Historically at UB, spring is the 'down period' of the athletic year. Even bad seasons from football and basketball can draw more eyes than any of the spring sports, who have had trouble gaining publicity even with top-flight student athletes like Tom Murphy and Rob Golabek in the past.
If you've been paying attention to Khalil Mack and nothing else for a few weeks, I can hardly blame you. But trust me; there's a lot of good stuff happening in UB Athletics that doesn't involve trips to Indianapolis and New York. It would be impossible to do a roundup of the whole spring, but enjoy some highlights:
Softball, as you know thanks to this piece by Conrad, is having a pretty good year. Their 27 regular season wins are the most since 2000, and they head into this week's MAC Tournament as the East Division Champions.
Leading the way for the Bulls are Holly Luciano, Sammi Gallardo, and ace pitcher Tori Speckman, who has two no hitters from the mound this year, accounting for half of the no-nos in UB school history.
It's tough to do write-ups on Track and Field meets, but the squad has several weekends left in their season and has already accounted for numerous school records on the season:
Women's Distance Medley Relay (2.5 miles): 11:49.88
Men's Distance Medley Relay: 9:53.31
Men's 4x100 meter Relay: 40.29 seconds
Tyler Scheving, 800 meters: 1:50.21
Tyler Scheving, 1500 meters: 3:49.16 - (equivalent to a ~4:05 mile)
Evan Palmer, Hammer Throw: 211'8" (70 yards)
Jon Jones, Shot Put: 65' 2 1/4" (nearly the distance from home plate to the pitching rubber on a baseball diamond)
While no one has quite yet caught any of the long distance school records, it would be wrong to dismiss MAC Cross Country champion Zach Ahart, who has put together outdoor season highs of 15:07 in the 5K and 30:48 in the 10K
Both Tennis teams came out of successful regular seasons to make deep runs into their conference tournaments, but unfortunately neither were able to bring a trophy back to Amherst. After compiling a 15-6 record in the regular season - the most wins since 2006-07, the Women's Tennis team fell in the MAC Semifinal match. Senior Anamaria Candanoza was named to the All-Tournament team.
The men's side of the ledger features one of UB's most successful teams of the 2013-14 year. The Bulls advanced to the MAC title match before falling in heartbreaking fashion, 4-3 to Ball State. This wasn't a match where Ball State earned the clinching fourth point earlier in the day, either. Going into the final event the teams were tied 3-3 before UB fell in a third set tiebreaker. Akhil Mehta and Jonathan Hannestad were named to the All-Tournament team for Buffalo.
Last but not least, Women's Rowing retained their own Nan Harvey Cup for the eighth straight time. Their ninth consecutive title came with an Ontario Sandwich win over Eastern Michigan in the annual home meet.
As I said on Last Bull In yesterday evening, the Danny White effect is more than just Bobby Hurley or the continuity of keeping Jeff Quinn, and it's more than the marketing behind #NYBI and more butts in the seats. We're already seeing it pay dividends across the board in Athletics, and with two more White hires set to make their Buffalo debuts in the coming fall season, we can only hope the momentum keeps rolling. Go Bulls!