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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:

 

Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls track & field: Jess Dhaliwall, Grand Island

(Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

By Keith McShea

This has been called the "Year of the Throwers" in Western New York track and field.

And Jess Dhaliwall of Grand Island is a major reason why.

Dhaliwall won the state championship in the discus last weekend, capping off an outstanding senior season and career that also includes her being named the Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls track and field.

At the Section VI championships, Dhaliwall won the discus as well as the shot put, continuing a top-of-the-state rivalry with Lancaster's McKenzie Kuehlewind, the Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls indoor track. 

Keuhlewind finished first in the shot put at the state outdoor meet, with Dhaliwall second. Dhaliwall won the Section VI indoor title in the shot put before also finishing second to Kuehlewind at the state indoor meet. 

As juniors, Dhaliwall won the Section VI outdoor title in the discus over Kuehlewind; Kuehlewind won the shot put over Dhaliwall.

Dhaliwall is one of several local throwers (along with Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys indoor track, Devon Patterson of Williamsville South) headed to the University at Buffalo next year.

Her planned roomate at UB? Kuehlewind. 

She talked about her 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:

 

Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys track & field: Teddy Okon, Clarence

By Keith McShea

Photo from Twitter.His Twitter handle is @Ted_jumps. And he sure does. 

Teddy Okon of Clarence is the Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys track and field for being at the top of his game throughout his career. 

Okon won the Section VI high jump and finished fifth at the state meet after having the best mark in the state for much of the season. He also won the Division I triple jump.

In indoor track, he won the last two Section VI high jump championships. He was also a second-team All-ECIC selection in volleyball.

He owns the Clarence records in the high jump and triple jump and is headed to Binghamton on a scholarship.

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:

Five finalists for Prep Talk Coach of the Year unveiled

By Keith McShea

For the last few weeks, we have been counting down to the inaugural Prep Talk Awards on June 16 -- a week from tonight -- with a daily blog post on one of the 31 Prep Talk Players of the Year (that's one for every sport outside football and basketball). 

We're still counting down, but today is the coaches' day. 

Throughout the day, we'll be announcing the five finalists for Prep Talk Coach of the Year via the @bufnewspreptalk Twitter account, and we'll update this blog as well.

Finalists will be announced at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Prep Talk Player of the Year for girls rowing: Ashley Johnson, Clarence/West Side

By Keith McShea

Robert Kirkham (Buffalo News)As was the case with the Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys rowing, the honoree for girls rowing has a scheduling conflict with the Prep Talk Awards on June 16.

That scheduling conflict -- a date at USRowing's Youth Nationals in Sacramento, Calif. -- is part of the reason they are receiving the honor.

Our girls winner is Ashley Johnson, a Clarence student who competes in high school "club" competition out of West Side Rowing Club. Johnson is a member of West Side's varsity four, which won the state championship to earn a trip to nationals (boys winner Joseph Ebner of Canisius will also be at nationals with the Canisius varsity eight). 

Johnson has been in the important stroke seat of the four for much of the season. She owns the fastest erg (rowing machine) score in the boat despite competing with three herniated discs. She has been part of state championship boats not only this year but last year.

She will row for nationally-ranked Syracuse in the fall.

* * *

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:

#PrepTalkLive from state track meet & Far West Regional baseball

It's another big day in high school sports. Mary Jo Monnin and Taylor Nigrelli are at the state championships in track at Cicero-North Syracuse in the second of two days of action while correspondents Nick Veronica (Lancaster's AA game) and Dave DeLuca (Fredonia's B game) will be at Far West Regional baseball games.

We'll have our own #PrepTalkLive updates in the blog below, but we, as always, are looking forward to yours. 

Contribute updates and keep track of others in the blog. The easiest way to do provide updates is to tweet scores and big plays 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.

Prep Talk Player of the Year for boys rowing: Joseph Ebner, Canisius

By Keith McShea

Robert Kirkham (Buffalo News)Our two Prep Talk Players of the Year for rowing might have a problem attending the Prep Talk Awards on June 16, but they have a good excuse -- they're headed to USRowing's Youth Nationals in Sacramento, Calif. 

Our boys winner is Joseph Ebner of Canisius. He is part of the Crusaders' varsity eight, which qualified for nationals with a second-place finish at the New York State championships. Ebner is one of several rowers who are pushing the varsity eight to success despite technically being lightweight rowers. 

That was just the latest accomplishment for Ebner, who was lauded by his coaches for his outstanding work ethic and leadership, and whose rowing resume is filled with highlights: 

* He was part of a freshmen eight which was second at the U.S. Scholastic Nationals and was undefeated in all other local and regional competition. 

* As a junior he was part of a lightweight eight which won a state title, was second at the Canadian Nationals and was first in the B final at the U.S. Youth Nationals. 

* As a senior he was part of a top 15 finish out of 84 at the Head of the Charles, in addition to qualifying for nationals. 

Ebner will row for the University of Pennsylvania's excellent program next year, in their lightweight boat. 

We'll spotlight the girls rowing Prep Talk Player of the Year on Sunday.

* * *

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:

Katrina Buczkowski's PERFECT GAME (with VIDEO of final out) pushes Clarence to softball final four with Will South, Eden

By Keith McShea

SANBORN -- It was the perfect way to finish off a perfect day for Section VI softball at Niagara-Wheatfield. 

Section VI went 3-0 against its counterparts from Section V (Rochester area) on Friday, with the most impressive performance coming in the finale of the Far West Regional tripleheader. 

Clarence senior Katrina Buczkowski threw her first career no-hitter to lead the Red Devils to a 5-0 victory over Brockport in the Class AA game. 

Buczkowski struck out 13 and did not allow a ball to leave the infield. She also added a key RBI single during the Red Devils' five-run fifth against Brockport senior Julia DiMartino, who this week was named the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year for softball and who beat Clarence in last year's regional. 

Clarence will be joined by Williamsville South and Eden at next Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships at Moreau Recreational Park in South Glens Falls. 

#PrepTalkLive from state track meet & Far West Regional softball (Clarence, Will South, Eden win)

By Keith McShea

It's another big day in high school sports. I'll be back at Niagara-Wheatfield for the Far West Regionals in softball starting at 4 p.m., Mary Jo Monnin and Taylor Nigrelli are at the state championships in track at Cicero-North Syracuse in the first of two days of action.

We'll have our own #PrepTalkLive updates in the blog below, but we, as always, are looking forward to yours. 

Contribute updates and keep track of others in the blog. The easiest way to do provide updates is to tweet scores and big plays 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.

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:

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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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