The #PrepTalkCountdown continues.
We are unveiling the Prep Talk Players of the Year (more than 35 total honorees) as we count down to the Prep Talk Awards on June 14 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.
#PrepTalkResume: The only Western New York wrestler to win the state championship this year. Laith took the title at 285 pounds.
Statistics 101: Champions win the close ones, and Laith won the title match at states by a 3-2 score over Jacob Morrison (Unatego). Aisous was undefeated in the competiton.
Favorite moment in high school competition: The feeling after getting my hand raised in the finals at the NYS championships
Favorite high school teammate: Craig Pellow. He lightened the mood and always made me laugh.
Toughest high school opponent (team): Niagara Wheatfield always gave our team a good challenge
Toughest high school opponent (individual): Billy Bolia of Fairport
Role model: My mom
Pro/college athlete I look up to: Muhammad Ali
I wouldn't be here without these people: "My mom and my sister Hannine. They had my back even when the going was tough.
When I'm not playing or practicing my sport, I'm ... : Playing basketball at the local park
Favorite academic subject: Accounting
Planned college major: Pre-law
Future plans: Campbell University (N.C.), received a partial scholarship for wrestling
* * *
What: The fourth annual Prep Talk Awards – our version of Oscar Night for WNY high school sports.
When: Wednesday, June 14, 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 former Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson will be the guest speaker. News Deputy Sports Editor Keith McShea is your host.
Reservations and tickets: Contact Megan Termini at 716-849-5551 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. There will also be 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 video wrapuup of the 2016 awards. Check out a photo gallery of the 2016 Prep Talk Awards winners as well as a Smiles photo gallery from last year's event. Here's a look back the 2016 Prep Talk Players of the Year, finalists for other Prep Talk Awards and the night's big winners.
Special Prep Talk Awards section in The Buffalo News: Published Saturday, June 17.
Who will be the Prep Talk Team of the Year? Miguel Rodriguez's final Power 10 of the fall determined our choices of the top teams from the first season of the school year. Rodriguez's final Power 10 of the winter listed our choices from 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.
* * *
Prep Talk Players of the Year
Girls soccer: Marissa Birzon, Williamsville East (announced May 30)
Boys soccer: Pa Lu, I-Prep (May 30)
Girls cross country: Danielle Orie, Nardin (May 31)
Boys cross country: Christopher Nowak, Sweet Home (May 31)
Girls volleyball: Samantha Burgio, Eden (June 1)
Boys volleyball: Henry Payne, Clarence (June 1)
Field hockey: Abby Ferenczy, Williamsville South (June 2)
Girls gymnastics: Zoe Kyriakopoulos, Williamsville North (June 2)
Wrestling: Laith Alsous, Lew-Port
Rifle: Coming soon
Girls swimming: Coming soon
Boys swimming: Coming soon
Girls indoor track: Coming soon
Boys indoor track: Coming soon
Girls hockey: Coming soon
Boys hockey: Coming soon
Girls bowling: Coming soon
Boys bowling: Coming soon
Program of the Year finalists: Coming soon
Coach of the Year finalists: Coming soon
Girls squash: Coming soon
Boys squash: Coming soon
Girls tennis: Coming soon
Boys tennis: Coming soon
Girls rowing: Coming soon
Boys rowing: Coming soon
Softball: Coming soon
Baseball: Coming soon
Girls rugby: Coming soon
Boys rugby: Coming soon
Girls lacrosse: Coming soon
Boys lacrosse: Coming soon
Girls golf: Coming soon
Boys golf: Coming soon
Girls track and field: Coming soon
Boys track and field: Coming soon
Girls three-sport athlete: Coming soon
Boys three-sport athlete: Coming soon
Fourth annual #PrepTalkAwards: Wednesday, June 14 – 5:30 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Buffalo Hotel and Conference Center.