CLEVELAND, OH - The Mid-American Conference announced the Distinguished Scholar Athletes from the eight winter sports during this 2018-19 academic season and four University at Buffalo student-athletes made the list. Women's swimming's Brittney Beetcher and Olivia Sapio, men's basketball's Dontay Caruthers and wrestling's Derek Spann were voted by faculty athletic representatives at MAC institutions representing the 'best of the best' from each sports Academic All-MAC Teams.
Beetcher, a sophomore business management major has a 4.0 grade point average. An All-MAC First Team selection in 2019, Beetcher shattered the school record in the 500-yard freestyle to finish fifth at the Mid-American Conference Championships. Beetcher also claimed a podium finish at the MACs in the 800-yard freestyle relay, finishing third.
Also a sophomore, Sapio is an accounting major with a 3.85 grade point average. She was the 2019 MAC Champion in the 400 individual medley and holds the school record in the event. Sapio also finished fourth at the MAC Championships in the 200-yard butterfly.
The 2019 Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Caruthers has a 3.67 GPA as a graduate student in education studies. He averaged 8.6 points per game as he played in all 36 games for UB. He scored 20 or more points four times during the year, including a career-best 28 points at Bowling Green. Following that performance, Caruthers was named the MAC's Scholar Athlete of the Week.
Spann is a redshirt-sophomore social sciences major with a 3.5 GPA. He went 21-6 overall, including 16-1 in duals and a perfect 7-0 in MAC duals. He finished second at the 2019 MAC Championships in the 133-lb. bracket and was a national qualifier.
The Distinguished Scholar Athlete is an award in its fifth year given to students who have excelled in athletics and academics. Following each season from the winter 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 2018-19 season. A Distinguished Scholar Athlete must have a 3.50 GPA or higher and 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 spring, the MAC will announce the Distinguished Scholar Athletes from the remaining eight spring sports sponsored by the Conference.