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Wier will transfer to Indiana school

Stan Wier, who helped Nichols win a state Federation boys basketball championship last season as a sophomore, will transfer to La Lumiere, a private school located in LaPorte, Indiana.

Wier had already decided that he would not be returning to Nichols in June. The East Aurora native was considering returning to his home district, where he played his freshman season, and also received attention from New England prep schools.

Wier told me via email that he accepted a full scholarship to the boarding school because its "combination of academics and athletics made it a clear decision."

"The school itself is very challenging academically with two-to-three hours of homework per night. The basketball program is a perfect fit for me. The team consists of a solid frontcourt with a 7-foot center and two 6-10 forwards -- all have Division I offers. I round out the frontcourt due to their need of a physical shooter/scorer, and the team is being built for the future seeing as how there are four players on the team in my 2012 graduation class that are top 100 players.

"Not to mention they have a new coach who was formerly at Culver Academy and is known as one of the best player development coaches in the country. This program will simply challenge me to my limits daily to assure that I maximize potential. Also, the school is giving me a full-scholarship so for economic reasons it was a great fit as well."

Wier was a second-team All-Western New York selection in helping Nichols to one of the best seasons in recent Western New York basketball history. The 6-2 guard is an excellent shooter who also provides physical, intense play on the boards and on defense.

After a little google-ing, one of the players Wier was apparently referring to is Hanner Perea, a 6-8 forward who is reported to be deciding between Indiana and Baylor.

Perea, who is ranked 13th in the country by rivals.com, is another recent transfer to La Lumiere. The native of Colombia played at a North Carolina private school basketball power last year. Perea is also rated second in Indiana's Class of 2012 by insidethehall.com.

One would think that Wier's outside shooting would come in just as handy for La Lumiere as it did for a Nichols team led from the inside by now-University at Virginia 6-8 freshman Will Regan.

This will be Wier's third school in three years. That certainly isn't the most traditional route for a high school athlete in Western New York (although recent WNY examples of three schools in three years do come to mind), but it's hard to argue with any of the steps Wier and his family have made, whether it was to go from EA to a great team at a great school in Nichols, or to now go from Nichols to a program that seems to be at another level -- in a state renowned for basketball.

Wier told me in June that he had scholarship offers from Rhode Island and Colgate; one would think that playing alongside major D-I recruits would only help him gain more experience and exposure.

---Keith McShea

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Wier not returning to Nichols hoops

Stan Wier, a standout sophomore for the Nichols boys basketball team as the Vikings won the state Class A Federation tournament this past season, won't be returning to the Buffalo private school.

Stan's father, Todd Wier, stated in an e-mail to me that Stan, as well as younger brother Cam, would not be returning to Nichols. Most likely they will be transferring back to their home district of East Aurora; however, Stan also has offers from prep schools.

In an e-mail from Stan, the junior-to-be stated he is "leaning" towards returning to EA. He stated that Lollier of Indiana, Oak Hill Academy and "a couple of NEPSAC [New England Preparatory School Athletic Council] schools" were the prep schools interested in him.

"I've gotten full-ride scholarship offers from Colgate and Rhode Island," Stan Wier wrote, "but I gotta keep grinding to be the best I can be."

Wier played for East Aurora as a freshman in the 2008-09 season while older brother Thad was a senior.

He transferred to Nichols and was a key component on one of the best teams of the last decade as the Vikings won just the second large-school state Federation title in Western New York history. Wier provided excellent outside shooting and grit to a starting lineup that included seniors Will Regan, Ron Canestro, Andrew MacKinnon and Connor Vandegriff. 

---Keith McShea

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Class of 2010 updates & tidbits: Two to the SEC

Our Class of 2010 college list has been updated with a ton of names, including a big bump to the list in girls volleyball (thanks to the coaches Pierce of Eden for that).

Here are some links and some info we received with the updates and that we came across in doing some research ...

* There are two big-time athletes to the big-time Southeastern Conference. Not bad, Western New York.

Kenmore West swimmer Marissa Dressel is swimming her way to Alabama while Eden volleyball standout Stacey Smith concluded a competitive recruiting process with a trip to Georgia.

* Nardin soccer goalie Tori Christ is headed to Ithaca's East Hill and Collegetown as she attends Cornell.

* Connolly Cup winner Zack Sopak of Southwestern will keep playing for coach Sirianni -- that's  Washington & Jefferson coach Mike Sirianni, the older brother of Trojans coach Jay Sirianni. See Sopak's signing in a Jamestown Post-Journal story and photo.

* Another of Eden's fab four seniors in volleyball, Katie Eschner, is headed to Roberts Wesleyan in suburban Rochester. 

* Check out the bios of Willie Ruiz of Canisius and Matt Fox of Maple Grove, who are both playing football at Robert Morris.

* Read up on five locals heading to Gannon football: Ian Kennedy, Bishop Timon-St. Jude; Keith Bykowski and Matthew Hornung, Cheektowaga; Ryan Sweet, East Aurora and Jeff Bellanca, St. Joe's (also baseball).

* Amanda Serafini of Frontier softball is off to Davis & Elkins in Elkins, W. Va. 

* Kyle McLain of Canisius will play baseball at Washington & Jefferson, which is ranked in the Division III top 25. 

* Jamie Nash of JFK will play softball atop South Hill with the Ithaca College Bombers, ranked in the Division III national top 25. 

Have an update to the list or information like is posted here? See the top of the college list page for guildelines and e-mail me. 

---Keith McShea

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2010-11 boys hoops, here we come: Niagara Falls' Cataract Classic field is set

Yes, the All-Western New York basketball issue just came out.

And yes, this is a post about the 2010-11 schedule.

One of the top early-season showcases is already set: the Cataract Classic at Niagara Falls. Event organizer Sal Constantino emailed the schedule to us today.

As always, a great mix of teams and some great matchups. Here it is:

Friday, Dec. 10
North Tonawanda vs. Lancaster, 5 p.m.
St. Joe's vs. Depew, 6:30 p.m.
Niagara Falls vs. Jamestown, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 11
Wilson vs. St. Mary's/Lanc., noon
V-Charles Finney vs. Amherst, 1:30 p.m.
V-Batavia vs. Williamsville North, 3 p.m.

Williamsville South vs. Canisius, 5 p.m.
Niagara Catholic vs. East Aurora, 6:30 p.m.
V-Aquinas vs. Niagara Falls, 8 p.m.

I sure hope the Pastor-Cooper Tournament is the week before (Nov. 29-Dec. 3) -- that's the way things have gone down the last two years. I've covered a state championship football game on the last Sunday in November and then seen some hoops at Daemen the next day.

We won't have a building-the-schedule post up for a little while yet, but if anyone out there has some confirmed dates, please feel free to add them here or to email me at kmcshea@buffnews.com.

---Keith McShea

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Wrapping up the Section VI wrestling championships

Here are the Division I and Division II stories from the Section VI wrestling championship. And here are plenty of extras from the Division II meet Saturday night at Niagara County Community College. But first, a couple observations.

1. This was the second straight year NCCC served as host for the event, and it's a great venue. There's plenty of parking, and NCCC coach Eric Knuutilla (one of the nicest men you could ever meet) does a great job having the gym ready. The support staff, including announcers and officials, also do a good job of keeping everything moving as close to on time as possible.

2. Another thank you to Ross Conti, an assistant coach at Fredonia and committee member of the Wrestling Review of Western New York, the group that does such a great job seeding and ranking area wrestlers. Conti is a walking encyclopedia of wrestling knowledge.

112-pound champion Tom Page, Eden: Page moved ahead with a takedown in the second period to defeat teammate eighth-grade teammate Alex Smythe. Here's Page's father, also Tom Page, on what it's like for two teammates to wrestle each other: "It's extremely difficult because they're so familiar with each other's style. It's unfair to both, but some coaches say it's a privilege. I'm proud of both of the athletes, because they've done a fantastic job."

The elder Page said he wrestled both at 112 because they were the best at that weight class and deserved a chance to showcase what they could do at the sectional level. Nothing wrong with that logic.

119-pound champion Kevin Strong, Frewsburg: It's the second trip to states for Strong, who improved to 43-2 on the season. Here he is on his game plan from Saturday: "I was working on holding him down and taking it slow. Once I got my points I was very careful." Strong beat Newfane's David Ciaramella, 9-0.

125-pound champion Emory Rowe, Ripley: The smallest wrestling school in Western New York had two finalists, including one champion in Rowe. He scored a late takedown to earn a 5-3 decision over Jake Baer of Olean, a raw talent in just his third year of wrestling. Here's Rowe on the end of the match: "I was just looking for an opening and I saw him loosen up, so I dove for it and got it."

140-pound champion Devin Kramer, Depew: The Most Outstanding Wrestler of the meet scored three late points to break a 2-2 tie with Ben Haas of Salamanca and win his second sectional title (he won at 130 last year). The 130- and 140-pound divisions are packed with talented wrestlers. Kramer, a senior who is a member of the Cobra Wrestling Academy, is 36-4 on the season.

145-pound champion: Dominic Montesanti, Medina: Montesanti put forth a dominant performance despite being hampered by a knee injury. He's wrestling on a torn meniscus in his right knee. Here he is on competing hurt: "It's been a real bother, but it's my senior so I couldn't get surgery. It would put me out for the rest of the year. I have one last chance to be a state champion, so I have to tough it out."

Montesanti took sixth at the state tournament last year after dislocating his elbow and having to injury forfeit two matches at 140.

171-pound champion John Mistretta, Southwestern: Mistretta beat Greg Burroughs of Fredonia for the third time this season, never the easiest thing to do. Mistretta has a unique style that could make him a tough out at the state tournament.

189-pound champion Colin Palmer, East Aurora: Palmer is unbeaten on the season (24-0) after missing time early due to injury.

215-pound champion Pat Langworthy, Southwestern: Langworthy (33-6), a junior, won a wild weight class. Consider: the seventh seed, Panama's Cody DiDomenico, beat No. 2 Bashar Srouji of Lew-Port in the quarterfinals. Langworthy, the third seed, then beat DiDomenico. On the other side of the bracket, top seed Justin Taylor of Portville was upset by fourth seed Jake Eddington of Gowanda in the semifinals.

285-pound champion Theo King, Roy-Hart: King and 96-pounder Zach Bickle won titles for the Rams. Here's King on what he hopes it means for the Niagara-Orleans League school: "I hope it can inspire more people to come out for the team next year and continue to build the tradition of the program."

That's it for now, although we may have some video later of a few matches (if I can figure out the technology).

---Jay Skurski






Who's going to win Class B football?

The Class B field is set, and there are favorites everywhere you turn -- Cheektowaga is tops in the polls, Depew is coming off a tremendous performance against No. 1 large school Lancaster, East Aurora might be the hottest team in the bracket, and Lackawanna is the defending champion.

As with all of our polls, we want to hear how and why you voted. Let us know in the comment space below.

Be sure to vote in all of the polls: Class AA, Class A, Class C and Class D.

---Keith McShea

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 " »

Friday Night Live: Week One kicks off

The last time a Western New York high school football team was on the field, it was the completion of one of the greatest feats in local sports history.

It was Orchard Park's state championship victory in last year's Class AA final, the completion of a thrilling weekend for Section VI at the Carrier Dome as four teams won state titles. 

Cardinal O'Hara and Bishop Timon-St. Jude get lined up Saturday evening. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) Tonight, we start all over again.

Orchard Park hosts Lockport, just one of several intriguing matchups on a busy (25 games) Friday night of football. Here's what you thought in a poll on what's the best game of the night.

Stay here through the night as we'll have updates as soon as we get them.

Also, tune your twitter to "bufnewspreptalk" to get instant updates of the scores as soon as they are reported to us.

* * * 

And away we go:

Note to those attending Bishop Timon-St. Jude games this season. They are offsides on their kickoff times.

I rushed to Tifft Farms and Fitzpatrick Field eager to see the first kickoff in the City of Buffalo this year.

I walked through the gate at 6:55 p.m. as I heard whistles and saw action on the field.

"What time did they start?" I asked the ticket taker. 

"7 p.m."  he answered.

I looked back at my phone. Still 6:55 p.m. Hmm.

On the field, Timon went three and out and Cardinal O'Hara scored on its first drive of the season as junior Robert Davis' touchdown run. He had another run that set up the score.

O'Hara had a nice pass play -- which featured some nice hitting by Timon -- early in the drive.

7:18 p.m. We're back in the car and heading to Hamburg for its opening night of refurbished Howe Field.

* * * 

 7:37 p.m. I talk myself into a side parking lot, which is key because this place is mobbed. There are purple-clad people walking everywhere. I see WNY football guru Dick Gallagher on the sidelines as well as Hamburg lacrosse coach Jerry Severino.

Williamsville East has a 6-0 lead on the host Bulldogs, but Hamburg gets a big sack just before I head to the car. The camera angle isn't great, but hey, it's a phone.

While I'm typing in my car, I hear Iroquois turn its game into a blowout against East Aurora, while Hamburg scored a touchdown to take a 7-6 lead on Will East.

7:58 p.m. I do some typing, and it's off to Orchard Park -- an update on WGR said the game is tied at 7-7 late in the first quarter. Looks like I should get moving.

8:02 p.m. Still posting stuff from my car when Hamburg scores a touchdown on an interception return and adds a two-point conversion for a 15-6 lead on Will East. Iroquois' lead on East Aurora is 25-0 late in the first half.

* * *

8:23 p.m. After a slowwwww drive to OP, I walk in and my timing is not great -- 42 seconds left in the second quarter with OP up, 14-7. I'm kicking myself for posting stuff at Hamburg instead of driving right here. 

I see two plays -- one is below, the final play of the half -- and I've gotta get going. I can afford to sit at the field for 15 minutes. Gotta get back to the office. Our first deadline is 10:15, so it is going to be super-tight getting games in the paper. 

8:49 p.m. After some posting, tweeting and Facebook-ing (see The Buffalo News' Prep Talk blog fan page), I'm heading back to the office. EA has scored a touchdown and is down, 25-7, at Iroquois.

* * *

I'm back in the office for what should be a crazy night.

Keep track of the high school scoreboard, where we'll get scores as soon as possible.

* * *

CRAZY night. OP wins in double overtime, Maple Grove wins at the wire. See details at our home page story.

* * *

The scene at Hamburg's refurbished Howe Field. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)Check out a photo gallery from opening night with images taken by The News' Mark Mulville, John Hickey and James P. McCoy.

* * * 

OK. It's well after midnight, but all of the games that were reported to us are in the main story -- for many games, there are details and statistics that we didn't have room for (or time for) in the paper.

* * *

Did you see a game tonight? Listen to one on the radio?

Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

Big weekend on several fall fields

Football is obviously the big sport in the fall, but this opening weekend is even bigger when you consider the big events that are getting other seasons started.

* * *

In today's paper we mentioned two boys soccer events, the Clarence Tournament and the Coaches V. Cancer ECIC-NFL Challenge at Sweet Home. The Clarence event speaks for itself with top teams East Aurora, Nichols and Kenmore East visiting.

The Sweet Home event has organizers wondering aloud if it is the largest boys soccer event to be held in Western New York. With five games on Friday and five on Saturday, I can't think of anything of that scope.

It's a great format and a great cause. Officials will wear a commemorative shirt to honor former longtime Western New York official Tom Mingle, who passed away on Sept. 5, 2008. The officials -- who are donating all of their game fees to cancer research -- will make a presentation to Tom's family during halftime of the Sweet Home/North Tonawanda game at 12:45 p.m. Saturday.

The format of the event is two points for a win and one point for a tie; if the two leagues are tied the tiebreaker is fewest goals allowed.

Here's the lineup:

Friday's games
Sweet Home vs. Kenmore West, 2 p.m.
Wmsv. East vs. North Tonawanda, 4 p.m.
Wmsv. North vs. Niagara Falls, 4 p.m.
Wmsv. South vs. Lew-Port, 6 p.m.
Hamburg vs. Niagara-Wheatfield, 6 p.m.
Saturday's games
Wmsv. North vs. Lew-Port, 10 a.m.
Wmsv. East vs. Niagara-Wheatfield, 10 a.m.
Sweet Home vs. North Tonawanda, noon
Hamburg vs. Kenmore West, noon
Wmsv. South vs. Niagara Falls, 2 p.m.

Also, this afternoon is the first round for the Eden Kickoff Classic, which features the hosts meeting Springville and Pioneer taking on Roy-Hart; the winners meet Friday.

Friday just isn't opening night for football at Orchard Park, Rochester boys soccer power Aquinas will visit OP at 5 p.m.

Speaking of Aquinas, on Saturday the Little Irish host Canisius while the girls team hosts East Aurora.

* * *

Clarence also has a nice collection for its girls soccer tournament, held in conjunction with the boys. Friday's first-rounders are Nardin at Clarence and Nichols vs. Kenmore East.

Some nonleague girls soccer action Friday includes a great program showdown of Williamsville North at Grand Island as well as Williamsville South at North Tonawanda

* * *

Clarence just leads the league in big opening events -- the 23rd annual Clarence Invitational in boys volleyball includes a who's who of top teams in its 16-team field. Orchard Park, Canisius, Eden and St. Francis will be there. The tournament starts at 8 a.m.

Speaking of volleyball, the boys get some serious bump-set-spiking in tonight as OP -- which went undefeated last year -- opens against St. Francis at home at 7 p.m.

On Friday, Catholic girls state champion St. Mary's opens up at Victor of Section V (Rochester area) while Williamsville North is at Starpoint.

* * *

All that and even boys basketball (!) sneaking in with the Elia Tournament at Niagara Falls

---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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