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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 wrestling: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, Cheektowaga

By Keith McShea

Renaldo

Injuries may have shortened his senior season, but the legacy of Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer as one of Western New York's greatest high school wrestlers of all-time is more than intact.

Rodriguez-Spencer, a senior at Cheektowaga who will wrestle at national power Iowa State next year, is the Prep Talk Player of the Year for wrestling. 

The 2012 state champion went 38-0 with 27 pins before a knee injury ended his senior year just prior to the postseason. He was the champion at tournaments at Spencerport, Palmyra, Cheektowaga as well as the Niagara Frontier Wrestling Officials Association tournament and the ECIC Championships (where he hurt his knee). 

His career record was 188-13 with 97 pins, graduating with school records for most wins, most wins in a season (we went 47-0 last year) and was second in career pins (84 to 2009 grad Jared Messina's 104).

After the season, Rodriguez-Spencer was able to compete -- to say the least -- at the National High School Coaches Association tournament in Virginia Beach, Va., where he won a second straight national title and became the first wrestler in the history of the tournament to earn multiple Most Outstanding Wrestler honors.

He defeated Niko Villareal of Gilroy High in California in overtime, 8-6, in the 145-pound final this year. Last year he earned national attention by winning the junior tournament in the final seconds with a "flying squirrel" move.

Last year I did a story -- which is accompanied by a great graphic designed by Andrea Zagata -- on Rodriguez-Spencer's "flying squirrel" move and his career to that point.

He appeared on PrepTalkTV this year to discuss his career and his future at Iowa State (videos embedded below).

* * *

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 June 16 event.

The list:

Continue reading "Prep Talk Player of the Year for wrestling: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, Cheektowaga" »

#PrepTalkLive from Championship Friday: Middle Early College, Randolph, Sherman win titles

By Keith McShea

Championship Week continues in boys basketball today and I'll be at Jamestown Community College for three games in what is usually a fantastic environment: Class D final at 5:30 p.m. (Sherman vs. Panama); C-2 final at 7 (Randolph vs. Maple Grove) and C-1 final at 8:30 (Middle Early College vs. Silver Creek).

The girls tournament also continues with the AA semifinals at Kenmore West. 

There is also some key action going on throughout the state as it is the first day of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in wrestling (at Albany's Times-Union Center) and boys swimming (at the Webster Aquatic Center).

As always, we'll certainly be looking forward to your #PrepTalkLive updates from these contests via Twitter. 

Our scoreboard page has a full schedule of tonight's games -- that same page will have box scores as games are reported to us throughout the evening.

Keep track of the action and contribute to it as well in the blog below -- the easiest way to do that is to tweet updates with the #PrepTalkLive hashtag.

We set up blogs like this throughout the winter, especially on busy nights -- we'll monitor games via not only our tweets, but those of high school sports fans and followers who use the #preptalklive hashtag.

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

PrepTalkTV: Cheektowaga wrestling standout Rodriguez-Spencer & an old friend co-hosts

By Keith McShea

Cheektowaga senior wrestler Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer, an All-American and state champion who is headed to Iowa State, will join us on PrepTalkTV tonight along with his coach Matt Haberl, and a special guest co-host appearance by former News reporter Lauren Burroughs (you'll remember her last name as Mariacher in her PrepTalkTV days). We'll get started at 7:30.

You can watch the show live here or at the BuffaloNews.com home page. After the show the complete broadcast segments will be posted here.

The live show will be again be followed shortly thereafter by a live chat in which we'll monitor tonight's action -- including the 9 p.m. Federation hockey game between Williamsville North and St. Joe's -- through the #PrepTalkLive hashtag on Twitter. As always, we'll discuss anything in the world of high school sports -- or our coverage of it.

Please be patient in the chat. I promise I'll get to all questions. 

Cheektowaga's Rodriguez-Spencer & the 'Flying Squirrel'

By Keith McShea and Lauren Mariacher

Today's Prep Talk feature story takes a look at outstanding Cheektowaga wrestler Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer and the move known as the "Flying Squirrel" that he pulled off to win a National High School Coaches Association wrestling championship last month at Virginia Beach.

* * *

Below, watch Rodriguez-Spencer's match-winning move against Alfred Bannister of Maryland, who entered the match the country's fifth-ranked junior at 138 pounds. Rodriguez-Spencer, who moved up from his state championship weight of 132, was trailing before the forward-flip move with 10 seconds left helped him to a 4-3 victory.

The move earned him a national Junior Class (11th graders) title as well as the Most Outstanding Wrestler award for the juniors' meet. 

Check it out here in video uploaded by allsportswny:

Continue reading "Cheektowaga's Rodriguez-Spencer & the 'Flying Squirrel'" »

Watch Rodriguez-Spencer go 'Flying Squirrel' to national title

By Keith McShea

I ran out of room way too quickly in Wednesday's PrepTalk -- I was only able to mention what happened: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer of Cheektowaga won a national title at the National High School Coaches Association wrestling championships at Virginia Beach. That is major enough, but it was how he did it. 

Watch Rodriguez-Spencer's "flying squirrel" move to beat Alfred Bannister of Maryland, the country's fifth-ranked junior at 138 pounds, by a 4-3 score. Rodriguez-Spencer, who moved up from his state championship weight of 132, was trailing before the forward-flip move with 10 seconds left.  

The move earned him a national Junior Class (11th graders) title as well as the Most Outstanding Wrestler award for the juniors' meet. 

Check it out here in video uploaded by allsportswny:

Continue reading "Watch Rodriguez-Spencer go 'Flying Squirrel' to national title" »

Video: PrepTalk TV highlights of EVERY Section VI wrestling champion

We put together some highlights from the Section VI Wrestling Championships that were held at the University at Buffalo Sunday. Every Section VI Champ (large and small schools) is represented in video:

 

Blow to Olympic wrestling hurts youth levels

By Lauren Mariacher

Tuesday was a sad day for a lot of people in the sports world. My Twitter feed was jammed with emotional tweets from wrestlers and wrestling fans fired up over the International Olympic Committee’s decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games.

My first reaction was not concern for the Olympics, or Olympic wrestlers. It was for kids. It was for high school wrestlers like the ones Keith McShea and I covered this weekend during the state qualifier meet at the University at Buffalo.

That is because in wrestling, it is not adults who drive the sport. It is the kids -- kids with dreams. Young wrestlers can’t dream like young football or basketball players can. There are no “professional wrestlers,” unless you’re talking about the fake stuff. When it comes to real competition on a mat, there are very few bright lights and big money contracts. So what do these kids dream of if not being a pro athlete?

Olympic medals.

Penn State senior wrestler David Taylor tweeted his reaction Tuesday: 

 

In wrestling, there is no bigger dream. The only thing better than an Olympic gold medal is two Olympic gold medals, but no Olympic medals? That is a hard concept to grasp for the wrestling community.

Continue reading "Blow to Olympic wrestling hurts youth levels" »

Live from the Section VI Wrestling Championships & PrepTalkTV video

By Keith McShea

Hello from the University at Buffalo and the Section VI Wrestling Championships -- great to have both Division I and II in one spot so we can bring you all of the action. Our head might be spinning a little, but we'll do our best with the live blog. 

I'll have match-by-match updates in the live blog below and I'll also be providing #preptalkscores updates on Twitter (those will also appear in the blog). 

Your tweets with the hashtag #preptalkscores are welcome -- they will appear in the live blog as well. Every night, scoring update tweets (in any sport) are welcome to those on Twitter -- just use the #preptalkscores hashtag.  

Check our scoreboard page for a complete schedule of tonight's action; the scoreboard will be updated as we receive game reports throughout the evening.

Here are the championship bouts:

Continue reading "Live from the Section VI Wrestling Championships & PrepTalkTV video" »

PrepTalkTV Weekly starred Cardinal O'Hara girls hoops; live chat talked seedings we're expecting

By Keith McShea

For this week's PrepTalkTV Weekly -- which you can see right here tonight at 9 -- we'll welcome a team fresh off one of the biggest wins in school history (and that's any sport). We'll have the Cardinal O'Hara girls team on one night after beating Sacred Heart in a battle of Western New York's No. 1s.

And yes, we said the team. Part of the reason that O'Hara is a great story -- besides its undefeated record -- is that there are just eight players on the team, so they'll all be on hand along with coach Dan McDermott. 

We'll have another loaded show of highlights from boys and girls hoops as well as hockey, wrestling and swimming -- including a couple of "[BN] The Locker Room" videos of coaches' pregame speeches. We'll also have more highlights in PrepTalkTV Rewind as well our weekly look at the boys basketball polls and a look ahead to this weekend and beyond.

As usual after PrepTalkTV Weekly, I'll have a live chat following the show.

Here's a rundown of the show:

0:00 -- Opening, discussion of McShea's Prep Talk column on Depew Boys & Girls Club
3:10 -- Interview with Cardinal O'Hara girls basketball team, including coach Dan McDermott, senior Leah McDonell and junior Keyonte Edwards
13:40 -- Clarence hockey's win over Frontier, featuring [BN] The Locker Room footage of coach Rick Brooks
18:30 -- Canisius boys swimming dominates St. Joe's to start strong weekend
21:45 -- Canisius boys basketball moves to No. 1 in The News poll and the state Class A poll; featuring [BN] The Locker Room with coach Kyle Husband from Friday's win at Timon
25:50 -- Look at this week's boys basketball polls
28:10 -- PrepTalkTV Rewind (St. Francis wrestling, Iroquois girls basketball, a special guest star on the Bucky & Sully show), followed by discussion of concussions in football and a mention of locals on National Signing Day
35:55 -- Discussion of this weekend's big championship wrestling meets
38:05 -- A look ahead to upcoming action from Thursday to Tuesday; closing.

Continue reading "PrepTalkTV Weekly starred Cardinal O'Hara girls hoops; live chat talked seedings we're expecting" »

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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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