For the second straight Monday, Larson Sundown was honored as the best in Western New York boys lacrosse.
Two Mondays ago, he was named the Prep Talk Player of the Year at the Prep Talk Awards at the Hyatt in downtown Buffalo. This week, he was awarded the Tom Borrelli Memorial Award as the top senior lacrosse player in Western New York at the Borrelli Awards at Ilio DiPaolo’s in Blasdell.
One look at his eye-popping resume and it’s easy to see why. Reading the numbers is overwhelming. Just imagine what it was like trying to defend him.
The high-scoring attackman of Akron’s high-scoring attack filled up the record book as he helped lead the Tigers to their second straight Section VI Class C championship and a season in which they were one of the best teams in all of Western New York.
Sundown is the second-most prolific scorer in state history with 641 points (behind 2013 Silver Creek graduate and Borrelli Award winner Zed Williams) and the state’s all-time leader in assists (308) after a senior season in which he set the state’s single-season record for points with 202.
Sundown is fourth on the state’s all-time goals list with 333. His 114 goals this season were second in state history to the 129 of 2014 Bishop Timon-St. Jude graduate Connor Fields (a current All-American at Albany who was last year’s Prep Talk Player of the Year).
Sundown also headlines this year’s All-Western New York team, which was selected by The Buffalo News, the Community Papers of Western New York and Lacrosse Digest of Western New York.
Borrelli Awards banquet
Monday’s Borrelli Awards marked an inaugural collaborative effort by the Tom Borrelli Memorial Award Committee, the Community Papers of Western New York, Lacrosse Digest of Western New York and The Buffalo News to hold one special night for Western New York high school lacrosse.
This year marked the seventh year of the boys’ Borrelli Award, named in honor of the late Buffalo News editor and reporter who was the first media member inducted into the National Lacrosse League’s Hall of Fame, but it was the first time that the groups joined together for one event celebrating the Western New York high school lacrosse community. Last year, CPOWNY, led by managing editor Matt Ondesko, hosted its fifth annual event while the Borrelli transitioned from a golf tournament to a banquet format.
George Borrelli, Tom’s father, addressed the gathering of more than 140 while Tom’s widow, Karen Borrelli, helped present the awards to the honorees as well as the winners of the “Ox” Awards, which go to seniors who display the talent, versatility, hard work, dedication and toughness displayed by Borrelli — whose nickname was “Ox” — in his work at The Buffalo News.
The winner of the boys “Ox” Award was Dom Perna of St. Joe’s. Coach Peter Hudecki described him as “the hardest-working player on the field.” Perna was a clutch faceoff winner who could score big goals – notably three to help beat Timon in the teams’ second meeting. The Mercyhurst signee was also the senior all-star game MVP.
A new honor presented Monday by the Borrelli Memorial committee, in recognition of individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to local lacrosse, was the Ed Van Tine Memorial Award, named for the former coach at Canisius College, Buffalo State, St. Francis and Hamburg. The inaugural winner was 17-year Canisius College coach Randy Mearns, who played for Van Tine with the Golden Griffins.
Other boys honorees Monday night included the All-Western New York first team and the following CPOWNY honorees: Myles Young of St. Joe’s (Player of the Year), Will Smith of Canisius (Unsung Hero), Josh Plarr of Eden (Most Improved), Peter Hudecki of St. Joe’s (Coach of the Year) and Peter Masters of St. Joe’s (Doug Matteson Courage Award). See photos from Monday evening’s event at BuffaloNews.com.
Around the cages
• There are four Division I players among the first team, including a pair headed to Hobart on the defensive side: Bishop Timon-St. Jude goalie Tristan Dougherty and defenseman Tyler Skretny of West Seneca East. Jack Seminara of Canisius will play at Boston University while Chaunce Hill of Akron is off to Albany.
• Two-time first-teamer Hill, who has a 3.7 GPA, was awarded the Tewaaraton Scholarship, which goes to a player of Iroquois/Haudenosaunee heritage who “exemplifies high character, leadership & academics both on and off the lacrosse field.”
• Four first-teamers either are headed to, or are verbally committed to Division II power Mercyhurst, which has had several local standouts involved in its recent success. Two more seniors heading to play for the Lakers are Perna and Kyle Martinsen of Williamsville East.
• Josh Slowinski leaves Clarence with his name all over the record book. His 18 school records are not only impressive, but diverse: Game – goals (8), points (13), shots (22), ground balls (30), faceoff wins (33); season – goals (75), points (108), shots (217), ground balls (235), faceoff wins (249), faceoff pct. (72); career – goals (164), assists (83), points (247), shots (497), ground balls (591), faceoff wins (591) and faceoff pct. (67).
• On the girls side, the Borrelli Award and the Prep Talk Player of the Year award also both went to the same player: Lancaster all-time leading goal scorer Grace Gabriel. The girls All-Western New York team will be published Thursday.