Eight CHS student-athletes commit to colleges, and say thanks

Keith McShea


Eight Canisius High School seniors formally announced their college choices Wednesday in the Canisius High School Brady Conference Room. Each student-athlete also paid tribute to those who helped them throughout their career.

The group included four lacrosse players, three baseball players and a swimmer.

For the 2020-21 school year, 10% of the Canisius High senior class committed to play collegiate athletics; the national average is less than 2%. More signings will be announced throughout the school year. 

Here's a rundown of the signings and what each senior had to say Wednesday before Director of Athletics Jim Mauro, family, friends and schoolmates. 

Will Dunn of Buffalo
John Carroll University (lacrosse)

"First off I'd like to thank my mom and dad, none of this would be possible without you guys. ... Coach (Bruce) Popko, you've been with me since sixth grade, it means the world to me that you're still with me, I really appreciate it. Coach Murray, you too, you've been coaching me since I've been 9 years old.

"Coach Albert, I really don't know where this program would be without you. You work so hard day-in, day-out. The four of us really appreciate it. I'd like to thank the boys in the back for coming – and all my teammates, you guys are amazing, I love you all." 

* One of two Crusaders headed to the nationally-ranked Division III Blue Streaks, Dunn is a senior leader who is always supportive of his team. Crusader coaches are looking forward to seeing his impact on the team in the Spring 2022 season. 

Tommy Lynch of West Seneca
SUNY Cortland (baseball)

"I want to thank all the students and my teammates these past four years – they really made me craft my work to where I am now. I want to thank my mom and my dad for making sacrifices for me to go to all these tournaments, like far away in Georgia. I can't thank you guys enough.

"I'd like to thanks coach (Justin) Santonocito and coach (Dale) Podlas, they really crafted my work and helped me go to Cortland. I'd like to thank Mr. Mauro for getting our schedules out, even thought these past Covid years have been really hard. And thank all of you guys (students) for coming out." 

* First-team All-Catholic as a junior.

* The ace of the Crusaders’ staff.

* CHS coach Justin Santonocito: “Tommy can put the team on his back in any situation.”

* Named the Monsignor Martin Boys Volleyball co-Player of the Year after helping lead the Crusaders to their 22nd straight league title.

Victor Mazzara of Tonawanda
University at Albany (baseball) 

"I appreciate everybody's support, from my siblings, my parents – I definitely wouldn't be here without them. A lot of sacrifice they've put into me, getting me to where I am. I also want to thank my coaches, coach Podlas, coach Justin, helping me out along the way and helping me work on my game. Thank you everybody."

* Second-team All-Catholic as a junior

* CHS coach Justin Santonocito: “Complete game changer … Instincts are second to none. Vic is a great teammate and always has the dirtiest uniform on the team.”

* First team All-Catholic in soccer, helping lead Crusaders to regular season championship.

Billy Paladino of West Seneca
John Carroll University (lacrosse) 

"I just want to thank my family, friends, all my coaches -- Mike, Marty and especially Mr. Popko for getting me into this sport. I don't know if I'd be here without that. And thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way." 

* One of two Crusaders heading to the nationally-ranked Division III Blue Streaks.

* CHS coach Michael Albert: “Has as much upside as anyone I have ever coached.”

* Crusaders’ standout at right attack is the team’s only four-year starter and set to have a big spring season and, Albert says, “his experience will be vital to our success.”

Drew Podlas of Orchard Park
Canisius College (baseball) 

"I would like to thank Canisius High School for teaching me how to work hard, and to set goals, and that with a lot of work you can achieve those goals. I'd like to thank Coach Justin for always having confidence in me on the ballfield.

"I want to thank my parents, especially my father for coaching me all those years – everything I know about the game comes from him. All the road trips that we've taken though all the tournaments we played – that doesn't go unnoticed, all the time and effort that you put in for me to get to this point. Mom, thank you for all the support all throughout these years."  

* Second-team All-Catholic as a junior.

* CHS coach Justin Santonocito: “Great competitor with high motor who goes 100% on every pitch. … Drew has a well-balanced skill set. He can positively impact the game in multiple ways.”

Walker Popko of Buffalo
Stony Brook University (lacrosse) 

"I'd like to thank my parents, my dad really nurtured the love for the game, and my mom ... we drove back and forth to Long Island six or seven times this summer.

"Coach Albert, I don't even know where to begin. You trusted me as a freshman to join the team. The hardest-working man I know, day in and day out you're always there for us, all four of us here. My gratitude to you and all (teammates) is just through the roof. Also, shoutout to all the boys for coming. Thank you guys, I truly appreciate it, and Go Seawolves." 

* First-team All-Catholic as a junior.

* CHS team captain.

* Headed to nationally-ranked Division I Seawolves.

* CHS coach Michael Albert: “Walker is a tall, athletic, lefty sniper. … He has put in a significant amount of work and that attracted much interest from colleges.”

* Walker will join Dan Newton ’19 with the Stony Brook next fall.

Ryan Spiesz of Hamburg
Mercyhurst University (lacrosse) 

"I want to thank, firstly, my mom and dad. They believed in me all these years. They put me through countless sports that I tried, and failed, mostly. But the long trips to Long Island and Delaware this summer, mom, I wouldn't trade for the world. And Dad, just believing in me and getting me the right equipment and always keeping me down-to-earth whenever I'm having a bad day. 

"Coach Albert, and all the Canisius coaches, I can't thank you guys enough for believing in me all these years, even when I didn't believe in myself. You guys kept me pushing and kept me committed. I want to thank all the boys from coming out today. Love you guys. And Go Lakers." 

* Headed to the Division II Lakers, who are ranked second in the nation.

* CHS coach Michael Albert: “With his continued commitment to the CHS Lax process, Ryan impressed Mercyhurst with his academic and athletic ability. … In the last 3-1/2 years, Spiesz has showed character, academic success and pride for our school. These qualities will continue to help him as he grows.”

Matt Woyksnar of Niagara Falls
Iona College (swimming) 

"I want to thank my parents for always being there for me and always believing in me and always trying to come to my meets. Without them I don't think I'd even be at this school, or in the position I am in today.

"I would love to thank the swim team, for always pushing me to try my hardest at swim meets. In swim there's a lot of highs and lows, and I'm just really grateful for them for pushing me all the way to be who I am. Thank you." 

* Junior season: Undefeated in dual-meet competition (no All-Catholics due to Covid).

* Sophomore season: All-Catholic champion in 100 freestyle as well as the 200 and 400 free relays; state qualifier in those and the 200 free.

* Freshman season: All-Catholic champion in 200 and 100 free as well as the 200 and 400 free relays; at states was the third-fastest ninth-grader in the 200 free.

Support Canisius for the holidays via the CHSPA Poinsettia & Wreath Sale

Beautify your home this holiday season and support Canisius High School programs at the same time. 

The Canisius High School Parents Association's annual Holiday Poinsettia & Wreath Sale continues through Monday.

Locally grown poinsettia plants and hand-made holiday wreaths are available for purchase, with all proceeds going to CHS Campus Ministry programs. 

A Power Play for Others: Three CHS grads skating in marathon hockey game

On Sunday, 40 people will attempt to play hockey in downtown Buffalo for 11 straight days, raising money to fight cancer as part of the fifth edition of the 11-Day Power Play. 

Not surprisingly, three of those literally living in the rink will be “Men for Others.” 

Three Canisius High School graduates will be on the ice for up to 10 hours a day, around the clock, from start to finish: Peter Merlo ’88 and Michael Meade ’87 will play while Mark Paradowski ’99 will be one of three officials skating regular shifts, just like the players. When they’re not part of the game, they’ll be sleeping on temporary beds a few steps from the rink at Buffalo Riverworks.

Eight CHS student-athletes commit to colleges, and say thanks

Eight Canisius High School seniors formally announced their college choices Wednesday in the Canisius High School Brady Conference Room. Each student-athlete also paid tribute to those who helped them throughout their career.

The group included four lacrosse players, three baseball players and a swimmer.

For the 2020-21 school year, 10% of the Canisius High senior class committed to play collegiate athletics; the national average is less than 2%. More signings will be announced throughout the school year. 

Drive-thru food drive at Canisius on Saturday morning  

Western New Yorkers will be lining up at a different kind of drive-thru Saturday as Canisius High School collects donations of food for those in need this holiday season.

The public is encouraged to donate non-perishable food items from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 at the school at 1180 Delaware Ave.

All donations will benefit St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, which cares for the poor and abandoned in Western New York. Soon after food is donated on Delaware Ave. on Saturday morning, Canisius student and staff volunteers will transport the items to St. Luke’s on Walden Ave.

Great Ignatian Challenge food drive kicks off at Canisius on Tuesday

A food drive which aims to collect tons of provisions for Buffalonians in need will kick off Tuesday at Canisius.

The Great Ignatian Challenge, in which Canisius participates in a friendly – but spirited – competition with other Jesuit high schools across the Northeast to provide food to the needy for the holiday season, will be held from Tuesday, Oct. 26 to Friday, Nov. 19. 

Food collected by Canisius during the drive will go to St. Luke's Mission of Mercy. Non-perishable food can be donated at CHS on school days (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.). 

Canisius will also be hosting a drive-thru food drop-off event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6. 

Tyrpak-Endres to conclude her tenure as Canisius principal 

Andrea Tyrpak-Endres, who is in her eighth year as principal and executive vice president for academics at Canisius High School, has decided to conclude her tenure as principal at the end of the 2021-22 academic year, Canisius President Fr. David S. Ciancimino, S.J., announced Friday morning. 

Tyrpak-Endres, the first female principal in the 151-year history of Canisius, will continue to teach religion at the school.

Tyrpak-Endres has taught for more than 35 years at Canisius, including throughout her tenure as principal.

"I am grateful for Andrea, her dedication to our mission and her care for our Canisius High School community," said Ciancimino. 

Luke LoTempio '22 named National Merit Scholarship semifinalist

Luke LoTempio '22 has been named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. 

The semifinalists were announced Wednesday by the National Merit Scholarship Company, and the 16,000 who are being honored represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.  

"Being selected as a semi-finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program is a reflection of the effort I have put into my work," said LoTempio. "It reminds me to continue to do my best."

Dr. Renier Brentjens '85 named Roswell Park deputy director, chair of medicine

Dr. Renier Brentjens '85 has come back to Buffalo for "the opportunity of a lifetime." 

Brentjens has been named the Deputy Director and Chair of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Roswell Park describes Brentjens as "one of the most influential and accomplished figures in the field of cancer immunotherapy."

Matthew Cady named Canisius cross country/track coach

Matthew Cady is joining Canisius High School as the new head coach for cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

Cady brings a wealth of academic and athletic experience to Canisius, where he will also be a physical education and health teacher.

Cady, who has a doctorate from Penn State, competed at Syracuse University in both cross country and track for four years before going on to coach both sports at the University of Pittsburgh for two years.

Two Jesuit novices who worked at CHS profess first vows

Two Jesuit novices who spent a year at Canisius High School prior to their novitiate pronounced their first vows this past weekend. 

Christian Zombek, SJ, and Mario Verde, SJ, professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience Saturday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse. They were two of five men in the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus to end their time as novices and officially become Jesuit scholastics. 

At Canisius, Zombek and Verde worked with teachers, helped with service projects and traveled to retreats during the 2019-20 academic year.

First page of the PDF file: longestbasketball

Nine different Canisius High School alumni representing five different graduating classes were part of a basketball world record set this week in Buffalo.

The former Crusaders were part of teams that played round-the-clock basketball across six days at Nardin Academy, setting a world record in an event titled “The World’s Longest Basketball Game.”

The game, which included a mix of men and women among its 23 players, was held from August 6-11, setting a new record of 120 hours, 2 minutes.

Canisius principal Tyrpak-Endres again a Power 200 Women pick

For the third straight year, Canisius High School principal and executive vice president Andrea Tyrpak-Endres has been named one of Western New York’s most talented and influential women.

Tyrpak-Endres, who is entering her seventh year as principal at Canisius, was named this week to Buffalo Business First’s 2021 list of Power 200 Women.

She is No. 119 on the list, in which reporters and editors at Buffalo Business First rank “a group whose talent and influence fuel economic, social and cultural growth.”