Four Bulls Named MAC Distinguished Scholar Athletes


CLEVELAND, OH - The Mid-American Conference announced the Distinguished Scholar Athletes from the seven fall sports during this 2018-19 academic season and four University at Buffalo student-athletes made the list. Volleyball's Scout McLerran and Kristina Nieves, women's soccer's Carissima Cutrona and football's Matt Otwinowski were voted by faculty athletic representatives at MAC institutions representing the 'best of the best' from each sports Academic All-MAC Teams.

McLerran, a junior biology major has a 3.53 grade point average.  She led the Bulls with 707 assists on the season, averaging 10.10 assists per set, but was limited to just 19 matches due to an injury. McLerran surpassed the 50-assist mark four times, including a season-high 56 at Kent State.

Also a junior, Nieves is a social sciences major with a 3.5 grade point average. She led the Bulls with 110 blocks this year, averaging just under 1.00 block per set. Nieves also set a career high with 195 kills as she played in all 113 sets this year. She had a career-high 10 blocks against Eastern Michigan.

Cutrona is a social sciences major with a 3.91 grade point average. Cutrona also earned a spot on the All-MAC First Team despite only appearing in 11 matches after sustaining a season-ending injury. The lethal forward was having one of the best seasons in a long time for a Buffalo player as she had eight goals and eight assists for 24 points in only 11 matches.

Otwinowski is a junior accounting major with a 3.87 grade point average. He played in all 14 games and made one start at middle linebacker. Otwinowski had 31 tackles and two tackles for loss on the season. He had a career-high 10 tackles against Delaware State. He made his first career start against Kent State and had eight tackles and a tackle for loss.

The Distinguished Scholar Athlete is a fifth-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 a 3.50 GPA or higher with the Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award for the 2018-19 season.  The number of Distinguished Scholar Athletes from each sport were equivalent to the number of first-team selections or 20% of nominees, whichever was greater.

Later this winter and spring, the MAC will announce the Distinguished Scholar Athletes from the remaining 16 winter and spring sports sponsored by the Conference.