Six from area to be honored at 70th Rochester Press-Radio Club Day of Champions Dinner

By on March 4, 2019

National Football League Most Valuable Player and Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the Sports Personality of the Year, but six others from the area will also be honored at the 70th Rochester Press-Radio Club Day of Champions Dinner to be held at the Riverside Convention Center April 3.

Cierra Dillard of Gates Chili High School will receive the Amateur Athlete Award, Ricky Palermo of Byron-Bergen High School the Donald Holleder Award for lifetime character, courage and achievement; retiring Holley wrestling coach John Grillo the Charlie Wagner Award which is given to the local person who has contributed through the years to local sports, Gates resident and Northstar Christian Academy product Miles Brown is the High School Male Athlete of the Year, Spencerport’s Erin Coykendall the High School Female Athlete of the Year and Greece native Shawn Nally will be honored with the Rich Funke Jr. Award for college male athletes.

Dillard, a senior guard for the University at Buffalo women’s basketball team, is averaging almost 25 points per game for the Bulls to lead the Mid-American conference heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

The three-sport Byron Bergen athlete, Palermo began The Ricky Palermo Foundation as a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for The Miami Project, which is researching a cure for paralysis. The group is naming one of their wings the “Ricky Palermo and Palermo Family Foundation Spinal Cord Injury Research Wing.” Injured in a car accident in the early 1980’s, he has been tireless in raising awareness and funds to support those afflicted by paralysis.

Grillo just completed his wrestling coaching career, which began in Pavilion and ended after 12 years in Pavilion and has been leading the Hawks successful wrestling program for more than 30 years. He was named a National Coach of the Year finalist, was named Genesee Region Coach of the Year 16 times and Section V Coach of the Year six times. Heading into this past season, his Holley wrestlers have won 22 Genesee Region League titles and 12 Section V championships. He has more than 780 career wins.

Northstar senior guard Miles Brown, who has been playing with the varsity squad since eighth-grade, broke the all-time scoring record in Section V boys basketball previously held by former Dansville guard Neal Weidman since 1993 of 2,441. He is a three-time Section V Most Valuable Player (as of this writing prior to the finals in 2019), a 2017 Class C All-State selection and 2018 New York State Player of the Year.

Coykendall has helped lead the Spencerport Rangers girls soccer team to two New York State titles and a berth last season in the Section V girls lacrosse Class B final after leading the team with 68 assists and 114 points last spring. The senior was named MaxPreps National Athlete of the Year in 2017-18. She will compete in college lacrosse for Northwestern University this fall.

Nally, who grew up in Greece but attended McQuaid, was a USILA Fran McCall Award recipient honoring Division III’s most outstanding midfielder, a USILA First Team All-American selection and first team All-Liberty League selection after his breakout season for RIT men’s lacrosse. The then-junior finished tied for second on team in scoring last spring with 63 points on 30 goals and 33 assists. He was second on team and Liberty League in assists in helping the Tigers advance to the NCAA semi-finals for the second consecutive season.

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