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#PrepTalkAwards section, web-style: PrepTalkTV interviews, bios, photos & more

By Keith McShea

Today's 24-page Prep Talk Awards special section has great information and photos on all of Monday night's honorees, and we've got more coverage here. 

* There are PHOTO GALLERIES from:

-- Monday's event featuring winner's photos with Andre Reed (they can be purchased here)

-- as well as photo galleries including feature shots of the Prep Talk Players of the Year

-- and shots of our All-Western New York basketball and football teams.

* Here's our TWEET-by-TWEET post from Monday night, featuring tons of great tweets from those at the event. 

* The BIOs of the Prep Talk Players of the Year in the special section were taken from here on the blog. Our Countdown to #PrepTalkAwards profiled every Prep Talk Player of the Year in a day-by-day feature on the blog that started with Brandon Galanti of Frontier (Prep Talk Soccer Player of the Year) and concluded with McKyla Brooks of Frontier (Prep Talk Girls Three-Sport Player of the Year) -- the post on Brooks includes links to all the previous bios.

* Below are PrepTalkTV VIDEO interviews with nearly all of the Prep Talk Players of the Year (some from the winter), as well as videos featuring the All-Western New York basketball and football teams:

Continue reading "#PrepTalkAwards section, web-style: PrepTalkTV interviews, bios, photos & more" »

Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls cross country: Sophia Tasselmyer, Starpoint/EA

By Keith McShea

Sophia Tasselmyer photo courtesy of tullyrunners.com.No matter where she is running, you can look for Sophia Tasselmyer at the head of the pack. 

Tasselmyer, a sophomore who ran the cross country season for Starpoint before transferring to East Aurora, is the Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls cross country. 

Tasselmyer was the All-Western New York cross country girls Runner of the Year this fall. She was the Section VI Class B individual champion and the top Section VI girls finisher overall at the state championships. She was eighth (17:54.9) among the field of 472 at states, finishing second in Class B. She was fifth at states in Class B as a freshman.

A few weeks later, running with East Aurora's team, Tasselmyer finished fourth at the Nike New York Regional Championship to qualify for the Nike Nationals in Portland, Ore. She then earned All-American status by finishing 21st in the Championship Race with a career-best 17:59 over 3.1 miles. 

Running track for East Aurora this spring, she is currently holds the fastest times in the 1,500 (4:42.01) and 3,000 meters (10:05.24) heading into this weekend's Section VI championships. 

* * *

All Prep Talk Players of the Year will be honored at the inaugural Prep Talk Awards on June 16 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, featuring Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Reed and Janet Snyder of Kiss 98.5. The Prep Talk Awards will honor Prep Talk Players of the Year in more than 30 sports, along with the All-Western New York first teams in football and basketball. 

* * * 

Our Countdown to the Prep Talk Awards will feature a different Prep Talk Player of the Year each day until the big night.

The list thus far:

Continue reading "Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls cross country: Sophia Tasselmyer, Starpoint/EA" »

Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys cross country: T.J. Hornberger, Lake Shore

By Keith McShea

T.J. Hornberger (courtesy ny.milesplit.com)While all of our Prep Talk Players of the Year have impressive resumes, it is hard to find an athlete who has been as synonymous with success in his sport as T.J. Hornberger of Lake Shore

Hornberger, a senior who is headed to Syracuse University, is the Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys cross country.

He won four straight Section VI Class B championships. As a junior, he was second at the state meet, setting a Section VI record at Elma Meadows in doing so. This past fall, he capped off his senior high school season with a New York State Public High School Athletic Association title in Class B.

He was named the All-Western New York cross country boys Runner of the Year following his outstanding fall.

He is back on the track this spring, returning from some wear-and-tear issues to win the 800 and 1,600 at the Carl Roesch two weeks ago and at the ECICs in Jamestown this past weekend.

He owns the Section VI record in the 3,200 and school records in the 800 and 1,600 and will certainly be a runner to watch this coming weekend at the Section VI championships and the following weekend at the state meet. 

* * *

All Prep Talk Players of the Year will be honored at the inaugural Prep Talk Awards on June 16 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, featuring Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Reed and Janet Snyder of Kiss 98.5. The Prep Talk Awards will honor Prep Talk Players of the Year in more than 30 sports, along with the All-Western New York first teams in football and basketball. 

* * * 

Our Countdown to the Prep Talk Awards will feature a different Prep Talk Player of the Year each day until the big night.

The list thus far:

Continue reading "Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys cross country: T.J. Hornberger, Lake Shore" »

Cross country state championship poster page in today's paper

The News' tribute to the state champions of the fall season condcluded today with a poster page devoted to this season's title-winners in cross country: the East Aurora boys, Barker boys and Maple Grove girls.

We have also run poster pages on Orchard Park football (with the All-Western New York team on Dec. 3), girls volleyball champions Eden (Dec. 26) and St. Mary's (Dec. 31), girls swimming champion Clarence (Jan. 9).

High-quality versions of the championship pages can be purchased at buffalonewsstore.com.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

A winning weekend: One Friday down, one Saturday to go

Football, cross country, soccer, volleyball, field hockey. A total of 17 team championships.

The first weekend of November is traditionally one of the busiest of the high school sports year, and Friday was packed with action.

Check out seven stories and our scoreboard at the high school home page (and of course, go buy the paper itself :-) ).

There's more to come today -- more football, more soccer, more field hockey, more volleyball. Eleven Section VI titles are on the line in three sports while the boys volleyball final fours are being held at Orchard Park. Berths in the Monsignor Martin football championships are up for grabs, as is the final spot in the Harvard Cup playoffs.

Stay tuned to Prep Talk Live for the football action from The Ralph. Our accounts of Friday's games are below.

We'll provide scoring updates (from all sports) from throughout Western New York when we get them, and you can feel free to chime in as well.

As always, if you are at a game, let us know what you thought of the action, no matter what the sport. There are links to discuss every fall sport at the high school home page.

---Keith McShea

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

Amherst's Symoniak going Orange

Brenna Symoniak must really like the color orange.

The Amherst cross country/track standout announced at Saturday's Alden Bulldog Stampede that she's accepted an athletic scholarship to Syracuse. She said her scholarship will cover over 70 percent of her college expenses.

She had narrowed her choices down to Syracuse and North Carolina.

"I liked both coaches, but when I went to Syracuse I just felt like that was my school," she said. "I didn't think that was going to happen, but it made it a lot easier."

* * *

It's probably close enough to Halloween to describe the East Aurora girls as scary good. They are ranked No. 10 in the nation by dystat.com.

The Blue Devils were missing their top three runners at the Stampede due to illness and still managed to win the large school team title by 88 points.

"I don't think we're 10, but we're definitely a top-20 team," said coach Walt McLaughlin. "We don't talk about it that much because rankings don't win meets. We want to run really well at ECICs, Sectionals, states. We've got good strength, good speed up front. HFL [Honeoye Falls-Lima] is really a good team and we're going to need our best races to beat them."

---Mary Jo Monnin 

More from cross country

I wrote a story about this season's proliferation of eighth-graders succeeding in girls cross country for today's Scholastic Spotlight.

Here are some additional notes on the eighth-graders as well as notes on all sorts of cross country topics:

* * *

Among the top 18 at the 15-team Bemus Point Invitational were more eighth graders (five) than seniors (four).

Caroline Benson of Maple Grove won the race, while two other fellow eighth-graders were teammates … Emma Verdonik (fifth) and Abby Sirwatka (18th). Falconer's Kirsten Holmberg was third and Fredonia's Micaela Tramuta was 11th.

* * *

Kiki Dy is an accomplished swimmer who came to the Newfane program from field hockey, while Sarah Ziemba and twins Kelly and Kate Bocknewetch all excelled in modified track and cross country last year.

Dy "fell into our lap," said Newfane coach Mike Heitzenrater. "Because of the way our league is run in swimming, with the girls competing in the winter, she could never qualify for states. So she said, "I want to do cross country and get to the states.' "

The youngsters have meshed well with senior Bethany Dewey and juniors Erin Hannah and Amy Lanighan.

It may have helped that Newfane had a significant amount of spots to fill in its lineup after graduating much of its team last year.

Continue reading "More from cross country " »

Awesome audio slideshow from cross country

Whether you're a cross country fan or not, you've got to check out News photographer Mark Mulville's audio slideshow from the Section VI championships at Elma Meadows.

He captured some great stuff from one of Western New York high school sports' best events. You hear the gun, the fans and the runners while you see the all the emotions of the day in an excellent array of photos.

---Keith McShea

X-C titles go to Hutch-Tech, East Aurora

Hutch-Tech and East Aurora were the big winners at Friday's Section VI Cross Country Championships at Elma Meadows.

The Engineers became the fourth City team to capture a sectional title when they won the Class A at Friday's event held under sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-50s.

Dana Walpole ran 50 seconds faster than projected, crossing in 17:56.8. It made all the difference as Tech won the team title by a mere two points over Grand Island, 67-65.

EA's boys and girls captured team titles. Joe Whelan of Hamburg and Brenna Symoniak of Amherst had the fastest times of the day for boys and girls.

The winning team in each of the day's 10 races, along with the top five runners not on the winning team, advance to next Saturday's New York State Championship at Sunken Meadow, LI.

---Mary Jo Monnin

More from ECIC x-country as we run to sectionals

Some extra notes from the ECIC cross country championships:

* The Clarence boys won the ECIC I team title as its seven runners averaged 17:48.34.

Hamburg placed all its runners among the top 17 helping them to the ECIC II title.

Three runners in the top 10 lifted Starpoint to the ECIC III crown.

East Aurora took seven of the top eight places to dominate ECIC IV.

* The girls race saw a nice battle between Amherst junior Brenna Symoniak of Amherst an Jamie Wallace of Alden - for a while.

The girls were shoulder-to-shoulder for the first half when Symoniak started to make her move. Wallace was running on her home course, but even that wasn't enough to catch Symoniak, whose only loss was at the McQuaid Invitational.

"She's tough and she's been practicing really hard, I'm just trying to stay with her longer and longer through the race," said Wallace.

* The West Seneca West girls team had all seven runners in the top 22 to secure the ECIC I title.

Lake Shore juniors Mikelle Cala and Kim Vona were 2-3 to secure ECIC II.

Starpoint got a strong run from Lauren Scarupa to help them win a share of ECIC III with Amherst.

In ECIC IV, East Aurora took 2-8 with no one running slower than 7:09.4 pace.

***

Here are the results from the ECIC, Niagara Frontier League and Niagara-Orleans championship meets, and here's the CCAA championship meet.

So who looks ready to run for sectional titles at Elma Meadows? What are the best team battles? Is it a race for second to East Aurora in both Class B races?

---Mary Jo Monnin & Keith McShea

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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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