The #PrepTalkCountdown concludes with this post, and tonight is the big night.
We have unveiled the Prep Talk Players of the Year (36 honorees) in our countdown to tonight's Prep Talk Awards, presented by UBMD Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. See the complete countdown list at the bottom of this post.
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This year we added an award: Prep Talk Program of the Year.
Which school deserves that title for the success of their athletic program across the board?
Here are the five finalists. Our choice will be announced tonight. Vote for your pick in the poll below.
Canisius Crusaders (Jim Mauro athletic director): Highlights -- Football Catholic state championship (and No. 1 ranking in final Class AA poll), basketball state Federation championship, boys hockey state Catholic championship, rowing three state championships, boys volleyball Monsignor Martin championship, boys lacrosse Monsignor Martin championship.
Jamestown Red Raiders (Ben Drake athletic director): Highlights -- Football state public school championship and Connolly Cup winner, boys basketball third straight Section VI championship and Player of the Year, girls basketball third straight Section VI championship and Player of the Year.
Orchard Park Quakers (Dave Hack athletic director): Highlights -- Softball state championship, boys soccer Section VI championship, baseball Section VI championship, boys lacrosse Section VI championship, field hockey Section VI championship, football Section VI runner-up.
Randolph Cardinals (Jason Halpainy athletic director): Highlights -- Third straight football state championship (first Section VI team to do so), girls basketball Section VI championship, boys basketball Section VI runner-up, girls volleyball Section VI semifinalist (losing to eventual state champion Portville).
Williamsville South Billies (Kevin Lester athletic director): Highlights -- Girls basketball state public school championship, girls volleyball state public school championship, boys basketball Section VI championship, boys soccer Section VI championship, girls bowling Section VI championship.
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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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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): Canisius, Jamestown, Orchard Park, Randolph and Williamsville South.
2nd annual #PrepTalkAwards: Tonight -- 5:30 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Buffalo Hotel and Conference Center.