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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 soccer: Carissima Cutrona, Williamsville South

By Keith McShea

Carissima Cutrona, Williamsville South (John Hickey/Buffalo News)Here is the resume for the Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls soccer:

Three-time All-Western New York first-teamer. One hundred sixty career goals. Forty goals her senior year. Section VI Class A championship. Playing at Colgate.

Carissima Cutrona of Williamsville South earned the distinction with an outstanding career capped by a terrific final season.

The offensive force also had 22 assists as a senior and 63 for her career.  

She 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 June 16 event. 

Cutrona was featured on Thursday evening's episode of PrepTalkTV along with Brandon Galanti of Frontier, the Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys soccer. 

Countdown to the Prep Talk Awards / Prep Talk Players of the Year

The list:

Continue reading "Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls soccer: Carissima Cutrona, Williamsville South" »

PrepTalkTV: Prep Talk Players of the Year in soccer, Gus Macker move, the spring & more

By Keith McShea

Tonight's PrepTalkTV episode ties in with today's kickoff of the Countdown to the Prep Talk Awards as we welcomed in today's spotlight Prep Talk Player of the Year -- along with tomorrow's. 

Boys soccer Prep Talk Player of the Year Brandon Galanti of Frontier, who was featured on the blog today, appeared on the show with girls soccer Prep Talk Player of the Year Carissima Cutrona of Williamsville South. Cutrona will be Friday's spotlighted player on the blog as we countdown to the inaugural Prep Talk Awards on June 16.

In our second segment of our first episode of the spring, colleague Miguel Rodriguez joined me to talk about the move of the Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament from downtown Buffalo to Darien Lake amusement park. We also talked about the season's first Power 10, looked back at the winter's top team and more. 

Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys soccer: Brandon Galanti, Frontier

By Keith McShea

Brandon Galanti, FrontierSoccer coaches voted Brandon Galanti of Frontier an All-Western New York first teamer, the ECIC Player of the Year and the Western New York Player of the Year.

So he was a straightforward choice as the Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys soccer. 

Galanti, a speedy forward who scored 21 goals for the Falcons, will play at Niagara University this fall.

Galanti scored one of his goals in overtime to defeat Jamestown. He had two goals in a 3-0 Senior Night victory over West Seneca West.

He 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. 

* * * 

The Countdown to the Prep Talk Awards will feature a different Prep Talk Player of the Year each day until the June 16 event. 

Galanti will be featured on tonight's episode of PrepTalkTV along with the Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls soccer, which will be revealed during the show. 

All-Western New York teams for 2012 fall season

The All-Western New York teams from the 2012 fall season have been published. Here's a rundown: 

BOYS SOCCER: Williamsville East's Brandon Schick, who scored a school-record 84 goals for the Flames, is Western New York's Player of the Year and he leads off the season wrapup story. Discover the entire first team as well as the boys soccer honor roll, which includes all of the all-league teams.

GIRLS SOCCER: All-American Carissima Cutrona of Williamsville South leads off the season wrapup story, then there are separate pages on the All-WNY first team and the entire girls soccer honor roll

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Wrapup story which is led with Eden junior Lainy Pierce committing to Penn State, the All-WNY first team photo & chart, and the girls volleyball honor roll

BOYS VOLLEYBALL: The season wrapup story and first team photo and chart are here.

FIELD HOCKEY: Season wrapup story focuses on the success of several juniors, there is the All-WNY first team chart & photo and the full list of all-league teams in the field hockey honor roll.

CROSS COUNTRY: All-WNY teams selected by the coaches as well as all-league teams and the final team polls

* * *

The FOOTBALL All-Western New York team, which is selected by The News with Dick Gallagher, was published Dec. 8. The first team was announced on the evening of Dec. 7 in a historic episode of PrepTalkTV.

Friday Night Live with PrepTalkTV: NT beats Riverside, 20-13; big wins for OP, East

Week Four is one that packs some punch with some very key matchups involving some of the biggest and best programs in Western New York, from the city to the suburbs to the private schools.

Nichols coach Colin Brinson talks to his troops before the game. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) The marquee games of the evening are in Class AA, where Riverside takes on North Tonawanda at All High Stadium at 7 and Frontier hosts Orchard Park at 7:30.

Once again we'll have updates throughout the night here from our PrepTalkTV team, so check in throughout the night and get familiar with that refresh button.

3:38 p.m. We're off to Nichols, which hosts Niagara Catholic in a 4:30 p.m. start, a good location for us to get our night kicked off. The interesting thing about the game is that it is Niagara Catholic's opener, which postponed its Week One game with St. Mary's to the end of the season due to some problems fielding a full team, then had two bye weeks.

Video reporter Lauren Mariacher and I will be on hand and we'll have our video intro of the night up by around kickoff. 

4:28 p.m. It's just about kickoff time here. The Nichols public address announcer -- some may be familiar with him from basketball season -- is entertaining all by himself. He delivers arena-caliber introductions even though there is a friends-and-family crowd of tens here. Throw in a muscular sound system and we have some North Buffalo-mansion window rattling stuff here. His roaring announcement of the game featuring "YOURRRRR NICHOLLLLLLS VIKINGSSSSS!!!!!" is greeted with claps and cheers -- but it's only like 10 to 12 claps and cheers.

4:37 p.m. Here's our intro for the evening:

4:46 p.m. Nichols stops Niagara Catholic on its first drive, then quickly moves downfield -- with plays all on the ground -- and scores on a 6-yard run by senior standout Matt Benedict. Benedict adds the two-point conversion run and Nichols takes a quick, 8-0 lead.

Niagara Catholic started its next possession with 7:38 left in the first quarter and continued to look like it is their opener -- a bad snap leads to a fumble and a 20-yard loss deep in their territory; on the next play another fumble goes into its end zone and Nichols gets a safety for a 10-0 lead with 6:12 left in the first.

While we saw Nichols overwhelmed here last week by Cardinal O'Hara, the Big Green plays good football under coach Colin Brinson. It beat JFK in its opener and hung with Grover Cleveland in a Week Two game that went down to the wire.

Niagara Catholic may have had a late start, but it looks ready to go for its opener -- its cheerleaders are here and it has at least as many fans here as Nichols does.

4:52 p.m. Nichols rolls downfield again and Benedict runs in from 3 yards out for another score, followed by an Adam Noonan two-point conversion run, for an 18-0 lead with 4:11 left in the first.

4:52 p.m. Nichols is having a fine day here on its fine turf fields. The boys soccer team has a 5-0 lead on St. Francis and there's still more than 12 minutes left in the first half. That's a surprising score there since League AA soccer in the Monsignor Martin Association usually consists of tough matchups no matter who is playing.

5:05 p.m. At the end of the first quarter, Nichols leads, 18-0, and again has the ball deep in Niagara Catholic territory.

5:06 p.m. Another Benedict touchdown (2 yards) -- no points after this time -- and Nichols leads, 24-0, with 11:54 left in the second quarter.

5:18 p.m. Another Benedict touchdown, but this one is much longer -- 85 yards. Benedict got a great block for about the last 50 yards from freshman Mike Geiger, who shielded off the only tackler that had a shot for a TD-saving tackle. A two-point conversion pass failed and Nichols leads, 30-0, with 6:26 left in the second quarter.

5:35 p.m. It's halftime here with Nichols leading Niagara Catholic, 30-0. With a little rain coming down, Lauren and her laptop have hit her in-car editing booth and so have I and my laptop. Lauren is headed next to Riverside to catch a little early action of McKinley against Niagara-Wheatfield before joining me at All High Stadium for NT-Riverside. I'll be heading over there early to make sure I'm settled in for the big game.

Here are Lauren Mariacher's first-half highlights along with Niagara Catholic coach Don Marinucci talking about having his team start the season in Week Four:

6:30 p.m. After a pit stop, we've pulled into All High Stadium where there is already a decent crowd filing in for NT-Riverside.

7:02 p.m. We're about to kick off -- Riverside is kicking off to NT. In a not unexpected development, senior standout and starting quarterback for NT, Joe Montesanti, is said to not be playing tonight. He took a big hit late in the first half of last week's win over Niagara Falls.

7:03 p.m. Tonight's game is being broadcast by WJJL 1440 AM and is available online.

WGR (550 AM) has the Hamburg at Williamsville South game.

Here's Buffalo Public Schools superintendent James A. Williams chatting before the game with photographer John Hickey:

7:07 p.m. North Tonawanda didn't take long to strike, and their fans are being heard loudly here at All High. On second-and-4 at the NT 35, junior quarterback Pat Angelhow kept the ball on the Lumberjacks' option and Riverside just couldn't find him. He ran 65 yards for the TOUCHDOWN, Justin Bacon adds the extra point and NT leads Riverside, 7-0, just 1:40 into the game.

7:14 p.m. This one is going to be fun. Riverside comes back with a big-play drive that ends with a TOUCHDOWN by Harold Millender, who took and end-around to the right side for a 15-yard score. Sophomore Roland Wapalo -- who wasn't with Riverside last week it appears -- boots a low liner up and good for the extra point and we are tied at 7-7 with 6:57 left in the first quarter.

Earlier in the drive, junior quarterback Jeremiah Cormack hit senior Charles Pawlak down the left sideline for a big, 43-yard gain -- it was third-and-18 play from the Riverside 36 to move the Frontiers to the NT 21.

7:24 p.m. UPDATE from Lauren at Riverside: McKinley and Niagara-Wheatfield are scoreless after the first quarter.

All High Stadium is packed for a battle of champions. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) 7:29 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, NT and Riverside are tied at 7-7. Riverside has a first down at its 47.

7:32 p.m. Big play for NT as senior Ryan Daigler steps in front of a Cormack pass for an interception and he's tackled with a face mask. With the penalty, NT starts at the Riverside 28 with 11:05 left in the second.

UPDATE from Riverside: Niagara-Wheatfield takes a 7-0 lead on McKinley in the second quarter.

7:45 p.m. We have a timeout by NT with 3:15 left in the second quarter with NT facing a third-and-9 at the Riverside 35.

7:49 p.m. A lot to recap since that timeout. On the next play, Riverside senior Aweis Aweis (that's the name. I like it) knocked down a pass attempt on a halfback option by NT, which used that play to score a touchdown last week against Niagara Falls. On the next play, NT converted on fourth-and-9 when Angelow hit a swing pass to the left to a wide-open Justin Bacon, who nearly went for the score but was bounced out of bounds at the Riverside 4.

Two plays later, senior Rob Wikierski ran to the left behind a nice push from the line for a 1-yard TOUCHDOWN. The extra point by Bacon was wide right and NT leads Riverside, 13-7, with 2:14 left in the second quarter.

7:56 p.m. Again -- this will certainly be a fun one. Because again -- Riverside comes right back with a TOUCHDOWN after a big play. On third-and-5 at the NT 40, Cormack rolled right and let go of a pass while jumping, and Justice Faggens made a play of his own while jumping, leaping for a great hands-catch over a defender and getting Riverside to the NT 7.

One play later, junior D'Yontae Parker ran up the middle for a 7-yard score. Wapalo's kick went wide left and the score is tied at 13-13.

8:04 p.m. At HALFTIME, Riverside and NT are tied at 13-13.

UPDATES: Photographer Mark Mulville reports that Orchard Park leads at Frontier, 6-0, after the first quarter.

McKinley scores on a 58-yard pass play to cut Niagara-Wheatfield's lead to 12-8 with 1:35 left in the second quarter, thanks to a report from Lauren at Riverside.

Here's Lauren Mariacher's report from that game, including some pregame words from McKinley coach Ed Wilson regarding the Macks' big win over Grand Island last week:

Williamsville South had a 13-7 first-quarter lead over Hamburg, according to Roger Weiss' report on WJJL.

8:10 p.m. Great game and a great atmosphere here -- tough for me to judge the crowd, but it's the most people I've seen at All High for a game. I'd probably guess 1,500 or so -- the central sections here are pretty packed. Rich Kozak says this is probably the largest regular season crowd here in five years.

8:23 p.m. We're under way with the second half; Riverside set to receive. After another look around I'm bumping my estimate up over 2,000. Great crowd here.

8:25 p.m. UPDATE from Mulville at Frontier: OP's lead over the Falcons is 6-0 at halftime. The score was a 10-yard run by Okoya Anderson in the first quarter. ... Thanks to WJJL: Iroquois up, 19-14, at West Seneca East and McKinley has taken a 16-12 lead on Niagara-Wheatfield at Riverside thanks to a touchdown run and extra-point run by Rutledge. ... Lackawanna, 14-7, over Dunkirk in the first half.

8:49 p.m. My apologies about the delay, some blog problems here. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Riverside and NT are still tied at 13-13. NT had two good drives end in field goal attempts by Justin Bacon, but the first went wide left and the second was short.

8:51 p.m. UPDATES from Sean Bruso: Lew-Port leads Maryvale, 20-14, in third quarter -- game will be on Time Warner SportsNet Sunday evening at 7. ... Williamsville South up on Hamburg, 28-7, after three quarters.

Big one here -- report of Cheektowaga and East tied at 8-8.

8:58 p.m. Since Bacon's second missed field goal late in the third, Riverside punted, then NT punted after Riverside sophomore Tyler Biedron came up with a big sack on third down.

9:06 p.m. NT has gone ahead with a TOUCHDOWN on a 32-yard play by Wikierski -- tough to tell because it was on the far side, I believe it was an option pitch to the speedy back on the outside, because he scooted down the left sideline for the score. The extra point by Bacon was good and NT leads Riverside, 20-13, with 4:13 left.

There are radio reports that there were Riverside complaints that the play was either an illegal forward pass -- later radio report says it was a forward pass, but a legal one because Angelhow was not over the line of scrimmage. So it's a touchdown pass.

9:12 p.m. BIG interception for NT as Ryan Drass comes down with a pass that was off the hands of Charles Pawlak over the middle.

9:14 p.m. NT runs for a first down and that should be it -- Riverside calls a timeout with 1:10 left.

9:16 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: North Tonawanda 20, Riverside 13.

Time for interviews and some serious running around. What a game.

UPDATE from Mulville at Frontier: OP's lead is 27-0 over the Falcons in the fourth quarter. ... McKinley's lead is 24-19 over Niagara-Wheatfield with 3:18 left in a back-and-forth game.

Our photo gallery is up.

9:39 p.m. UPDATES: BIG RESULT from Cheektowaga, where East has beaten defending Class B champion Cheektowaga. ... OP leads Frontier, 30-6, with four minutes left. ... Lew-Port beats Maryvale, 33-14. ... McKinley wins, 24-19.

10:21 p.m. Whew. Story is done for first edition. Video report is coming soon.

Here it is:

The final from Frontier was OP with a huge, 30-6 victory over a fellow top 10 large school. Frontier was ranked fifth ahead of No. 6 OP in the poll (but I have to say not on my ballot). Okoya Anderson had three TDs.

11:10 p.m. Whew again. Story done for second edition. I called Riverside coach Tony Truilizio to get his take on the winning score, and he said it was "definitely forward ... there were lineman downfield."

I've watched our video a bunch of times and it sure is hard to tell from that angle. NT coach Eric Jantzi, Angelhow and Wikierski all said it was a lateral.

A little trivia: NT players wear their helmets during interviews because the Jacks have a rule that if they are on the field, they are wearing their helmet. I was wondering what was up with that, because the Jacks would do interviews that way last year as well. I like it.

In other finals: Lancaster 45, West Seneca West 0 ... Williamsvile South 42, Hamburg 7. ... Iroquois 38, West Seneca East 17 ... Here's the WOW score of the night: East 14, Cheektowaga 8 ... East Aurora 30, Springville 0 ... Lackawanna 28, Dunkirk 7 ... Albion 38, Tonawanda 15 ... Alden 31, Newfane 14 ... Wilson 14, Roy-Hart 0 ... Southwestern 38, Allegany-Limestone 0. ... Fredonia 45, Falconer 0 ... Portville 22, Cattaraugus/LV 7 ... Maple Grove 39, Clymer 0 ... Chautauqua Lake 36, Westfield 0 ... Randolph 55, Franklinville 0 ... Pine Valley 32, Ellicottville 0 ... Frewsburg 41, Forestville 0 ... The final from the game we started at tonight is not a surprise: Nichols 40, Niagara Catholic 0. ... Eden 48, Gowanda 6 ... Medina 18, Akron 6.

* * *

Our Friday scoreboard is complete.

My apologies regarding our scoreboard not being update or being incomplete tonight. We had some massive malfunctions.

Due to those malfunctions, no audio wrap from me. I will go over the results here, if you miss the audio version, spoken word editions can be arranged for a fee. Baddump-bump.

The East win at Cheektowaga is tremendous, perhaps surpassing McKinley's win over Grand Island as the top city win of the season. Again, the city teams come through with another impressive weekend (and it's only Friday). Riverside and NT went right down to the wire as well, of course. McKinley got a sterner test than I expected from Niagara-Wheatfield, but the Macks came through in the end to keep some Class A North drama building -- next Saturday they're at Sweet Home.

The OP score is certainly impressive -- in the chat this week I mentioned how those teams have been known to play some close games in the past. I thought OP would win, with the chance of a Frontier upset, in a close game. Quality showing by OP but this was Frontier's first real test against a high-quality opponent this year -- maybe Frontier's 3-0 mark wasn't as worth as much as we thought.

Lancaster took out its frustrations big-time in getting its first win. ... Will South's score was close for a while but that's what we expected -- Joe Licata is two TDs away from setting the all-time WNY record. ... Nice win for Lew-Port by a surprising margin at Maryvale. ... Another huge victory margin for Fredonia. Whoa.

Here are our stories from the night: East's win leads our roundup; and here's my story on the NT-Riverside game.

See you tomorrow morning from the "Cleveland Bowl" -- a top 10 small school between Cleveland Hill and Grover Cleveland at Riverside at 10 a.m. After that I'm headed to Canisius' Stransky Complex in West Seneca at 2 to see how the undefeated Crusaders fare against Cathedral Prep's powerful program, and I'll probably check out All-High's 4 p.m. show between Lafayette and Amherst.

* * *

As always, we want to hear from you about what you've seen tonight. Let us know what you thought of the teams, players -- even the hot dogs -- in the comments section below. 

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

ESG Day Four: Western men's hockey, men's open hoops, women's open soccer, synchro take gold

The final day of the Empire State Games has fewer events, but they are all going on at nearly the same time.

We'll fill you in as soon as we're able.

9:48 a.m. Allen Wilson reports that the Western men's scholastic basketball team won the bronze medal with a 75-64 victory over Long Island. 

11:15 a.m. Update from Amanda Bremer at hockey: Western beats Hudson Valley, 7-1, to win the gold medal in the round-robin competition. I'm at Buffalo State where Western will try to win its 32nd gold in 32 Games.

12:17 p.m. We have a report from Allen Wilson that the Western men's open basketball team has won gold. The Western synchro team did win it's 32nd straight gold.

2:19 p.m. Thanks to TML for the boys lacrosse report below as Western won bronze with a 13-7 win over Adirondack -- just about where you would expect them, I suppose, a quality result; at the same time anything less would be a disappointment considering the team's aim to take down Central or Long Island. 

Other results rolling in ...

Marquel Slaughter reports from the North French Soccer Complex that the women's open team won gold with a 2-1 victory over Central while the women's scholastic team fell, 1-0, to Adirondack and took silver. The men's open team lost the bronze game, 2-0.

The baseball medal games, postponed from yesterday to today due to inclement weather, were not played at all. The field must have been too soaked. Western, which was leading in the bronze game, was awarded the bronze based on the standings after the preliminaries. Long Island took gold and Central silver; Western suffered very close losses to both.

3:05 p.m. Just got word from a media brother of mine that the Western women's open hoops team took silver after falling to New York City in the gold game.

4:10 p.m. Overheard in the media room -- Western women's lacrosse fell in the gold medal game, 17-7, to Long Island.

7:43 p.m. Heading back to the office to finish up some more ESG stuff. Whewwww.

11:26 p.m. I just put up a video-related post -- check out a nice wrapup video of the Games by News Reporter Denise Jewell Gee as well as some iPhone clips, including a resounding end to the women's scholastic volleyball gold medal match.

11:27 p.m. I hereby declare the 2010 Buffalo Empire State Games over for The Buffalo News, buffalonews.com and the Prep Talk blog. Be sure to check out the stuff in Monday's paper and on the Web (some is up now).

The countdown to the first day of high school football practice is 22 days.

---Keith McShea

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

Live from ESG Day Two: Wins for Western women in softball, soccer, field hockey and volleyball

It's Day Two of the Empire State Games, and I'll keep you updated here with my travels and any news.

Later on, Amanda Bremer will have her post going from the media center with more results, and we'll have additional posts through the day from other reporters in the field.

I won't be running around like a lunatic like I did yesterday, but I still have my work cut out for me. I'm going to try and catch up with not only Williamsville North girls hoop coach Clare Crowley, but all four of her players who are involved in the Games. The kicker is that all four are playing different sports, and none of them are playing hoops. Can't make this stuff up. 

The girls are Corrine Genovese (softball), Allie Ahern (field hockey), Jenny Piaggione (soccer) and Nikki Attea (volleyball).

9:40 a.m. There's rain coming down and I'll soon find out if any events are delayed. Based on past experience, if it remains a light rain, most, if not all, events will muddle through. Lightning is the big thing that can delay the Games. Knock on wood. 

I'm headed to field hockey first to talk to Allie Ahern of Williamsville North. They're playing a 9 a.m. game. After that I'm headed to a media fitness challenge at UB. Insert punchline here.

10:44 a.m. Western field hockey wins, 2-0, over Central to bounce back from an opening loss to always-tough Hudson Valley. 

Western got several great saves from Tara Lamberti (Pittsford) in the final minutes as Central kept pushing. Catherine Willard of Pittsford scored on an assist from Shannon Martin of Williamsville 20:31 into the first half while Williamsville's Emily Woods added a goal 24:43 into the second half. 

I talked with Allie Ahern, who is verbally committed to Michigan State, about her experience in the Games with all of here Williamsville North crew -- she said she watched Corrine Genovese play softball yesterday and was headed to volleyball to watch Nikki Attea today (I think I'll be at those games as well).

Now it's off to BlueCross BlueShield's fitness challenge. I just saw videographer extraordinare James Acton heading in so I know the competition is big-time. News Reporter Charlie Specht is also in the competition -- which I think is unfair because I think he is a decade younger than me. Here we go -- I've been typing on my laptop in the parking lot by UB Stadium, but I'm heading over. The course, which fans can participate in for prizes tomorrow) is in a field next to the lot -- you can't miss it on your drive to the track venue.

The important thing is that I'm competing for the $500 prize for charity on behalf of the Tom Borrelli Memorial Award and Scholarship Fund.

12:17 p.m. Time to catch up on a few things.

The weather report: Right now there is a very slight drizzle coming down on my car as I type in the parking lot of the Audubon Recreation Complex. The rain had stopped during my top-four fitness challenge finish and before I caught some volleyball. The skies are grey, the air is really thick, but it seems as if the clouds are moving through quite quickly so it appears that while the weather might be a bother, it shouldn't hold anything up.

I saw from a distance that there is softball action going on while Adirondack and Central were on the baseball field. 

The women's scholastic volleyball team kept rolling, although they'll be miffed that their perfect preliminary record was spoiled in the third game as Western it won two of three against Hudson Valley. Western had won all of its games Thursday (2-0 matches, 6-0 games) coming into today. It won the first two very handily, 25-26, and 25-10, but fell in the third game (which is played to 15) by a 18-16 score.

Afterwards I talked with Nikki Attea, who will be a junior at Williamsville North this fall. She said she's not surprised coach Crowley made the open team -- coach bangs away at the 6-3 Attea in the post during practice. Attea said she has been on two unofficial recruiting visits for volleyball, to Syracuse and Ohio State.

As far as that fitness challenge obstacle course, Specht came in third -- only less than a second ahead of me, so I got that going for me, which is nice. I'm disappointed my football throws just missed the target -- lost some time there, but not as much as I did maneuvering through the hockey part. Ch. 7 swept the men's and women's categories while Acton was second. Told you he was going to be tough.

The obstacle course is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday -- it's in a great spot, between the track venue and the volleyball venue on their biggest days of competition. Fans can win pretty cool prizes from the Bills and Sabres. Sponsor BlueCross BlueShield said the idea is to have everyone be able to compete at the Empire Games -- which is pretty cool. Should be something companies look at in future games. Good PR, fun for fans and it contributes to the festival-like feel of the Games.

12:25 p.m. Another weather update -- the raindrops are getting heavier, so much so that I think it could put the baseball and softball games in jeopardy of a delay.

12:38 p.m. Just got out of the car to check the status of the games as the rain has subsided. Looks like baseball will be back to action soon -- teams are on the field. I think softball may have played through it. The skies are dark enough to have the lights on at UB Stadium across the street, but there hasn't been any downpour.

1:59 p.m. Quick update: Western softball looks headed to a medal after it won its second game of the day, 7-3, over Hudson Valley. It started with a 10-0 victory over New York City, a 50-pitch, five-inning perfect game by Lindsay (Garbacz) Morris.

Morris then came on in relief after Hudson Valley scored three runs on Chelsea Plimpton to take a 3-2 lead after two. Morris took over with one out in the second and only allowed one baserunner (on a hit) the rest of the day.

Western scored twice in the second and twice again in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. Rosie Russell served an opposite-field RBI single to left in the fifth for a 5-3 lead and Dana Carter smashed a triple over the right fielder's head to score two in the sixth.

Ashley Bonetto went 4 for 4 with a home run and six RBIs against New York City.

The rain continues its on-again, off-again act -- at the conclusion of Western's softball game about 15 minutes ago, it started coming down steadily, but by the time I made the short drive to the North French Soccer Complex it had stopped. 

2:59 p.m. Another trip to see a Will North athlete, another win. The Western women's scholastic soccer team scored all of its goals in a huge second half to beat Long Island, 4-0.

Jenny Griffin (Williamsville) and Jenna Raepple (Grand Island) each scored and had an assist, with Griffin scoring off a Raepple pass in the 50th minute for the first goal. Raepple added a goal in the 75th minute on an assist by Alexis Kroese (Amherst), Kori Thorne (Rochester) put a missile of a direct kick in the top of the net and Griffin set up Carissima Catrona (Williamsville) for the fourth goal in the 90th minute. 

In perhaps bigger news, the SUN IS OUT. All of a sudden it's a bright, hot, humid day almost just like yesterday.

I talked with Piaggione and she had some great quotes about coach Crowley, who the players seem to be comfortable calling simply "Clare."

Word from baseball is that Western lost to Long Island, 5-4, and their 4 p.m. game has been pushed back to 6 p.m. due to this morning's showers. Thanks to former Cheektowaga baseball coach Dan Kaplan, who gave me that info at the soccer game.

3:36 p.m. A quick stop in the media room to recharge (batteries and stomach) and I'm heading up to Niagara University to see the women's open team play. I'll see Crowley on the court after seeing her four players in their respective sports. 

We've got confirmation that baseball's starting time was moved to 6 p.m.

Be sure to check out Amanda Bremer's blog with updates from the media center.

Update from Marquel Slaughter, who was at soccer to round up all four games: The men's and women's open teams both beat New York City to join the women's scholastic squad at 2-0. The women won by a shootout for the second straight day after a 1-1 tie while the men won, 3-0. The men's scholastic team fell to 0-2 with a 4-1 loss to Long Island.

4:50 p.m. Man, that Grand Island bridge construction is a booger. I got here about 20 minutes ago.

But hello, finally, from Niagara University's Gallagher Center, where Western has a 34-26 halftime lead on New York City. I'm here to talk to Crowley after the game, but this is one loaded team. Some nice team play -- a staple of Bill Agronin-coached teams in the Empire Games -- has helped the hosts to a nice lead.

Rochester's Melissa Alwardt (leading scorer at U. of Rochester) had a nice swat on defense, nailed a baseline jumper and delivered a slick blind pass over her head for a basket for Marisa Clark. Bridgette Burke (Lockport) drained a three.

4:56 p.m. Start of the second half. Western starts Ashley Rath (Victor, sophomore-to-be at College of St. Rose), Megan Shoniker (Rochester, Rhode Island senior-to-be), Alyssa Fenyn (Newark, Virginia Tech sophomore-to-be), Clark (Hilton, Medaille grad and assistant coach) and Liz Flooks (Niagara senior-to-be).

5:44 p.m. We have a final score in women's open basketball: Western 90, New York City 59.

Was doing a lot of planning for tomorrow during the game; sorry about no updates. Off for interviews and back to the media center. 

6:37 p.m. Back in the media center. Lots of writing and planning for me now. Stay tuned to Amanda Bremer's blog from the media center (about five tables away from me) for updates through the evening.

---Keith McShea

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

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

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

Clarence, Grover, Holland fall in state boys soccer semis

Clarence, Grover Cleveland and Holland had their boys soccer seasons end at the state semifinals in Oneonta.

That comes from a report from correspondent P.J. Harmer from the National Soccer Hall of Fame Complex.

All fell to Long Island teams. In a rematch of last year's Class AA state championship game in which national power Brentwood beat Clarence, 2-1, Brentwood scored two second-half goals to beat Clarence, 2-0, Saturday afternoon.

Grover's outstanding postseason run ended with a 2-0 loss to Center Moriches in Class B. Holland lost, 2-0, to private school Friends Academy in Class C.

That brings an end to the Western New York soccer season.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     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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