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Best of the Buffalo Bulls

Asst. Sports Editor

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11


Nick Fischetti /// The Spectrum

Junior running back Branden Oliver is named best male athlete.


Courtesy of UB Athletics

The men's tennis team takes home the award for best sports team at UB this year.


Courtesy of UB Athletics

Damien David is one of the finalists for newcomer of the year.


Courtesy of Rich Murray

Virginia transfer Will Regan, the winner of newcomer of the year, is eligible to play this year.


Reimon Bhuyan /// The Spectrum

Tanvi Shah wins the award for women's athlete of the year.

Male athlete candidates:

1.     Branden Oliver, junior, football: The Miami, Fla. native is without a doubt one of the most recognized athletes on all of campus. Named first-team All-MAC last season, Oliver rushed for a school record 1,395 yards (ranked 14th in the nation) and 13 touchdowns.

2.     Javon McCrea, junior, basketball: After winning MAC Freshman of the Year, McCrea earned national recognition by becoming a finalist for the U.S. U19 National Team. In his sophomore year, McCrea was overshadowed by MAC Player of the Year Mitchell Watt. Watt graduated, and this year’s Bulls team is ready for McCrea to take over.

3.     Damien David, sophomore, tennis: As a freshman, David was the No. 1 singles player on a Bulls team that won the regular season MAC Championship. The ceiling is unlimited for David, who still has three more years to add more accolades to his already prolific resume.

4.     Khalil Mack, junior, football: In his sophomore year, Mack led the Bulls in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles. He was All-MAC first team and was an honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated. As a junior, Mack is currently leading the nation in tackles for loss average (2.7 per game) and a future career in the NFL is likely.

5.     Matt Hogan, senior, swimming: Hogan has been first team All-MAC in his last two seasons. Last year alone, he was a part of three relay teams that set MAC records as well as setting the MAC record for the 100 and 200 freestyle. To top it off, he made it to the Olympic trials and swam in three separate races.

Winner: Branden Oliver. Oliver is well on his way to becoming the best player in the history of UB’s football program. Before being plagued by injury in the third week of the season against Kent State, Oliver was second in the nation in rushing yards. Bo is the heart and soul of the Bulls’ offense. UB has failed to win a game since his injury.

Female athlete candidates:

1.     Alexis Curtiss, sophomore, softball: Curtiss, a catcher, was the highlight of a team that struggled through a majority of the season last year. As a freshman, she led the team in batting average, hits, doubles, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, and she played in 42 of 45 games.

2.     Liz Scott, sophomore, volleyball: Midway through her sophomore year, Scott is picking up where she left off as a freshman. She currently leads the team with 76 more points than the Bulls’ second leader and leads in kills by 66. Scott has been an offensive powerhouse for the volleyball team so far this season.

3.     Tanvi Shah, junior, tennis: After transferring from NC State, Shah spent her first season with the Bulls at first singles. She was a first-team All-MAC selection after going 16-9 (leading the Bulls) and finished the season ranked 11th in the Northeast Region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

4.     Brittany Kuras, senior, swimming: Kuras spent her freshman year competing at Rutgers and faired well in Big East play. In her junior year as a Bull, Kuras was a conference champion in two team relay events and won three individual events. Her electricity in the water earned her first team All-MAC and she qualified for four events at the Olympic trials.

Winner: Tanvi Shah. Shah performed marvelously against the top competition of the MAC as a sophomore last year, going 12-5 in matches at first singles. She ranked 11th in the Northeastern Region and has two more years to climb the ranks and gain even more national recognition.

Best team candidates:

1.     Men’s basketball (20-11, 12-4 MAC): The men’s basketball team sparked a rally of school spirit last winter. The eight-game win streak the Bulls endured during conference play led them to a 12-4 finish in the MAC – their best finish since joining the conference. The Bulls had two of the best players in the whole conference on their front line (Mitchell Watt, MAC Player of the Year, and Javon McCrea).

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