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Lacrosse's Borrelli Awards less than a week away

This year marks the eighth year of the Borrelli Award, an honor that goes to the top senior boys and girls lacrosse players in Western New York.

And it marks the third year that we will hold a banquet to honor the all of the best in Western New York lacrosse: The Borrelli Awards presented by the Buffalo Bandits, June 27 at Ilio DiPaolo's.

The Tom Borrelli Memorial Award and Scholarship Fund was started by a group of us at The News following the 2008 death of our colleague, a Hall of Fame lacrosse writer who loved the sport at all levels.

Through the years, we have expanded the breadth of the award with one goal in mind: To associate the name of Tom Borrelli with the best in Western New York high school lacrosse.

The June 27 banquet will showcase the Borrelli winners, the winners of the "Ox" Awards as well as the All-Western New York boys and girls lacrosse teams.

This year will mark the second Ed Van Tine Memorial Award, presented by the Borrelli Memorial committee to individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to local lacrosse. Last year's inaugural winner was longtime Canisius College men's lacrosse coach Randy Mearns.

The banquet will be held Monday, June 27 at Ilio DiPaolo’s starting at 6 p.m., and it will be supported not only by the Bandits but by Jaros & Jaros, ADPRO Sports and The Buffalo News. Tickets are $25. Reservations need to be made by Thursday, June 23 by emailing kmcshea@buffnews.com.

Players who have been named to the All-Western New York teams and earned invitations to the banquet have been or will be notified.

Borrelli, a St. Joe’s and Buffalo State graduate who covered the Buffalo Bandits since the team’s inception and was the first media member inducted into the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame, died in November 2008 following a tragic fall while covering a high school football game at All High Stadium.

For the first five years of the award, players were honored at the conclusion of a golf tournament warmly hosted by Holland Hills and organized by Borrelli committee chairman and fellow News reporter Bob DiCesare. The golf tournament was a major fundraiser for the Borrelli Scholarship Fund as we began with a boys award for the first two years before adding the girls honor in 2011.

In 2012, the “Ox” Awards were added, given to one senior boy and girl who possess the kind of talent, versatility, hard work, dedication and toughness displayed by Borrelli – whose nickname was “Ox” – in his 19-year career as a reporter and editor at The News.

Previous winners of the Borrelli Award among the boys have been Jeff Tundo, Orchard Park (2009); Chris Kane, Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2010); Brian Sullivan, Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2011); Josh Babcock, Hamburg (2012); Zed Williams, Silver Creek (2013); Adam DiMillo, Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2014); Larson Sundown, Akron (2015).

Girls winners have been Julia Suriani, West Seneca East (2011); Spring Sanders, Nichols (2012); Megan Mikolajek, Hamburg (2013); Allie Stewart, Lancaster (2014); Grace Gabriel, Lancaster (2015).

The “Ox” winners have been Nathan Gowen, Amherst (2012), Max Maxwell, Hamburg (2013), Brandon Donohue, Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2014) and Dom Perna, St. Joe's (2015) on the boys side and Amanda Obenshain, Hamburg (2012), twins Grace and Hannah Christiansen, Frontier (2013), Rachel Heidenreich, Lancaster (2014) and Kayden Maclay, Williamsville East (2015) for the girls.

To become a supporting sponsor of the Borrelli Awards banquet, or to contribute to the Borrelli Scholarship Fund, contact Bob DiCesare at bdicesare@buffnews.com.

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