BUFFALO, NY - Three University at Buffalo student-athletes have been selected as SUNY Chancellor's Scholar-Athlete Award winners for the 2016-17 academic year. The Chancellor's Scholar-Athlete Award was created in 2003-04 to recognize students who have combined academic excellence and outstanding athletic achievement at the Division I, Division III and NJCAA levels at SUNY schools. A total of 77 total student-athletes received recognition this year across all SUNY institutions.
One award winner was selected in each sport at each of the three athletic levels. Among the four Division I SUNY schools, the Bulls had three athletes on the list, fourth-most. The three UB athletes honored this season were Barrett Kemp (cross country), Joseph Kuta (men's soccer) and JoAnna Smith (women's basketball).
In order to be considered for this award, student athletes were nominated by their campus athletic director. Nominees’ academic credentials and athletic accomplishments were then reviewed by a panel of athletic directors from across the SUNY system and members of the SUNY provost’s office.
A complete list of this year’s winners is available online.
Barrett Kemp (Shinglehouse, PA / Oswayo Valley)
Senior, Cross Country, 3.891 GPA, Biological Sciences
Kemp is a senior cross-country and track and field athlete at the University at Buffalo. Originally from Shinglehouse, PA, Kemp is a Biological Sciences major. He has accumulated various accolades throughout his time as a Bull. During his sophomore campaign on the cross country team, Kemp was named to the Academic All-MAC Team and was named a Distinguished Scholar Athlete. Kemp also placed 47th out of 262 runners at the NCAA Regionals. His junior campaign for cross country, Kemp was again named to the Academic All-MAC Team and a Distinguished Scholar Athlete. He placed in the Top-30 at the NCAA Regionals and was named team Most Valuable Player. His senior campaign, Kemp took 37th at NCAA Regionals and Academic All-MAC Team. Kemp's track and field performances have seen him break two school records and make his way to the podium three times. His sophomore year, Kemp broke the school record in the 10K. Kemp's junior season, Kemp took fifth in the 5K and second in the 1500m at Indoor MAC Championships, He was also named to the Academic All-MAC Team. During his senior season of indoor track and field, Kemp broke the school record in the 5K and placed fourth in the 5K at MAC Championships.
Joseph Kuta (Mississauga, Ontario / St. Joan of Arc)
Junior, Men's Soccer, 3.913 GPA, Economics
Kuta, an economics major with a 3.913 GPA, earned Academic All-MAC honors for the second straight season in 2016. 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.
JoAnna Smith (Southaven, MS, / Southaven)
Senior, Women's Basketball, 3.109 GPA, African American Studies
Smith, an african american studies major with a 3.109 GPA, has not only been the Bulls best player on the court but also in the classroom over her four-year UB career. Smith closed out her senior season earning All-MAC recognition for the second straight season as she was named Second Team All-MAC after averaging a team-best 17.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.0 assist. The senior was the catalyst for the Bulls offense all season long as she scored in double figures 27 times this season while going over the 20-point plateau 12 times and the 30-point plateau twice. Smith was able to connect on 89 three pointers, fourth most in a single season in program history. She had her best season as a Bull on the defensive end of the court as she was able to snag a career-best 54 steals. The Southaven, MS native put together an impressive career for the Bulls as she collected the most wins (78) by any UB player since the Bulls joined the MAC in 1998-99. Smith wrapped up her Buffalo career with 1,395 career points, ranking sixth in program history. The sharpshooter closed out her UB career ranked third in program history in three pointers made (208) and seventh in field goals made (494). Playing in 121 career games, third most in program history, Smith ranked 12th in program history in free throw percentage as she converted on 72.4% of her career free throw attempts.