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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 baseball: Dave 'Bubba' Hollins, Orchard Park

By Keith McShea

Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo NewsOne high school baseball player from Western New York was selected in the Major League Baseball draft last week.

It was Dave "Bubba" Hollins of Orchard Park, who is our Prep Talk Player of the Year for baseball.

Hollins prevailed in what was a very close race from among a deep pool of talent as he was selected just ahead of Charlie Sobieraski of Lockport and Ryan Stekl of Lancaster

Hollins was the best player on what was the best team for the majority of the Western New York baseball season. The slugging shortstop helped lead OP to an 18-3 record, the ECIC I title and a trip to the Class AA championship game. 

He hit .508 (31 for 61) with four home runs, 31 RBIs, three triples, nine doubles, 30 runs, 16 walks, six stolen bases, a slugging percentage of .951 and an on-base percentage of .598. He played what coach Jim Gibson termed "outstanding" defense at shortstop as he was involved in 15 double plays. 

He is presently deciding to attend St. Petersburg Junior College or to join the Detroit Tigers organization after the Tigers drafted Hollins in the 35th round of last week's draft. During OP's season, Gibson said scouts from the Giants, Braves, Orioles, Phillies and Twins watched Hollins play. 

Read Bucky Gleason's column on Hollins, his nickname and his future ... and his prom night.

He talked about his award, season and future plans in a recent visit to PrepTalkTV

* * *

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 every day -- until the big night.

The list thus far:

 

Continue reading "Prep Talk Player of the Year for baseball: Dave 'Bubba' Hollins, Orchard Park" »

Prep Talk Player of the Year for rifle: Rhianna Lichtenthal, Orchard Park

By Keith McShea

235452 prep talk stars ki#7There's only one sport in Western New York high school competition that is truly coed.

That's rifle, where boys and girls compete with and against each other. The state champion -- and our pick as the Prep Talk Player of the Year in that sport -- is Rhianna Lichtenthal of Orchard Park.

Lichtenthal, a junior, had the top shooting average all season in ECIC competition (276.417) -- that's an aggregate total of scores in prone, offhand and kneeling. She also recorded the top score this season (284.10). 

She qualified for the state championships with a solid fourth-place finish at the Section VI meet, but at West Point she earned the state individual title with a total of 277.12. That included first-place finishes in kneeling and prone, and it helped Section VI to the overall team title. 

Buffalo News photo by Robert Kirkham

* * *

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 every day -- until the big night.

The list thus far:

Continue reading "Prep Talk Player of the Year for rifle: Rhianna Lichtenthal, Orchard Park" »

PrepTalkTV (June 5): Prep Talk Players of the Year, including from OP & the water

By Keith McShea

Tonight's PrepTalkTV episode, our fourth of the spring, again tied in with our Countdown to the Prep Talk Awards (our inaugural event is June 16) as we welcomed in seven different Prep Talk Players of the Year.

Our first segment featured Prep Talk Players of the Year Carlee Conway of Sacred Heart (girls tennis) and Noah Roberson of Williamsville South (boys gymnastics). 

Our middle segment saw three major college-bound athletes who were among the best in (and on) the water: Prep Talk Players of the Year Dina Rommel of Clarence (girls swimming), Joseph Ebner of Canisius (boys rowing) and Ashley Johnson (girls rowing) of Clarence, who rows for West Side Rowing Club. Rommel will swim at Virginia while Ebner is headed to Penn and Johnson will row at Syracuse.  

Our final segment had two Prep Talk Players of the Year from Orchard Park: State rifle champion Rhianna Lichtenthal and Section VI boys golf champion Adam Patronik.

Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys golf: Adam Patronik, Orchard Park

By Keith McShea

(James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)To earn the title of the best high school golfer in Western New York, winning the Section VI title is a pretty good start.

Do it with an eye-popping performance in which you separate yourself from a very competitive field, and that will elevate you to another level.

Adam Patronik of Orchard Park the Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys golf.

Patronik capped the local portion of a standout senior year by shooting an even-par 108 over 36 holes in the Section VI championships at River Oaks. During the fall season, he led OP to an 11-0 record, which included the ECIC Large School South Division title, and he was the medalist (even-par 36) in helping the Quakers capture the overall ECIC team championship at Diamond Hawk. 

In previous seasons, Patronik just missed out on competing at sectionals -- missing in 2010 by 1 stroke, in 2011 by 4 and 2012 by 1. In 2013 he finished fourth at the ECIC Championships. 

OP coach Nate Leary credits Patronik for improving his approach to shot-making, which, combined with his immense talent, helped lead to several breakthroughs in the latter part of his high school career.

And that career's not over -- today Patronik and the rest of the Section VI qualifiers will compete in the first day of the New York State Public High School Athletic Associaiton championships at Cornell University's Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.

* * *

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 golf: Adam Patronik, Orchard Park" »

#PrepTalkLive from the Section VI boys lacrosse championships (OP, Hamburg, Akron win), plus your baseball & softball playoff updates

By Keith McShea

Hello from one of my favorite days on the high school sports calendar, the Section VI championship tripleheader at All High Stadium.

I'll have updates throughout the day in the live blog below, while I'll also have end-of-quarter #PrepTalkLive updates on Twitter. We start with the Class A showdown of Orchard Park and Clarence at 3:30, followed by the Class B final between Hamburg and Niagara-Wheatfield at 5 and the Class C final wrapping things up with Salamanca and Akron playing at 8. 

As always, we're looking forward to your #PrepTalkLive updates on what is a very busy, very important day in Western New York high school sports. The Section VI quarterfinals in both baseball and softball are today, as are the Monsignor Martin Association semifinals in boys lacrosse. 

Contribute updates and keep track of others as well in the blog -- the easiest way to do that is to tweet updates with the #PrepTalkLive hashtag. Those tweets will automatically appear below. 

We want tweets from all varsity sports every day of the week. The #preptalklive blog (and hashtag) -- as it was during football season and the winter -- is the place to check out scores from all over Western New York.

Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Class AA

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The nine-team division consists of the Clarence Red Devils, Frontier Falcons, Jamestown Red Raiders, Kenmore West Blue Devils, Lancaster Redskins, Lockport Lions, Niagara Falls Wolverines, Orchard Park Quakers and West Seneca West Indians.

Continue reading "Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Class AA" »

Video: Our #preptalkpreseason tour visits with Depew, Orchard Park & Burgard

Photojournalist Harry Scull Jr. continued our #preptalkpreseason coverage with a visit to Depew to talk to coach Brian Wilson and his players. The Wildcats discussed the 2013 season and their status heading into Scrimmage Saturday.

Meanwhile, Mark Mulville checked in with Orchard Park and fellow photojournalist John Hickey visited Burgard's practice at All High Stadium.

#preptalkpreseason kicks off with start of practice: Visits with OP, Sweet Home & Canisius (with video)

Sweet Home goes through a drill to start its afternoon session. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
By Keith McShea

Welcome to the first day of the 2013-14 high school sports season. Today is the first day that fall season teams can practice throughout the state. For football teams, which have held workouts and passing leagues throughout the summer, the preparation begins today for Week One (Sept. 6-7).

At Canisius, a most notable transfer will not be on the field today. TJ Wheatley, the junior standout who I wrote about in Sunday's paper, is out with what the coaching staff is calling -- get ready hockey fans -- an "upper body injury." The team says it has not been authorized by Wheatley's family to disclose the specific injury. 

Wheatley is listed as day-to-day. The team is hopeful it will have him in the opening-night lineup at Rochester's McQuaid on Friday, Sept. 6.

Wheatley participated in passing leagues with Canisius this summer. Once the injury was diagnosed it was determined that it occurred back at the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp in Michigan in June, which was prior to the Wheatleys' decision to attend Canisius.

UPDATE: Wheatley has been CLEARED. 

Continue reading "#preptalkpreseason kicks off with start of practice: Visits with OP, Sweet Home & Canisius (with video)" »

National Signing Day: Canisius' Hunter makes it official with Bowling Green this morning

By Keith McShea

Today is National Signing Day for college football, the first day recruits can officially sign with Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) programs. 

Canisius senior lineman Ryan Hunter, who verbally committed to Bowling Green last summer, signed with the Falcons at a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Delaware Ave. school.

Hunter, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound two-way force for the undefeated Monsignor Martin Association champion Crusaders (who finished ranked first in The News large school poll and shared the spot in the state Class AA poll), was named The News Player of the Year along with his teammate, junior standout running back Qadree Ollison. 

A teammate of Hunter's, senior wide receiver Denzel Benton, was also part of the signing ceremony as he commited to Football Championship Series (formerly Division I-AA) member Rhode Island.

Also committing to an FCS school today was Andy Smigiera of West Seneca East, who signed with Robert Morris.

Orchard Park senior lineman Michael Senn announced last month he would sign with Albany of the FCS.

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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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