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Bull Run Awards - Day 2: Recapping the Best of Winter Sports

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A few more obvious ones, a few that maybe you'll disagree with.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Day Two of the Bull Run Awards brings us to the winter sports. Of course, this includes both basketball teams, but also a number of standouts from Wrestling and Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving with whom you may be less familiar.

Wrestling Bull of the Year - Max Soria

JM: The wrestling team was in a transition year, and we all knew there would be growing pains with a largely inexperienced roster, and with the APR ban it just made things worse. But, through it all senior Max Soria was the anchor that held the program together through some choppy waters.

Max Soria - Wrestling

Max was the winningest and most consistent grappler for the Bulls, racking up a team high 21 victories. Max was consistently ranked in the top 25 in his weight class, and he also won championships at the Oklahoma Gold Classic, and the New York State Collegiate Championships. The championships and the high rankings throughout the year are what separated Soria from freshman standout Sean Peacock who had an excellent season in his own right, winning 19 bouts, good for second on the team.

Beyond being the winningest of all the grapplers on John Stutzman's squad, Soria's true value was in his leadership on and off the mat. Guiding the freshmen and setting a good example of how to prepare and how to give yourself to a program is a far greater accomplishment than any match Max has ever won.


Honorable Mention: Sean Peacock, Colt Cotten, Jason Estevez

Men's Basketball Bull of the Year - Justin Moss

JM: When you win MAC Player of the Year, lead the conference in scoring and rebounding, are named Honorable Mention All-America, and are on the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-America team it makes for a pretty easy decision when it came to our awards. Moss was seen by many in the national media as someone who seemingly came out of no where - stepping out from behind Javon McCrea's shadow and putting on a performance that rivaled McCrea; and becoming one of the country's most statistically improved players going from 3.8 points per game to 17.6 points per game, will get you noticed.

But, so will dunking on a future NBA lottery pick.

Moss may have been hobbled during the MAC tournament due to a bum ankle, but he still managed to rack up a double-double in the championship game, his MAC-leading 15th of the season. His dominance on both ends of the court was not matched by anyone.

Honorable Mention: Xavier Ford, Shannon Evans

Women's Basketball Bull of the Year - Kristen Sharkey

MG: I wrote just last week about the up and down year we got from the preseason MAC favorites, but through it all, there was Kristen Sharkey. A number of past contributors didn't have the same verve they once did, and UB got a jolt from some surprising places en route to their second-ever appearance in the MAC Semifinal and first-ever NIT bid, but no one was steadier or more critical to her team than senior Kristen Sharkey, robbed of First Team All-MAC recognition despite an unstoppable motor on offense and too many minutes working against double- and triple-teams.

The one we call #RIGHTSHARK (post-Super Bowl, at least - if Left Shark is this goony, out of rhythm schlub, Kristen is the exact opposite) finished the year leading UB in both points and rebounds. In UB's final 23 games, she failed to hit double-digit scoring in only six, and scored nine in five of those. She finishes her career ensconced on six different top-ten lists in the UB record books.

Honorable Mention: Stephanie Reid, Christa Baccas, Mackenzie Loesing

Men's Swimming and Diving Bull of the Year - Scott Huang

MG: Though swimming has team scoring and competitions, for something like this it's tougher to narrow down a single person. Few swimmers take on more than two different strokes competitively. On the Men's side, a young UB team went this year without a MAC Champion.

Despite the flash of speedsters Oliver Patrouch (now departed for Indiana), Itai De La Vega, and Antonio Lanzi, Scott Huang was the clear rock of the team this year, pacing the Bulls in the breaststroke events and finding a little bit of success at all opportunities: a school record, a pair of NCAA 'B' cuts, and Second Team All-MAC recognition. Consider that beyond the breaststroke, he was also UB's top performer in the 200 Individual Medley and only a sophomore, and there's really no one who can match the breadth of his resume.

Honorable Mention: Oliver Patrouch, Antonio Lanzi, Itai De La Vega, Jonathan Ekas

Women's Swimming and Diving Bull of the Year - Megan Burns

JM: Undefeated.

Megan Burns - Women's Swimming and Diving

Megan Burns - Women's Swimming and Diving

In every regular season event and at the MAC Championships Megan Burns, a true freshman, never lost a race in either the 50 or 100 freestyle. She won two individual MAC Championships in the 50 and 100, and another title in the 400 freestyle relay, and was named first team All-MAC.

I don't think such an incredible individual performance needs much more of an explanation.

Honorable Mention: Jessica Powers, Spencer Rodriguez