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2017 Bull Run Awards: Best of UB’s Winter Sports

Another tumultuous year has passed, which means it’s time for the annual Bull Run Awards

UB Athletics

This is the third year of the Bull Run Awards, which we started after the 2014-15 season, our first covering each and every UB team. As always 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, Fan Favorite ——-> VOTE HERE

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*

UB Athletics

After becoming one of the most integral parts to UB’s championship season last year, Blake Hamilton was tasked with an even bigger role this time around. UB lost their starting point guard, causing head coach Nate Oats and co. to move Hamilton to the top of the key in a point-forward role and lead the team this season.

Although there were growing pains for Hamilton at that role, by the end of the season we were seeing the best UB basketball since Nate Oats came to Buffalo as an assistant coach. Hamilton put in the work to make the Bulls competitive and if it wasn’t for a few bad refs, he might have another MAC Championship ring on his finger.

Honorable Mentions: Dontay Caruthers, David Kadiri, CJ Massinburg**, Christian Pino

*2016 Winner

**2016 Honorable Mention

Women’s Basketball- JoAnna Smith*

UB Athletics

She had a slower start than the year before, but UB’s depth may be to blame. Regardless, if the Bulls went without JoAnna Smith this year, the odds of winning any game would sharply decrease. Smith’s consistent dominance has been a staple of the past two years of UB Basketball and I don’t think any fan will truly appreciate what she’s done until next season when she’s not on the court.

JoAnna is the type of player that will elevate the players on the floor around her. She had the green light to take any shot, but you didn’t see reckless shots hurled towards the basket. If there wasn’t a good shot, Smith passed it back to her floor general—selflessness at its best. When the best player on your team is unselfish, you’re going to win a lot of games, and Smith did just that.

Honorable Mentions: Stephanie Reid***, Cassie Oursler**, Theresa Onwuka, Summer Hemphill

*2016 Winner

**2016 Honorable Mention

***2015 and 2016 Honorable Mention

Wrestling- Bryan Lantry

UB Athletics

Continuing the Stutzman Renaissance of UB Wrestling, Bryan Lantry lead the way for the Bulls this year. Finishing with a 22-8 record this season, Lantry took his talents all the way to the NCAA Championships and was a sudden victory away in overtime from becoming only the second Bull to receive Division I All-American status.

But Lantry’s season isn’t painted by a single day at the NCAA Championships. Only once did he lose a match to someone who wasn’t in the top-30 of the 133 weight class rankings and by the time conference season was upon him, he was collecting wins left and right. With two more years of eligibility, there’s plenty of time for Lantry to reach even greater heights.

Honorable Mentions: Jake Gunning**, Kyle Akins***

**2016 Winner

***2016 Honorable Mention

Men’s Swimming and Diving- Mason Miller*

UB Athletics

There’s no argument for anyone not named Mason Miller. Helping the Bulls to an array of podiums at the MAC Championships last year, Mason cleaned house in the final season for UB Men’s SwimDive.

So let’s just list out what he did at the MACCs because it’ll be faster than for me to argue why he was the best on the team this year:

  • THREE Individual MAC Championships (50 free, 100 free, 50 fly)
  • Winning member of the 400 free relay
  • Winning member of the 200 medley relay
  • Winning member of the 400 medley relay
  • All-MAC recipient

Oh, and he was named the MAC’s most outstanding swimmer.

Honorable Mentions: Hudson Carroll, Itai De La Vega**

*2016 Winner

**2015 and 2016 Honorable Mention

Women’s Swimming and Diving- Megan Burns*

UB Athletics

You see that photo above this sentence? Yeah, that’s what the word “dominance” looks like. Megan Burns continues to add to the trophy shelf and the history books in her time at UB. Again, let me list just a small portion of what she did this year:

  • THREE individual MAC titles (50 free for the third straight year, 100 free, 200 free)
  • Winning member of the 800 free relay
  • Winning member of the 200 free relay
  • 23rd at the NCAA Championships in both the 50 free and 100 free

Oh, and she was the MAC’s most outstanding swimmer.

Honorable Mentions: Abbey Croce, Hannah Miller, Sarah Baxter**

*2015 and 2016 Winner

**2016 Honorable Mention

***

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