
* * *
Prep Talk Players of the Year
Girls soccer: Sydney Cerza, Clarence (announced May 28)
Boys soccer: Shane Greene, Hamburg (May 28)
Girls volleyball: Leah Meyer, St. Mary's (May 29)
Boys volleyball: Zach Yerington, Hamburg (May 29).
Girls swimming: Andrea Ernst, Orchard Park (May 30).