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Which school will be named the Prep Talk Program of the Year?

Today we will unveil the five finalists for two major honors that will be handed out at the Prep Talk Awards on June 14.

First, the five finalists will be unveiled for the Prep Talk Program of the Year, which will go to the best overall athletic program for the 2016-17 school year.

Later, the five finalists for the Prep Talk Coach of the Year award will be announced.

All finalists are invited to the Prep Talk Awards, and the winner will be announced at the event.

Here we go:


(in alphabetical order)

Canisius bench players celebrate a basket against St. Francis during the second half their Class A Manhattan Cup Championship victory. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Canisius - Athletic director James Mauro  

Highlights: State championship and No. 1 ranking in News Large School poll in football; lost in state championship in soccer; MMHSAA playoff titles in volleyball and swimming; league championship in tennis; Manhattan Cup champion in basketball; top seed in Georgetown Cup playoffs in baseball.

Clarence baseball coach Dave Smith presents the championship plaque to Jared Shalke after the Red Devils' victory. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Clarence - Athletic director Greg Kaszubski

Highlights: Won Section VI titles in girls soccer, boys soccer, boys volleyball, girls volleyball, girls basketball, wrestling and baseball. The girls soccer team lost in the state semifinals. The football team won the Class AA North Division title.

Lancaster football coach Eric Rupp celebrates after defeating Orchard Park for the 2016 Section VI Class AA championship. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Lancaster - Athletic director Brian Wild

Highlights: Section VI championship in football; lost Section VI final in boys basketball; softball and baseball teams were outstanding until losing in sectional semifinals, girls and boys lacrosse along with boys soccer and girls volleyball were in sectional finals; hockey lost in sectional final in overtime.

The St. Mary's bench cheers at the end of the fifth inning of the Georgetown Cup championship series. (James P. McCoy / Buffalo News)

St. Mary's - Athletic director Brittany Heist

Highlights: Girls state volleyball champion, Manhattan Cup Class B boys basketball champion, Msgr. Martin HSAA softball champions; finalist in Georgetown Cup baseball competition.

Williamsville East players Brianna Bucello, Jessica Weaver and Samantha Crane celebrate their Section VI championship victory. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Williamsville East - Athletic director Mark DiFillipo

Highlights: Section VI champions in girls volleyball reached the state final four; Section VI champions in softball reached the state championship game; Section VI runner-up in girls soccer, Section VI runner-up in baseball.

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#PrepTalkAwards info

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

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

* * *

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 (June 3)

Rifle: Kiersten Mucha, Lancaster (June 3)

Girls swimming: Olivia Sapio, Orchard Park (June 4)

Boys swimming: Seth Farrand, Olean (June 4)

Girls hockey: Katy Knoll, Nichols (June 5)

Boys hockey: Cole Donhauser, Nichols (June 5)

Girls indoor track: Jenna Crean, Orchard Park (June 6)

Boys indoor track: Treston White, Lockport (June 6)

Girls bowling: Britney Grey, Cattaraugus/Little Valley (June 7)

Boys bowling: Nate Maloney, Niagara Wheatfield (June 7)

Program of the Year finalists: Announced June 8

Coach of the Year finalists: Coming later today

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.

Former Buffalo Bill Fred Jackson the guest speaker for fourth annual Prep Talk Awards


Correction: One of the finalists for Prep Talk Program of the Year was incorrectly listed in an earlier version of this story. 

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