June 15, 2016
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced on Wednesday (June 15) that Mason Ferlic (men's cross country/men's track and field) and Sierra Romero (softball) have been named the 2015-16 U-M Athletes of the Year.
The University of Michigan Athlete of the Year Award was first presented in 1982. Ferlic is the second three-season athlete (cross country, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field) to win the award, following Nate Brannen in 2003. Andrew Ellerton also won the award in 2007, but for track and field only.
Romero is the fifth female student-athlete to receive the award in back-to-back years, joining Joanna Sampson (2013-14), Tiffany Ofili (2008-09), Jennie Ritter (2005-06) and Ann Colloton (1989-90). Additionally, she is the fifth softball player in program history to get the prestigious honor, joining Ritter, Sara Griffin (1996, 1998), Kelly Holmes (1997) and Alicia Seegert (1987).
Both student-athletes are eligible to be named Big Ten Conference Athletes of the Year, the winners of which are determined by a media vote.
The following are biographical sketches on Ferlic and Romero:
U-M MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Mason Ferlic -- Men's Cross Country/Men's Track and Field
A two-year captain of both the men's cross country and track and field teams, Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn.) led Michigan to its best collective year since 1997. With Ferlic at the forefront, the Wolverines won the Big Ten title in cross country -- their first in 18 years -- and produced top-five team finishes in both indoor and outdoor track and field for the first time since 2009.
He capped off his collegiate career with a national title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase last Friday (June 10) at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, running the second-fastest time in school history while also improving his U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying time. As a team, U-M tied for 13th, only its second top-15 national finish in the outdoor season since 1961.
On the track, Ferlic is a five-time USTFCCCA All-American, five-time Big Ten champion and was named both Big Ten Athlete of the Year (Outdoor) and Track Athlete of the Championships (Outdoor) this season. In cross country, he is a two-time USTFCCCA All-American, three-time All-Great Lakes Region pick and was named 2015 NCAA Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year.
Ferlic recently graduated with a master's degree in aerospace engineering, and has received both NCAA and Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarships. A four-time Academic All-Big Ten and soon-to-be two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Ferlic was also the University of Michigan's male recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor this year.
U-M FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Sierra Romero -- Softball
Named the 2016 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, NFCA Division I Player of the Year and the Honda Award recipient for softball, Romero completed the 2016 campaign with a .451 batting average, 76 runs, 73 hits, 19 home runs and 79 runs batted in. She ranked third nationally with 1.29 runs per game and 1.32 RBI per game and sixth with a .577 on-base percentage and .883 slugging percentage. She boasted 18 multi-hit games and 21 multi-RBI games and tallied a career-best 18-game hitting streak through the early-season tournament slate.
Romero (Murrieta, Calif.) became the first four-time NFCA All-American in Michigan program history, earning first-team honors each of the last three seasons, and was twice a top-three finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year (2014, '15) before winning the top honor this season. She was the inaugural winner of the espnW Softball Player of the Year in 2015 and a three-time Big Ten Player of the Year (2013, '14, '16) and four-time unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first team.
Romero completed her collegiate career as the NCAA record holder in career runs (302) and grand slams (11). With her 300th run, scored in NCAA Super Regional play, she became the first player to ever record 300 runs, 300 hits and 300 RBI. She ranks fourth all-time in career RBI (305) and slugging percentage (.882) and eighth in home runs (82) and walks (225).
A two-year Michigan team captain, Romero contributed to a senior class that posted a 210-43 record, won four Big Ten titles and a Big Ten Tournament title and made three WCWS appearances over the last four seasons.