Even as an eighth-grader on a first-time Section VI championship lacrosse program, Owen Hill was noticeable.
He wasn't the straw that stirred the drink on that historic Akron team. That honor belonged to seniors Larson Sundown and Chaunce Hill, Owen's brother. Yet the younger Hill's contributions were hard to ignore.
Hill quickly jumped from contributor to the man for an Akron program that now is considered an area powerhouse. Along the way, he garnered All-Western New York, All-American and Prep Talk Awards Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year honors.
Hill, a three-time All-Western New York selection, captured the one honor missing from his collection of awards June 25 when he was named the 10th recipient of the Borrelli Award as top senior boys lacrosse player in Western New York.
The Borrelli Award honors late Buffalo News Sports Reporter and National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame member Tom Borrelli. Borrelli, a passionate follower of lacrosse at all levels, died in November 2008 following a tragic fall while covering a high school football game at All High Stadium.
Past winners of the Borrelli Award include Jack Lalley, Jeff Tundo, Zed Williams, Adam DiMillo and Sundown.
Hill, who will move to junior college national power Onondaga Community College, is the second Akron player to win the Borrelli Award. Sundown was the 2015 recipient.
"It's just a tremendous honor," Hill said. "A lot of greats walk through these doors. I couldn't have done it without my mother and father and my two coaches, TD Jonathan and Gary Sundown."
Hill finished his senior season with 49 goals and 76 assists. He also collected 204 ground balls in helping the Tigers win their fifth consecutive Section VI title.
The first title remains special to Hill. "That was the starter for us," he said.
Perhaps the signature moment for Hill, who shares the state record for assists in a game (11), remains his buzzer-beating goal that forced overtime in the 2017 Far West Regional game. He capped that by setting up fellow All-Western New York first-teamer Nelson Logan for the game-winner in overtime to lead Akron to its first state semifinal.
"That was crazy game, definitely one for the books," Hill said. "That was something special."
As are Hill's skills.
He finished ranked sixth in career points (517) in state history, with his 286 career assists ranked eighth.
"It's been an incredible journey to watch Owen grow as a student-athlete in his five years of lacrosse play," Gary Sundown said. "His drive and determination to succeed resonate throughout our program and our youth boys lacrosse players. … He loves the game. He respects the game and honors it every time he steps on the field."
Goss wins Ox Award
CJ Goss of St. Joe's is this year's Ox Award recipient.
The Ox Award goes to seniors who display the talent, versatility, hard work and dedication displayed by Borrelli, whose nickname was "Ox," in his work as a reporter and editor at The News.
Goss lived up to that billing as he's perhaps the most versatile and tenacious defender in coach Peter Hudecki's lineup. Goss flip-flopped from long-stick midfield and defense positions. Regardless of where he lined up, Goss made it difficult for opponents to score.
Far West Regional: Class A – Lancaster. Class C – West Seneca East.
Section VI: Class A – Lancaster. Class B – Hamburg. Class C – West Seneca East. Class D – Akron.
Monsignor Martin: St. Joe's.