This year marks the ninth edition of the Borrelli Award, an honor that goes to the top senior boys and girls lacrosse players in Western New York.
It marks the fourth year that we will hold a banquet to honor all of the best in Western New York lacrosse: The Borrelli Awards presented by the Buffalo Bandits.
The event will be held Monday, June 26 at Ilio DiPaolo's in Blasdell.
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 26 banquet will showcase the Borrelli winners, the winners of the "Ox" Awards and the All-Western New York boys and girls lacrosse teams.
This year will mark the third Ed Van Tine Memorial Award, presented by the Borrelli Memorial committee to individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to local lacrosse. The inaugural winner was longtime Canisius College men's lacrosse coach Randy Mearns, last year longtime Nichols School coach and women's game contributor Beth Stone was honored.
The banquet starts 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 22 by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Players who have been named to the All-Western New York teams and earned invitations to the banquet will be notified soon.
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 Deputy Sports Editor 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) and Evan Hollfelder, Hamburg (2016).
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) and McKenna Rushford, Amherst (2016).
The “Ox” winners have been Nathan Gowen, Amherst (2012), Max Maxwell, Hamburg (2013), Brandon Donohue, Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2014), Dom Perna, St. Joe's (2015) and Carter Stefaniak, St. Joe's (2016) on the boys side.
The girls "Ox" winners have been Amanda Obenshain, Hamburg (2012); twins Grace and Hannah Christiansen, Frontier (2013); Rachel Heidenreich, Lancaster (2014); Kayden Maclay, Williamsville East (2015) and Riley Luccarelli, Lancaster (2016).
To become a supporting sponsor of the Borrelli Awards banquet, or to contribute to the Borrelli Scholarship Fund, contact Bob DiCesare at email@example.com.