BUFFALO, NY - The Mid-American Conference announced their Fall Distinguished Scholar Athletes on Monday morning and 13 UB student-athletes were honored amongst the group of 236.
From the men's soccer team, Alec Fisher and Joseph Kuta were both honored. Kuta, an economics major with a 3.936 GPA, was named to the squad for the second straight season after a terrific season between the pipes for the Bulls. The junior started all 19 matches while owning a 12-4-3 record to go along with a 0.86 goals-against average, .805 save percentage and a program record 10 clean sheets. The junior finished off the season with 70 saves as he tied Bobby Shuttleworth's program record for shutouts in a season with 10.
Fisher, a business major with a 3.224 GPA, earned academic All-MAC honors for the first time in his four-year UB career. The steady defensive presence started all 18 matches he appeared in and was the most consistent back line member all season long. Fisher finished off his campaign with an assist and two shots while helping UB allow just 17 goals and preserve a program record 10 shutouts.
Buffalo placed four members on the list from the women's soccer program, including Julia Benati, Carissima Cutrona, Andrea Niper and Nicole Gerritz.
Niper, an economics major with a 4.0 GPA, was a key member of the stingy Buffalo defense that earned six clean sheets this season. The strong midfielder was a terror in the middle for the Bulls winning every ball in the air and shutting down the most dangerous offensive threat on the opposing team game in and game out. The Princeton, NJ native also netted two goals and an assist for five points while notching a career-high 31 shots as a senior.
An exercise science major with a 3.984 GPA, Benati had a strong season for the Bulls as she appeared in 14 matches and made 13 starts while earning Second Team All-MAC honors for the second straight season. The Dorchester, Ontario native netted two goals and two assists for six points while ranking second on the squad with 39 shots on the year.
Cutrona, a social sciences major with a 3.907 GPA, turned in one of the best seasons in recent memory for a Buffalo forward as she netted a career-high 10 goals and one assist for 21 points. She became just the second UB player in 13 seasons to record at least 10 goals in a season while starting all 20 matches. The Williamsville, NY native also led the Bulls with a career-high four game-winning goals and 54 shots over 1,424 minutes of action.
Gerritz, a structural & environmental engineering major with a 4.0 GPA, earned the academic honors for the first time after a strong sophomore campaign. Gerritz was a force in the midfield for the Bulls after making the switch from defense as she recorded a career-high four assists and 13 shots. The Ontario, NY native used her speed to create dangerous scoring opportunities for her teammates.
Jarrett Franklin made the list from the football team. Franklin is an electrical engineering major with a 3.2 grade point average. He ranked third on the team in tackles with 75 (45 solo). The Missouri native added 3 tackles for loss, a sack, a pass breakup, three quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery. Franklin had double-digit tackles three times on the season, including a career-high 17 tackles against Army.
From volleyball, fifth-year senior Amber Hatchett also was honored by the league. Hatchett, who is currently in UB's nursing school, finished fourth on the team in kills with 145, playing in 27 matches and 100 sets for the Bulls. She also finished the year with 51 total blocks. She had a season-high 14 kills against St. Francis and 12 kills and just two errors against Akron.
The Bulls also placed five cross country runners on the list. On the men's side were Jack Jibb and Barrett Kemp and on the women's side were Corinne Birchard, Meagan Hopkins, and Lauren Reyda.
Jibb has a 3.529 GPA in Physics and he finished in 17th place overall at the MAC Championships and 19th overall at the UB Stampeded in a season-best time of 25:31.90. Kemp led the Bulls at the MAC Championships as he finished seventh overall in a time of 25:33.40. Kemp has a 4.0 GPA in biological sciences.
On the women's side, Birchard is a biological sciences major with a 3.833 GPA. She finished 11th at the UB Invitational and rand a season-best 21:40 at the Lehigh Paul Short Invite. Hopkins is a biotechnology student with a 3.897 GPA, who finished in 37th place at the MAC Championships and 76th at the NCAA Northeast Regionals. Reyda, a psychology major with a 3.924 GPA, finished with 41st place at the MAC Championships, but had her best finish early in the season, which was 26th at the Colgate Harry Lang Invite.
The Distinguished Scholar Athlete is a third-year award given to students who have excelled in athletics and academics. Following each season from the fall 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 and junior college 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 2016-17 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.