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Prep Talk Player of the Year for field hockey: McKenna Rushford, Amherst

The #PrepTalkCountdown continues, with less than 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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McKenna Rushford

School: Amherst

Year: Junior

Position: 5-foot-10 midfielder

Twitter: @mckennarushford

#PrepTalkResume: All-Western New York first-teamer and junior captain helped lead the Tigers to two straight Section VI Class B championships and the No. 1 ranking in Western New York for two seasons.

Statistics 101: Rushford had eight goals and 20 assists this season after moving from forward to midfield, where she set up the Tigers' attack with her ability to see the plays before they happened. The three-year starter helped Amherst to a 37-0-1 record in sectional competition the last two seasons and she now owns career totals of 40 goals and 40 assists. After scoring nine game-winning goals in 2013, she had game-winning assists in four games and game-winning goals in four games in 2014.

Favorite moment in H.S. competition: "Winning a second Section VI championship in a row."

Favorite teammate: Jenna Sobol.

Toughest opponent: Iroquois.

Role model: My brother Lauton.

Pro/college athlete I look up to: Patrice Bergeron.

I wouldn't be Prep Talk Player of the Year without ... "my dad, my brother, my mom and coach LeGoff."

When I'm not playing or practicing my sport, I'm ... "watching Netflix and eating."

What's ahead: Her senior season in all three sports (she was also second-team All-Federation in ice hockey and a first-team All-WNY selection and All-American in lacrosse). She has yet to decide whether to pursue field hockey or lacrosse in college but she has received interest from colleges in both sports.

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#PrepTalkAwards info

What: The second annual Prep Talk Awards, presented by UBMD Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine and sponsored by Valu Home Centers -- our version of Oscar Night for WNY high school sports.

When: Monday, June 15, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Hyatt Regency Buffalo Hotel and Conference Center.

Headliners (other than the athletes): 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.

PrepTalkTV interview with Steve Tasker: Watch the interview with Tasker here 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.

Reservations and tickets:

Who's invited: 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).

What's the night like? Here's a look back at last year's awards via Twitter.

Special Prep Talk Awards section: Published Wednesday, June 17. Here's an online look back at last year's special section.

Who will be the 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.

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).

Girls hockey: Maddi Welch, Nichols (June 2).

Boys hockey: Carson Gicewicz, Nichols (June 2).

Wrestling: Kellen Devlin, Amherst (June 3).

Boys swimming: Matt Marsh, Jamestown (June 3).

Field hockey: McKenna Rushford, Amherst (June 4).

More winners coming soon.

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