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Redd's transfer from Penn State puts added focus on St. Francis grad Akeel Lynch

Today's transfer by running back Silas Redd from Penn State to Southern California has put added focus on St. Francis grad Akeel Lynch. 

Lynch, an incoming freshman at Penn State, is considering a transfer to Iowa according to multiple internet reports, including espn.com. In late January, following his outstanding senior season for the Red Raiders, Lynch chose Penn State from among a final field that included Iowa, Ole Miss and Oklahoma.

Lynch is one of many Penn State players considering a transfer after the major NCAA penalties Penn State's program received following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Canisius grad John Urschel, a lineman entering his senior season, confirmed last week he would be staying at Penn State.

With Redd's departure, Penn State fans are wondering who will be the Nittany Lions' running back, thus the more intense interest in Lynch's situation. Penn State opens training camp on Monday.

A sampling of today's Lynch chatter on Twitter: 

‏* @TimTolleyVBR of victorybellrings.com: "Akeel Lynch now becomes crucial. Was told by a teammate "His athleticism is unmatched. Same with his work ethic." "

The York Daily Record -- ‏@YDRPennState -- had these two:

* "So #PennState tailback depth down to a former receiver (Bill Belton), a true freshman (Akeel Lynch) and a forgotten junior (Curtis Dukes)."

* "Have to think (hope, pray) freshman Akeel Lynch and junior Curtis Dukes stick at #PennState with Silas Redd gone. #InDireNeedOfATailback"

* Penn State fans held a rally this morning as players headed to a workout. The founder of the web site fightonstate.com, Mark Brennan (@PlaybookMark), tweeted that Lynch was in attendance at that workout/rally.

My only recent communication with Lynch was of the online variety and it went like this: I inquired about his situation, he said he'd let me know.

I can only imagine how difficult a decision this is for Lynch. I wrote in late January that Lynch had the right kind of character to be part of an unprecedented rebuilding program at Penn State; and anyone who follows his Twitter page can see what I was writing about. However, the penalties are severe and no one could blame a player in his situation for transferring. 

* * * 

Lynch stuff from the News archives: 

* My story (and video interview with Lynch) on his signing with Penn State. 

* My blog from that day, featuring several links including a highlight video.

* * * 

UPDATE (8/1): Lynch told rivals.com that he will announcing his decision on Sunday.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Schintzius not returning to coaching

Hold your coaching-carousel horses, McShea.

I certainly thought he would be a great fit at St. Mary's -- but Paul Schintzius is not seeking a boys basketball coaching job. 

In today's Prep Talk column, I theorized that Schintzius would be a near-perfect replacement for the Lancers' program, where athletic director/coach Dan Gill is leaving for the University School in Florida. 

But Schintzius, who was a highly successful coach in 11 years at Sweet Home, is not getting back into the coaching ranks. In a voice mail today, he told me that he and his wife have learned that they are expecting twin girls later this year and -- while he would like to return to coaching some day -- he has understandably put any return to the sidelines on hold. 

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Dan Gill leaving St. Mary's for Florida school

Dan Gill, who has been the athletic director at St. Mary's for the last five years and basketball coach for the last four, is leaving the private school located in his hometown of Lancaster for an administrative position with the University School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Gill will be an associate athletic director at the school, which is an extension of Nova Southeastern University (thus the "University" name of the high school).

Gill said he has discussed coaching with the University School and that it is a possibility for the upcoming basketball season; however, he said right now he be only joining the University School on the administrative side as he gets familiar with the program.

Regardless of when is able to coach, the move is a great one for Gill, 29, who has aspirations of coaching in NCAA Division I basketball. While a student at Ohio State, he was a student assistant for Jim O'Brien's coaching staff. 

The Fort Lauderdale area is one of the most fertile for high school sports, and the University School is -- like many in the Sunshine State -- loaded with top-notch facilities and its programs are built around year-round training.

Leading St. Mary's boys basketball program, Gill helped the Lancers to great success. He had a record of 72-39 over four years while playing some of the best programs in Western New York as part of the Monsignor Martin Association, while he also put together one of the area's tougher nonleague schedules.

St. Mary's notched wins over St. Joe's, Canisius and Bishop Timon-St. Jude throughout his tenure. The Lancers were the Monsignor Martin Association's Class B state Catholic playoff representative all four of Gill's years, which included a trip to the state Federation championship game in Gill's first season, 2008-09.

In that first season, Gill's team went 17-11 -- one year after the Lancers were 3-20 -- and finished fifth in The News small school poll. In 2009-10, the Lancers went 18-10 and were No. 4; in 2010-11, St. Mary's went 17-10 and were No. 5. 

This past year, St. Mary's beat St. Joe's in the Monsignor Martin's Manhattan Cup semifinals to advance to the school's first-ever Manhattan Cup championship. The Lancers went 20-8 and finished third in the small school poll (they were second on my ballot).  

I'll have more on Gill's move and how it will affect St. Mary's in a Prep Talk column in Friday's paper.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

High School Summer Notebook: Lash takes a bow

Wilson softball-niagara Niagara Wilson softball  scull_002Of all the road trips Larry Lash has made in his softball coaching career the one he took this summer will resonate with him the rest of his life. The retired Wilson coach recently drove to Herkimer where he was inducted into the inaugural New York State Softball Hall of Fame. He was accompanied by family and friends, including his children, Lindsay Lash-Bridenbaker and Brad Lash, who introduced him. Lash was the first and only inductee from Section VI among the Class of 16.

Lash started coaching high school softball at Wilson in 1975, the first year of interscholastic softball for girls in Section VI. He played a significant role in the growth and promotion of the sport from its beginning. “I have been coaching the game of softball for 38 years. Clearly the game grabbed an early hold on me and is still tugging,” he said. “There have been some incredible highs and lows, and the game has taught me to accept them with grace and class. Softball has taught me that the greatest things in life aren’t things. The greatest things are the way my family supported me, and the coaches and players who surrounded me, challenged me, and made me a better coach.”

Lash said one of his fondest memories is the sights and sounds of the Wilson fire truck escorting his team into town at 1 a.m. after winning the 1986 State Championship in Binghamton. “The streets were lined and the parking lot was full. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look of pride, realization and excitement in the eyes of my players,” he said.

Lash retired from Wilson in 2008 after 33 seasons. He spent three seasons in North Tonawanda, the last two as head coach. His overall record of 462-262 includes 330-116 in the Niagara-Orleans League. Under Lash, the Lakewomen won the 1986 Class C state title, were runners up in 1987 and a final four team in 2001. Wilson won six Section VI titles and nine N-O crowns. In May of 2008 the softball field was named in his honor. In September of 2011, he was inducted into the Wilson Hall of Fame.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Two Western New York players are taking their games to the beach. Alex Brown, 16, who will be a senior at Grand Island and Lainy Pierce, 15, an incoming junior at Eden, are headed to Milwaukee for the Junior National Beach Volleyball Championships on July 28-29. With Brown’s height and athletic ability at the net and Pierce’s defensive game, and hard to return serve, this duo has a chance to place high nationally in the 18-under division.

LACROSSE: Spring Sanders and Julia DiTondo of Nichols and Brendan Barren of Wets Seneca, Joshua Babcock and maximus Maxwell of Hamburg will represent Western New York this week at the Champion All-American Showcase, a US Lacrosse event. They are among 200 of the nation’s premier players who will play in showcase games as part of the ESPNHS Games in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The girls championship will stream live at 1 p.m. on Tuesday on ESPN3 while the boys championship game will be played at 1 p.m. on Friday and aired on ESPNU at 7 that evening.

Sanders of Nichols will play for Team Liberty while DiTondo, also of Nichols, will play for Team Pride. The girls showcase features a four-team round-robin among a field of 84 players from 30 states. Teams will compete in three pool-play games before championship and consolation games are played July 24, which will stream live at 1 p.m. on ESPN3.

Barren is on Team Freedom, Babcock on Team Liberty and Maximus Maxwell on Team Pride in round-robin format with the championship game scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday and slated to air on ESPNU later that evening at 7.

FOOTBALL: Canisius High School has announced that offensive lineman Ryan Hunter has verbally committed to Bowling Green of the Mid-American Conference. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Hunter will be a senior in the fall for the Crusaders.

BASEBALL: Pitcher Blair Lakso of Frontier has signed a national letter of intent with St. Bonaventure. Lakso batted nearly .500 from the No. 3 spot in the lineup and hit 90 miles per hour on the radar gun from the mound. The Falcons finished with 12-9 record, which ended in a 7-3 loss to eventual Section VI champion Lancaster in te sectional quarterfinals.

Lakso will follow in the footsteps of his father, Bruce Lakso, former football coach at Lackawanna and a St. Bonaventure alumnus. Blair said its always been a dream of his to play an NCAA Division I sport. He described the campus as beautiful and was encouraged by the direction the baseball program is going. He’ll play first base and pitch for the Bonnies.

GOLF: The Lancaster Elks/Trench Trophy Charity Golf Tournament is Aug. 4 and Kis-N-Greens Golf Course on North Road in Alden. Donation is $75 per golfer and includes golf, cart, lunch, dinner, prizes and a Chinese auction. The format is a four-person best ball scramble with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. To register call Carl Kuras at 698-1893 or email: carlkuras@yahoo.com.

SOCCER: A boys youth and modified school prep soccer camp will be held from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 30-Aug. 3 at the EMW Soccer Development Club, 7100 Seneca St., Elma. The camp is targeted for boys of ages 11-14, either trying out for their junior high school or high school modified or JV team in the fall, and others wanting to sharpen their skills going into fall tryouts. Cost is $95. Call Jim Dickinson at 955-0847. … Registrations are being accepted for the Fall Soccer league. Camp will take place Aug. 25 at Niagara Falls High school and will be a 4 vs. 4 development camp. Visit www.niagara-soccer.org or call 283-7715 for more information.

--- Mary Jo Monnin

Fourth Tom Borrelli Memorial Golf Tournament is July 30

The fourth Tom Borrelli Memorial Award Golf Tournament will feature the presentation of new awards and scholarships for the second straight year.

The Borrelli Award will be presented to the top senior boys player and top senior girls player in Western New York (the girls award was added last year).

This year, the "Ox" Awards will be added -- again, one to a boy player and one to a girl player. The "Ox" Awards will go to a player that displays the talent, versatility, hard work, dedication and toughness displayed by Tom Borrelli in his work as a reporter and editor at The Buffalo News.

The awards are our way of honoring our late coworker and friend Tom Borrelli, who was a fan of all high school sports, particularly lacrosse. .

Our yearly major fundraiser for the Borrelli Scholarship Fund will be held Monday, July 30 when we host the fourth annual Tom Borrelli Memorial Award Golf Tournament at Holland Hills. 

The first three events have been a big hit and a great time. We're looking forward to seeing many familiar faces.

To reserve a spot, email Bob Dicesare at bdicesare@buffnews.com as soon as possible. Spots are filling up, so act fast.

Here are the details:

It is a 10 a.m. shotgun scramble. The cost is $100 per golfer. Price includes golf, cart, lunch at the turn, dinner, one-hour open bar and another chance to hear several News reporters lie about how well they played. There will be prizes, auctions, raffles and drawings. Golfers who want to play with News staffers can do so at a higher cost. There is limited space for dinner-only guests at a cost of $25.

To register, mail a check payable to the Tom Borrelli Memorial Award and Scholarship Fund, along with the names of golfers, dinner guests and a phone number to: Tom Borrelli Memorial Award, c/o Sports Department, The Buffalo News, Box 100, One News Plaza, Buffalo, 14240.

** Can't play but still like to donate? Send contributions directly to: Tom Borrelli Memorial Award, c/o Community Fundation for Greater Buffalo, 712 Main St., Buffalo, 14202-1720

**We are also seeking donations from local businesses -- items which can be auctioned off or which can be given out as prizes (such as gift certificates). Businesses interested in donating can contact me at kmcshea@buffnews.com and Bob Dicesare at bdicesare@buffnews.com. We have a tax identification number we will provide to donors.

Thanks very much for any generous donations and please spread the word.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Our bad (chest tap): publication of spring All-WNY teams delayed

Due to a computer transition we're going through, the All-Western New York pages for boys lacrosse, baseball and softball have been delayed.

Our utmost apologies. We are hoping that boys lacrosse will run next week with baseball and softball shortly thereafter. Girls lacrosse was published just before a massive overhaul of our computer system.

Stay tuned. We will let you know exact dates the All-WNY teams will run as soon as we know them. The pages include not only the All-WNY teams but all the all-league teams and a wrapup story on the season along with other details.

Again, our apologies. This is not the way we want to do things but major technical issues are holding things up. Thanks for your patience. It is greatly appreciated. 

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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