The #PrepTalkCountdown continues, with just ONE day until the big night.
We are unveiling the Prep Talk Players of the Year (this is the 36th of 36 honorees) as we count down to the Prep Talk Awards, presented by UBMD Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, on Monday at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. See the complete countdown list at the bottom of this post.
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School: Orchard Park
#PrepTalkResume: Was a big-time pitcher and big-time hitter to help lead a talented Quakers team to the Section VI Class AA title and a trip to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association final four.
Statistics 101: Amongst a field of very talented candidates, Sipowicz was the one who best combined excellence at the plate and on the mound. He was OP's No. 1 pitcher and their No. 4 batter, and hit over .500 all year for the consensus top team in Western New York. In the Far West Regional against McQuaid, he pitching a perfect seventh inning in relief to get the win -- after he plating the winning run on a walk-off error. It sent OP to the final four for the first time since 1988.
Favorite moment in H.S. competition: "Winning the Far West Regional against McQuaid."
Favorite teammate: Brandon Nicholson.
Toughest opponent (team): Lancaster.
Toughest opponent (individual): Joe Preziuso (Lancaster).
Role model: My father.
Pro/college athlete I look up to: Mariano Rivera.
I wouldn't be Prep Talk Player of the Year without ... "my parents, coach Gibson, coach Woodrich, coach Mac and all of my teammates."
When I'm not playing or practicing my sport, I'm ... "working out, hanging out with friends or watching some sports event on TV."
What's ahead: Like this year's softball honoree, Sipowicz will play for Canisius College next year.
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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: Contact Lisa Cislo as soon as possible at 849-5522 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Info: buffalonews.com/preptalkawards.
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 email@example.com.
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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).
Girls indoor track: McKyla Brooks, Frontier (June 5).
Boys indoor track: Mitch Daddario, Sweet Home (June 5).
Girls tennis: Haley Hollins, Orchard Park (June 6).
Boys tennis: Jack McClaren, East Aurora (June 6).
Girls golf: Chelsea Dantonio, Lancaster (June 7).
Boys golf: Gregory Sibick, Nichols (June 8).
Football: #PrepTalkFlashback to Buffalo News Player of the Year TJ Wheatley and the All-WNY first team (June 9).
Boys and girls basketball: #PrepTalkFlashback to Buffalo News Players of the Year Zack Panebianco and Chrisanna Green and the All-WNY first teams (June 10).
Girls lacrosse: Grace Gabriel, Lancaster (June 11).
Coach of the Year finalists (five finalists): Kyle Husband (Canisius boys basketball), Rich Robbins (Canisius football), Walt McLaughlin (East Aurora cross country), Stephen Pierce (Eden girls volleyball), Kristin Dolan (Williamsville South girls basketball) (June 11).
Boys lacrosse: Larson Sundown, Akron (June 11).
Girls three-sport athlete: Mckenna Maycock, Randolph (June 12).
Boys three-sport athlete: Sam Castronova, Williamsville South (June 12).
Girls gymnastics: Courtney Bondanza, Lancaster (June 13).
Boys gymnastics: Stephen Frost, Williamsville East (June 13).
Girls rowing: Lauren Murray, Nardin (June 13).
Boys rowing: Daniel Jordan, Canisius (June 13).
Girls track and field: McKyla Brooks, Frontier (June 14).
Boys track and field: Sam Wray, Starpoint (June 14).
Softball: Allison Block, Starpoint (June 14).
Baseball: Andrew Sipowicz, Orchard Park (June 14).
Program of the Year finalists (five finalists): Monday.
2nd annual #PrepTalkAwards: Monday -- 5:30 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Buffalo Hotel and Conference Center.