As the calendar flips to March, all eyes are on the men’s and women’s basketball teams as they encroach on the NCAA Tournament.
But it’s not just March Madness that is around the corner; wrestling, track and field, and swimming and diving also have their postseason tournaments coming up in the coming weeks. Here’s a look at the numbers that have defined these teams — with a special shout-out to softball — over the last few months:
14 — Consecutive wins for swimming and diving
Swimming and diving is on an unrivaled 14-meet winning streak. The team hasn’t lost a match since January 2019 — that’s more than three years ago.
Beginning Wednesday, the team will look to defend its 2021 MAC title. UB will need its top athletes — junior diver Tori Franz, who excels in the 3-meter dive; senior freestyle swimmer Toni Naccarella, a two-time school record holder; and senior breaststroke swimmer Katie Pollock, the reigning MAC champion in the 100 breaststroke — to stand out.
“It was really fun to watch the girls celebrate and feel the accomplishment of working so hard toward a common goal and then being in a position to achieve it,” head coach Andy Bashor told The Spectrum last week. “These ladies do a lot of what we call delayed gratification. They work really hard for a long period of time to peak at one moment.”
.765 — David Skogman’s two-point shooting percentage
At 6-10, redshirt sophomore center David Skogman has a distinct advantage over his opponents: his size. But it’s not just his stature that makes him such a threat in the paint. He is also an impressive athlete with a pretty shooting touch.
“Skogman is great for us,” senior forward Jeenathan Williams told The Spectrum two weeks ago. “He’s stepped up a lot. He’s been making a lot of great plays for us. Shooting the ball really well, rebounding well. He’s a key factor in what we do.”
Skogman’s .765 two-point shooting percentage would be the best in the nation, if only he took more two-point shots. But he’s shooting 81.1% from the line and grabbing 6.2 rebounds per game — not too shabby for the Waukesha, WI native.
3-2 — Softball’s record after the first weekend of the season
For the first time since 2014, softball has a winning record after the first weekend of the season.
Even more surprisingly, Saturday’s 5-3 win over Penn State marks the first time the Bulls knocked off a Power 5 opponent since 2014. The Bulls have been propelled by the strong bat of sophomore utility player Madison Fernimen (team-leading .429 batting average) and the stellar arm of sophomore pitcher Julia Tarantino (3.15 earned-run average in 20 innings).
“The competition is as tough as it gets but it’s honestly making us better,” sophomore infielder Rachel Steffan told The Spectrum last year, when asked about the challenges of playing elite programs at the start of the season. “It makes our team better, helps us grow our relationships with each other and allows us to earn the trust of one another.”
23.8 — Points per game for Dyaisha Fair
Cierra Dillard is UB’s all-time leader in scoring average in a season and a career.
But it’s Dyaisha Fair, a fellow Rochester native, who may eventually break both records. Fair, a junior point guard from Edison Career & Technology High School, trails just three players — Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist and Delaware’s Jasmine Dickey — on the list of NCAA Division I scoring leaders.
“I don’t get used to that, I’m always surprised by how well Dyaisha plays,” head coach Felisha Legette-Jack said in a press conference in early February. “Because if you expect certain things, you get disappointed. These ladies have been really well but there’s still so much room at the top for them to get to.”
Three — Wrestlers in the national rankings
Graduate student Derek Spann (133 lb.), graduate student John Arceri (149 lb.) and redshirt junior Michael Petite (157 lb.) are all in this week’s national rankings.
The dynamic trio has helped the Bulls notch a 12-6, 7-2 MAC, record — including a six-match winning streak spanning the entire month of January and early February — and push for the top spot in the conference, which is currently held by No. 21 Central Michigan.
“You’ve gotta take it day by day, but these guys are not idiots,” head coach John Stutzman told The Spectrum last week, in reference to his athletes thinking about winning the first MAC title in program history. “They know what’s at stake, you might as well talk about embracing it. If you don’t talk about it then it doesn’t mean as much… Hopefully, we can put ourselves in a position to do something special that this program’s never done.”
Justin Weiss is the managing editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Weiss is The Spectrum's managing editor. In his free time, he can be found hiking, playing baseball or throwing things at his TV when his sports teams aren't winning. His words have appeared in Elite Sports New York and the Long Island Herald. He can be found on Twitter @Jwmlb1.