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Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys cross country: Kenny Vasbinder, East Aurora

The #PrepTalkCountdown continues, with two weeks to go until the big night.

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.

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Kenny Vasbinder

School: East Aurora

Year: Junior

#PrepTalkResume: Vasbinder won the Class C individual state championship and was named Western New York's Runner of the Year for boys cross country

Statistics 101: Vasbinder won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C race at SUNY Canton in 5 minutes, 54.6 seconds, helping his team to the Class C state title as well, and contributing to a full sweep of the Class C boys and girls cross country team and individual championships (with Sophia Tasselmyer, a fellow Prep Talk Player of the Year honoree).

Favorite moment in H.S. competition: "Winning the individual and team state titles at the state championships in Canton."

Favorite teammate: Ben Comstock.

Toughest opponent: Sweet Home.

Role model: Brad Stevens.

Pro/college athlete I look up to: Steph Curry.

I wouldn't be Prep Talk Player of the Year without ... "My entire cross country team, Walt and Marty McLaughlin, and my family and friends."

When I'm not playing or practicing my sport, I'm ... "hanging out with friends or playing basketball."

What's ahead: Another season with one of the best cross country programs in the state.

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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

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).

Here's a look back at last year's awards via Twitter.

Here's an online look back at last year's special section.

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

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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).

Rifle: Noah Fox, Alden (May 30).

Girls bowling: Haley Carroll, Williamsville South (May 31).

Boys bowling: Nate Maloney, Niagara-Wheatfield (May 31).

Girls cross country: Sophia Tasselmyer, East Aurora (June 1).

Boys cross country: Kenny Vasbinder, East Aurora (June 1).

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