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This spring will mark the sixth year of the Borrelli Award, an honor that goes to the top senior boys and girls lacrosse players in Western New York.

The Tom Borrelli Memorial Award and Scholarship Fund was started by a group of us at The News following the 2008 death of our colleague, a Hall of Fame lacrosse writer who loved the sport at all levels.

Through the years, we have expanded the breadth of the award with one goal in mind: To associate the name of Tom Borrelli with the best in Western New York high school lacrosse.

This year, we take another major step with the first Borrelli Awards presented by the Buffalo Bandits, a banquet that will honor our traditional award winners as well as the All-Western New York first teams in boys and girls lacrosse.

The banquet will be held June 24 at Ilio DiPaolo’s starting at 6 p.m., and it will be supported by ADPRO Sports and The Buffalo News.

Borrelli, a St. Joe’s and Buffalo State graduate who covered the Buffalo Bandits since the team’s inception and was the first media member inducted into the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame, died in November 2008 following a tragic fall while covering a high school football game at All High Stadium.

For the first five years of the award, players were honored at the conclusion of a golf tournament warmly hosted by Holland Hills and organized by Borrelli committee chairman and fellow News reporter Bob DiCesare. The golf tournament was a major fundraiser for the Borrelli Scholarship Fund as we began with a boys award for the first two years before adding the girls honor in 2011.

In 2012, the “Ox” Awards were added, given to one senior boy and girl who possess the kind of talent, versatility, hard work, dedication and toughness displayed by Borrelli – whose nickname was “Ox” – in his 19-year career as a reporter and editor at The News.

Previous winners of the Borrelli Award among the boys were Jeff Tundo, Orchard Park (2009); Chris Kane, Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2010); Brian Sullivan, Bishop Timon-St. Jude (2011); Josh Babcock, Hamburg (2012); Zed Williams, Silver Creek (2013).

Girls winners were Julia Suriani, West Seneca East (2011); Spring Sanders, Nichols (2012); Megan Mikolajek, Hamburg (2013).

The “Ox” winners have been Nathan Gowen, Amherst (2012), and Max Maxwell, Hamburg (2013), on the boys side and Amanda Obenshain, Hamburg (2012), and twins Grace and Hannah Christiansen, Frontier (2013), for the girls.

To become a supporting sponsor of the Borrelli Awards banquet, or to contribute to the Borrelli Scholarship Fund, contact Bob DiCesare at bdicesare@buffnews.com.

Prep Talk countdown

Speaking of major year-ending events for Western New York high school sports, a countdown to the inaugural Prep Talk Awards banquet begins today on the Prep Talk blog.

Each day, a different Prep Talk Player of the Year will be spotlighted as we head toward the June 16 Prep Talk Awards at the Buffalo Hyatt Regency, which will feature guest speaker Andre Reed.

The Prep Talk Awards will honor the All-Western New York first teams in football and boys and girls basketball along with more than 30 Prep Talk Players of the Year in every other sport we cover.

Fall and winter Prep Talk Players of the Year, as well as All-WNY football and basketball first-teamers, have begun to be notified of their selection. The spring Prep Talk Players of the Year will be announced later in the season.

Tickets for the general public are $45 ($40 when three or more are purchased) and can be reserved by contacting Lisa Cislo at 849-5522.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the event; contact Ann Brooker at 849-4413 and abrooker@buffnews.com.

PrepTalkTV Thursday

Two of the Prep Talk Players of the Year will be part of the spring’s first edition of PrepTalkTV on Thursday night at 7:30 at buffalonews.com.

One will be announced during the day on the Prep Talk blog, the other will be unveiled on the show.

Class of 2014

The News’ annual Class of 2014 student-athlete list will be published soon at buffalonews.com.

The list will again include Western New York high school athletes who will continue their athletic careers in college – at any level. We compile the list from various trusted sources.

Please send information regarding college student-athletes – especially if the information has not been published by The News – to the email address below. Include the athlete’s name, sport, high school, college, level of college and any other pertinent information.

email: kmcshea@buffnews.com