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Owen O'Brien


Colleges

It starts with a simple “Can I help you?” at 9 a.m. on a Thursday morning.Mike Rappl, adorned in a Canisius Nike polo, makes his way down the stairs at Koessler Athletic Center toward the new Canisius Hall of Fame section, which he helped design. He makes sure the interactive touch screens have turned on at 9 a.m., just like they are supposed to. For Rappl, he’s home. The …

“The Buffalo defense can’t hold a defense to under 30 points.”“The Buffalo defense can’t force turnovers.”“The Buffalo defense can’t win unless the offense scores 40 points.”The Buffalo defense can’t stand hearing this any longer.Senior linebacker Okezie Alozie represented the Buffalo Bulls at Media Day this summer. Junior cornerback Boise Ross said media members didn’t ha…

Bandits

John Tavares looked like a man at peace as he announced his retirement from the Buffalo Bandits and National Lacrosse League after 24 seasons in the First Niagara Center on Wednesday morning.As about 30 fans, Tavares’ family and teammates waited to hear from the lacrosse legend, the emotions building in the room became apparent. It was a chance to honor one of the greatest…

Sports

Winning in basketball never gets old for Jamestown’s Maceo Wofford, but it doesn’t begin to compare with what he’s done off the court.Wofford was the standout member of “Team Jock Shop,” scoring eight of the team’s 18 points in its 18-13 victory over “Buffalo’s Very Own” in the top men’s championship of the 24th Gus Macker basketball tournament on Sunday in Grand Island. T…

Colleges

The phrase “family over everything” is more than just 20 characters that look nice in a tweet or following a hashtag on Instagram for the Licata family. § When a sister runs up a Hamburg bleacher to yell at a father participating in a chant against her younger brother, or a brother flies back early from a Cancun vacation to see a younger sister play in a state semifinal…

Colleges

A beloved member of the Licata extended family will be missing at UB Stadium this season.Dana Warman lived near the Licata family cottage in Crystal Beach, Ont., and was good friends with Joe Licata’s paternal grandfather. Joe’s grandfather died when Joe was 3, and ever since Warman was just as close as any blood grandfather.Warman died in February and his obituary reads “…

Colleges

Buffalo State football is coming off its first eight-win season since 1998 and just its third winning season since the turn of the century.Naturally, the expectations have been raised around the Division III program. Players and coaches can point to last season’s 59-36 ECAC Southwest Bowl victory against Waynesburg as definite proof that the program is moving in the right …

Colleges

First-year Erie Community College head coach Scott Pilkey is very familiar with Western New York football.After coaching at Niagara Falls High School, moving on to an assistant role at ECC from 2000-05 and joining the University at Buffalo coaching staff as a recruiter in 2006, Pilkey is ready to take over as the main man at ECC.Pilkey hopes his knowledge of the local area…

The Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament has a new date and new location but the same old enthusiasm.When Gus Macker owner Scott McNeal announced in April that the annual tournament would be skipping Buffalo for the first time in 24 years, Grand Island’s Corey McGowan immediately went to the phone to see if he could change that.His calls were successful as the tournamen…

High Schools

2014 champions: Orchard Park (ECIC I), Hamburg (ECIC II), Depew (ECIC III), tie between Lockport and North Tonawanda (Niagara Frontier League). Top 2014 underclassmen: Fredonia’s Georgianna Gens finished second in the Section VI singles tournament as a sophomore last year while Clarence’s Nicole Kozinski was third as a sophomore. Both participated in singles events at las…

High Schools

2014 champions: Last year’s team champions were Williamsville North (Class A), Sweet Home (Class B), East Aurora (Class C), Maple Grove (Class D) and Immaculata (Monsignor Martin). East Aurora won the state championships and Maple Grove finished fourth in its class. Sophia Tasselmyer won the individual state championship for Class C and Hope Pietrocarlo finished fifth in C…

High Schools

2014 champions: Last year’s team champions were Williamsville North (Class A), Sweet Home (Class B), East Aurora (Class C), Barker (Class D) and St. Joe’s (Monsignor Martin). East Aurora won states, Barker finished second and Sweet Home finished third for their respective classes. Vasbinder (Class C) and Odell (Class D) won Section VI championships as underclassmen last ye…

High Schools

2014 champions: Clarence and Orchard Park finished Nos. 1-2, respectively, in both the ECIC and Section VI championships. East Aurora won for the small schools at the ECIC finals and finished fourth at the Section VI Championships. Nardin won the All-Catholic Championship by more than 100 points over second-place Sacred Heart. Orchard Park got the better of Clarence at sta…

Kim Kaul needed a perfect shot if she was going to win the Women’s BDGA golf championship on the second playoff hole. A near perfect shot likely would have kept the event going to a third playoff hole, but that’s only if she sank her putt afterward.Kathy Hooper chipped to within a few feet of the hole right before Kaul’s fourth shot on the par-5. All Hooper had to do was t…

High Schools

2014 champions: Lancaster edged out Williamsville South, 110.5-108.725, in the 2014 sectionals to win the Division I championship. Hamburg and Frontier finished with 103.625 and 103.250, respectively. Now-graduated Courtney Bondanza won the all-around, beam and bars to lead Lancaster. Also graduated Rachel Filipski won the vault for Lancaster, and junior teammate Mackenzie…