By Tony Farina
The legacy of the late Buffalo News sportswriter Tom Borrelli came into focus again last week at the eighth annual Tom Borrelli Memorial Awards dinner at DiPaolo’s Restaurant in Blasdell honoring the best Western New York high school lacrosse players.
Tom “Ox” Borrelli died in November of 2008 following a tragic fall while covering a high school football game at All High Stadium and his colleagues at the Buffalo News created the Tom Borrelli Award and Scholarship Fund to honor his memory.
At Monday night’s dinner, retired Buffalo News political reporter George Borrelli called the event a major part of his son’s legacy and thanked sportswriters Buck Gleason, Bob DiCesare and Keith McShea for all their work in putting together the event.
Among the major winners at this year’s dinner were McKenna Rushford of Amherst (top senior girl) and Evan Hollfelder of Hamburg (top senior boy), winners of the 2016 Borrelli Award as the top senior lacrosse players in Western New York.
The 2016 All-Western New York girls’ lacrosse team selected by a panel of coaches included the following: Claire Herrman and Rebecca Izzo of Hamburg; Lexi Rockey, Frontier; Laura Skrzypczyk, West Seneca East; McKenna Rushford, Amherst; Jalyn Jimerson, Ivy Santana, and Shayla Scanlan, Lake Shore; Sydney Cerza, Clarence; Lindsay Hogan, Nichols; Anna Orglando and Riley Lucarelli, Lancaster; Grace Ruh, Orchard Park; and Jenna Haring, Lake Shore.
The boys’ team included: Gates Abrams and Owen Hill, Akron; Jason Chiodo, Evan Hollfelder, and Will Agate, Hamburg; Reid Martin and Bill Lafferty, Canisius; Evan Printup, Niagara-Wheatfield; Jack Lalley and Eric Deakin, St. Joe’s; Kevin McParlane, Josh Dahl, and Ron Shul, Orchard Park; and Tyler Manning, Bishop Timon-St. Jude.
DiCesare and McShea wrote a special note of thanks in the program to the primary corporate sponsors of the Borrelli Memorial Awards including the Buffalo Bandits, the Buffalo News, Jaros & Jaros and ADPRO Sports. The sponsors were recognized for their commitment and generosity in helping to recognize a greater number of players and their efforts at ensuring the foundation’s long-term viability.
It was truly a special night and while Tom’s widow, Karen Troxel Borrelli, was unable to make the trip from Tennessee where she has successfully completed treatment for breast cancer, Tom’s cousins and other relatives who came from California, Florida, Indiana, New York City, and nearby Orleans County were on hand to honor “Ox” and take part in the wonderful program along with Tom’s father, one of the finest journalists and people I have ever met. Let’s hope the Borrelli Awards continue as long as they play the wonderful sport of lacrosse in Western New York.