CLEVELAND, NY – The Mid-American Conference announced today the Distinguished Scholar Athletes from the eight winter sports during the 2016-2017 academic season. Among the list of 208 athletes, were 15 University at Buffalo student-athletes. This list was voted on by the faculty athletic representatives, and represents the "best of the best" from each sports' Academic All-MAC teams.
From the track and field team, four athletes were honored: Ryan Cribbin, Barrett Kemp, Christine Lyttle, and Emma Siuciak. Cribbin, a senior Industrial Systems Engineer major, was an impactful thrower for the indoor season. Cribbin placed second at the Indoor MAC Championships in February with a throw of 18.08m. His performance helped lead UB to their highest placing at Indoor MACs in program history. Cribbin was a member of the All-MAC Second Team.
Kemp, a senior Biological Sciences, was a lead distance runner for the indoor season. Kemp set a new school record in the 5000m early in the season. His time of 14:20.25 broke the 14-year-old school record. Kemp also placed fourth at the Indoor MAC Championships in the 5000m to help lead the team to a third place overall finish.
Lyttle, a senior Communications major, was a leading participant in the hurdles. Lyttle placed fourth at the Indoor MAC Championships in the 60HH with a time of 8.55. Her performance helped lead the team to an overall fifth place finish, and helped garner the highest regional ranking in program history for the team.
Siuciak, a graduate Philosophy major, was UB's leading combined events athlete. Siuciak broke the school record in the women's pentathlon twice during the indoor season. At the Indoor MAC Championships, Siuciak broke the school record in the pentathlon and the women's high jump. Her silver-medal performance in the pentathlon broke the school record with a score of 4003. She finished ranked 18th nationally in the event. After clearing a height of 1.79m in the high jump, Siuciak set a new school record and ranked 30th nationally in the event. Siuciak was a member of the All-MAC Second Team.
Buffalo placed nine members from the swimming and diving teams; including Charles Barry, Garrett Clarke, Itai De La Vega, Dan Roche, Sarah Baxter, Julia Box, Megan Burns, Hannah Miller, and Kelli Ann Valedon.
Barry, a senior Communications major, was an impactful swimmer for the Bulls' season. Barry placed fifth in the 400IM at the MAC Championships with a time of 3:53.33. He also placed fourth in the 500 Free with a time of 4:26.15. Barry was a member of the All-MAC Second Team.
Clarke is a junior Mathematics major. Clarke was a bronze medalist at the MAC Championships in the 100 Breast with a time of 54.23. He also placed 13th in the 200IM at the championships. Clarke was a member of the All-MAC Second Team.
De La Vega, a junior Management major, was a lead swimmer for the team. De La Vega broke the school, meet, pool, and conference record in the 100 Breast at the MAC Championships with a time of 53.61. He was also a member of two gold-medal relay teams, 400 Medley Relay and 200 Medley Relay. De La Vega took second in the 200 Free Relay with a time of 1:20.90. He also placed 10th in the 50 Free. De La Vega was a MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week in February. He was a member of the All-MAC First Team.
Roche is a junior Mechanical Engineering major. Roche scored a 301.25 on the platform dive at the UB Diving Invitational to qualify for NCAA Zones. He placed 10th on the one-meter dive at MAC Championships. Roche was a named a Distinguished Scholar Athlete in 2016 as well.
Baxter is a junior Accounting major. Baxter helped lead her 800 Free Relay team to a school, meet, and conference record at MAC Championships, after finishing with a time of 7:11.26. She was also a member of the first place and school record breaking 200 Free Relay Team. Baxter was the lead in the school record-breaking 400 Free Relay team at MAC Championships with a time of 3:18.53. Baxter took the silver medal at MAC Championships in the 200 IM. Baxter helped lead her team to a school record breaking 200 Medley Relay time of 1:39.40. Baxter was a member of the All-MAC Second Team.
Box, a sophomore Nursing major, was an impactful butterfly swimmer for the season. Box broke four school records at the MAC Championships in February. She was a member of the record-breaking 200 Medley Relay team with a time of 1:39.40. Box also broke three individual record: 200 Fly (1:59.44), 100 Fly (53.77), and 100 Back (54.19). She placed first and third in the 200 Fly and 100 Fly, respectively. Box was named to the All-MAC First Team.
Burns, a junior Nursing major, was UB's leading performer in the pool. Burns completed her season with five gold medals at MAC Championships. She took first in the 100 Free with a time of 48.14 to set a new school record. Burns also placed first in the 200 Free with a time of 1:46.07. Burns took first in the 50 Free for the third year in a row, and set a new school, meet, and conference record with a time of 22.04. Burns was also a member of the gold-winning 200 Free Relay team that clocked in at 1:29.97 to break the school record. She also took first in the 800 Free Relay with a time of 7:11.26 to set a new school, meet, and conference record. Burns was also a member of the school record-breaking 200 Medley Relay team with a finishing time of 1:39.40. She was named MAC's Most Outstanding Swimmer, and represented Buffalo at the NCAA Championships. Burns was also named to the All-MAC First Team.
Miller is a junior Management major. Miller won two silver medals and a gold medal at the MAC Championships. She was a member of the first place 800 Free Relay team that broke the school, meet, and conference record with a time of 7:11.26. Miller's silver medals came in the 1650 Free (16:30.16) and 500 Free (4:47.76). Miller was a member of the All-MAC Second Team.
Valedon is a junior Social Sciences major. Valedon competed in the backstroke and individual medley throughout the 2016-2017 season. Her performances helped lead the team to its highest overall placing in program history at the MAC Championships.
Kyle Akins is a sophomore Occupational Therapy major on the wresting team. He went 22-7 on the season, including a perfect 8-0 in duals. Atkins finished fourth at the MAC Championships to advance to the NCAA Championships. He went 2-2 at NCAAs.
Katherine Ups is a Biomedical major on the women's basketball team. Ups posseses a 3.922 GPA. The junior closed out her successful campaign appearing in all 32 games while earning a start in 22. She was abel to average 3.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while being a valuable glue player for the Bulls all season long.
The Distinguished Scholar Athlete is a third-year award given to students who have excelled in athletics and academics. Following each season from the spring sports schedule, any student with a 3.20 GPA and participation in at least 50 percent of the contests was automatically named to the previously announced Academic All-MAC Team from each sport. Also, first-year students, junior college and graduate school transfers in their first year of residence were not eligible for the award.
From the Academic All-MAC Teams, the faculty athletic representatives selected the 'best of the best' of our Academic All-MAC Teams to be honored with Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award for the 2015-16 season. The number of Distinguished Scholar Athletes from each sport were equivalent to the number of first-team selections or 33% of nominees, whichever was greater.