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Ohio's men's basketball team celebrated a Mid-American Conference Tournament championship last March. The Bobcats did not stop until it had made its way to St. Louis and the Sweet 16, earning The Post's pick for team of the year. (Brien Vincent | Staff Photographer)

'Post' sports writers pick year-end sports awards

After another year of Mid-American Conference championships and heightened success for several teams, it’s once again time for The Post’s year-end awards.

Team of the Year: Men’s basketball

They didn’t want to be called Cinderellas, but the silver slipper fit for the Bobcats during March Madness. After winning three games in as many days at the MAC Tournament, Ohio knocked off Michigan and South Florida before succumbing to North Carolina in overtime in a Sweet 16 game.

The Bobcats’ 29 victories were the most in school history as Ohio celebrated its first Sweet 16 run under the current tournament format.

Honorable mention: Football, field hockey

— Michael Stainbrook

Coach of the Year: Neil Macmillan, field hockey

Under Macmillan’s direction, the Ohio field hockey team finished with a 9-1 MAC record and won the conference tournament and its first game in the NCAA tournament.

“I’d like to thank The Post for this honor, but this is truly a team award,” Macmillan said. “I would not be in this position if not for the hard work and determination shown each and every day by this group of outstanding student-athletes.”

Ohio has won four MAC titles in the last six years.

Honorable mention: John Groce and Frank Solich

— Nick Robbe

Male Athlete of the Year: D.J. Cooper, men’s basketball

As the catalyst for the winningest men’s basketball team in program history, D.J. Cooper led the team in points (14.7), assists (5.7) and steals (2.3). He finished in the top five in the Mid-American Conference in each of those categories and was named First-Team All-MAC at the end of the season. Cooper broke Ohio’s career assists and steals record this season.

“I’d like to thank The Post for this award,” Cooper said. “It truly was a great season for our team, and we are glad to have had the chance to share it with everyone in Bobcat Nation.”

Honorable mention: Jeremy Johnson and Tyler Tettleton

— Rob Ogden

Female Athlete of the Year: Juli Accurso, cross country

Last fall, Accurso became a conference champion by crossing the finish line first at the MAC cross country championships. Her time of 20 minutes, 35.3 seconds also qualified her for a spot on the All-MAC first team, as she helped propel her team to a fourth-place finish at the MAC Championships. The last Bobcat to take home the individual crown was Annie Beecham, who accomplished the feat in 2008.

Honorable mention: Taylor Brown, Lauren Gellerman

— Michael Stainbrook

Male Freshman of the Year: Jake Madsen, baseball

When Madsen first suited up for the Bobcats this spring, he was satisfied with breaking the starting lineup and contributing on a regular basis.

During the course of the season, Madsen solidified himself as a stalwart defensive player and potent punch at the plate, where he led the team with a .344 batting average and 76 hits while starting all but three games for the Bobcats.

“I didn’t have too high of an expectation coming in because I didn’t really want to get my hopes up,” Madsen said. “I’m just really glad that I can be part of the team and help get wins.”

Honorable mention: Stevie Taylor (men’s basketball), Nathan Carpenter (football)

— Jim Ryan

Female Freshman of the Year: Lauren McClary, softball

McClary set the program’s single-season strikeout record, which now stands at 205. From her first game as a Bobcat, McClary was dominant, as she tossed a one-hitter. She also threw two no-hitters and led the team in almost every pitching statistic.

“I was really blessed this season pitching-wise, and it has been amazing,” she said. “I’d like to continue to break records, but I want to try and not think too far ahead and just pitch for now.”

Honorable mention: Haleigh Bartlett (swimming and diving) and Kelly Lamberti (volleyball)

— Chad Lindskog

Sportsman of the Year: Megan Weaver, women’s golf

Weaver not only excelled on the golf course but off as well. She was named to the All-MAC academic team for the second year in a row and was named the MAC Sportswoman of the Year. Players are nominated for the award by their coach, and golfers around the conference vote for the winner.

Weaver finished in the top 20 in four tournaments for the Bobcats this year, posting a 78.2 stroke average through 20 rounds of golf.

“I’m so happy and thankful,” she said. “I think its great that even to be nominated and considered as a key component to having sportsmanship compared to all the other athletes.”

Honorable mention: Jordan Thompson (football) and Ethan Newton (baseball)

— Brandon Kors

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