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Bull Run Awards 2016: Team and Overall Bulls of the Year

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This is the second year of the Bull Run Awards, which we started after the 2014-15 season, our first covering each and every UB team. As last year, the Awards will be spread out over five days, covering each of the three seasons and two day's worth of special awards:

Day 1 - Wednesday: Fall Sports
Day 2 - Thursday: Winter Sports
Day 3 - Friday: Spring Sports
Day 4 - Saturday: Coach of the Year, Men's and Women's Rookie of the Year, Clutch Moment of the Year
Day 5 - Sunday: Team of the Year, Men's Overall Bull of the Year, Women's Overall Bull of the Year

Team of the Year - Men's Basketball

Women's Sports Bull of the Year

Team of the Year

The choice of team of the year very much mirrored the choice for Coach of the Year, and my sentiments regarding Nate Oats hold for the basketball team as a whole. They had an underwhelming at best out-of-conference showing, with a few early losses to St. Joes and Old Dominion making fans wonder if this team would finish .500. Then, MAC play rolled around and the Bulls outplayed expectations straight into the MAC tournament where they won the program's 2nd straight title. With all due respect to the Women's team, they had a wonderful season in their own right, especially in the postseason, becoming the first 8-seed to win a MAC title, but the Men's team's performance in the regular season gave them the edge and with the situation that faced Coach Oats, they get the nod. -John McWhinnie

Eked out last year by Women's Soccer's incredible unity and run through the MAC under a former-assistant-cum-first-year head coach, Men's Basketball upped the ante again this year, pulling a championship not just on the heels of the year prior, but on the heels of one of the most tumultuous offseasons imaginable. The emotional leaders (Regan and Ford) were gone. The scoring leaders (Moss and Evans) were gone. The expected reinforcements (O'Field, Graham, Navigato) were gone. The coach was gone. At one point this team was 7-7. They lost two of their three regular season games. But they pulled it together, and did it all with a group of classy guys and a class coach who are easy to root for. -Matt Gritzmacher

Honorable Mention: Men's Soccer, Women's Basketball, Wrestling

Men's Sports Bull of the Year - Russell Cicerone, Men's Soccer

Last season this choice was a no-brainer with Jon Jones on the heels of winning UB's first-ever Division I National Championship but this season the answer was not as clear-cut. Russell Cicerone ended up getting the nod because of his pure domination on the pitch, and earning the program's first MAC Player of the Year honor since Steve Butcher back in 1999 (I was 5 years old then, folks). While Vinny Mallaro, Justin Patrick and Mason Miller all had dominant seasons in their own right, none quite owned the competition like Cicerone did. -John McWhinnie

No one's ever going to be as clear-cut as Jon Jones in 2015 ("No one else considered."), but unlike John I had no pause in putting Cicerone at the top of this list. UB's only MAC Player of the Year in 2015-16, the junior just made things happen over and over again, from free kicks and from the run of play. We can shout scoring totals all we want, but Russ was impactful on a national scale, finishing sixth in the nation in total points and fifth in points per game. Expect a ton of attention directed his way in the fall. -Matt Gritzmacher

Honorable Mention: Justin Patrick, Mason Miller, Vinny Mallaro

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

Women's Sports Bull of the Year

A runner-up for the award last season, Burns gets the nod this season over a very close battle with Softball freshman Katie Weimer. However, Burns' lightning fast times at the MAC Championships and her qualification to the NCAA tournament was enough in my eyes to give her the nod over Weimer. -John McWhinnie

Burns not only qualified for Nationals to etch herself into a continued line of Women's Swimming and Diving greats (had we been doing this for longer, Brittney Kuras would be a multiple-time BOTY winner.), but she did it in two events. UB found three new school records on the women's side this season, and Burns was a part of two (50 free and the 800 free relay). With two years of eligibility remaining, she's already top-three in UB history in four other events: the 100 and 200 free individually, and the 200 and 400 free relays. She's dominant.  -Matt Gritzmacher

Honorable Mention: Joanna Smith, Kassidy Kidd, Katie Weimer

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The summer football countdown is already underway, Bulls in the pros are going strong, and we'll start the summer Olympic sports countdown shortly as well. Thanks for joining us for another year!