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Bull Run Awards 2016: Best of this year's UB Winter Sports

2015-16 is all wrapped up, which means before we really get into previewing 2016-17, it's time to look back at the best of the year behind us with the Bull Run Awards.

UB Athletics

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

Winter Sports

Men's Basketball - Blake Hamilton

After committing to Nate Oats in May after stops at Northern Arizona and Mt. San Antonio College, Hamilton was seen as a possible 6th man and key reserve off the bench. Little did we know that he would take the reigns and blossom into UB's most consistent player. Hamilton was second on the team in scoring with 13.1 PPG, and first in rebounds per game with 7.1.

It was a tough battle between Hamilton, freshman sensation CJ Massinburg and Lamonte Bearden, but, Hamilton's consistency throughout the course of the entire season pushed him over the edge and got him the nod.

Oh, and he also did this:

John McWhinnie

Honorable Mention: CJ Massinburg, Lamonte Bearden

Women's Basketball - Joanna Smith

There were glimmers at the end of last season, but I think few expected Joanna Smith to reach First Team All-MAC in her junior year. Scoring 18.3 points a game, Smith brought star power and consistent double-digit scoring to a young team that desperately needed a leader. Third in the MAC in scoring and three-pointer, Smith broke Brenna Doty's single-season UB mark with 100 triples on the season (though on 73 more attempts) while also playing the most minutes of any player in program history. The icing on the cake? Just shy of 20 points per game in five postseason contests, including 23 both against Central Michigan in the MAC Championship and against Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament, the latter in only 26 minutes. -Matt Gritzmacher

Honorable Mention: Stephanie Reid**, Cassie Oursler

**2015 Honorable Mention

Wrestling - Jake Gunning and Justin Patrick

Matt and I wanted to avoid to co-winners as much as possible but this was a unanimous agreement between Gunning and Patrick. Gunning, a redshirt-freshman, helped lead the charge in UB's most successful season in recent memory, hitting double digit team wins for the first time in over a decade. Gunning led the main team in dual meet wins with 12 and had the highest finish at the MAC Championships finishing as the runner-up at 285 pounds; he was also UB's first finalist since the 2012 season.

Patrick may be a lesser known name because he was on his redshirt year but that doesn't mean his year was any less significant. He earned a stellar 28-6 record along with several tournament championships including: a New York State Championship, and a national championship at the National Collegiate Open, considered by many to be the best tournament for redshirt wrestlers. - John McWhinnie

Honorable Mention: Kyle Akins, Joe Ariola

*2015 Winner **2015 Honorable Mention

Men's Swimming and Diving - Mason Miller

There are a ton of big names on the Men's side this year, but our voting system asks for three nominees, and each voter provided the same three. Nick Rodriguez set a new school record in the 1-meter dive, and Itai De La Vega in the 100 Breast to go with Miller's UB mark in the 100 Fly, but it was Miller's performance at the MAC Championships that really iced this in our eyes: Swimming in seven events, Miller helped UB to first, second, and two third-place finishes in his four relays, and won a pair of individual events while making the A Final and finishing sixth in a third. . - Matt Gritzmacher

Honorable Mention: Nick Rodriguez, Itai De La Vega**

**2015 Honorable Mention

Women's Swimming and Diving - Megan Burns*

Our winner from a year ago, Burns continued her utter domination in the pool in her sophomore year, culminating in two individual and one relay MAC title and qualifying for the NCAA Championships in two events. Burns torched the competition in the 50 Freestyle, winning by over four tenths of a second, while she also had a dominating performance in the 100 freestyle race, winning by nearly an entire second. In the process she broke Mallory Morrell's blazing school record in the 100 free.

Burns has only completed her sophomore year, but she is quickly becoming one of the most dominant athletes at UB. - John McWhinnie

Honorable Mention: Jess Powers**, Sarah Baxter

*2015 Winner **2015 Honorable Mention

***

Congrats to the honorees on great seasons! Stay tuned tomorrow for the Spring Sports Awards!