During the Big Ten's celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, the conference will be featuring "Medal of Honor Mondays" for 12 consecutive weeks, which will highlight a number of Medal of Honor winners from each school. This week, we feature Penn State University.
Adrian Evans (2014, men's gymnastics)
Evans closed out his collegiate career with a top-20 performance at the 2014 NCAA national championship team finals. During his final campaign in the Blue and White, he recorded four top-10 finishes on the pommel horse, highlighted by a second-place finish against Temple. This season he was also selected as one of nine finalists for the 2014 Nissen-Emery Award. Widely regarded as one of the most prestigious honors in collegiate gymnastics, Evans became the 26th Nissen-Emery finalist in Penn State program history. He also was named a recipient of the 2014 Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award, which is presented annually to one Penn State senior male and one senior female student-athlete who have combined successful athletic participation with academic excellence.
In 2013, Evans garnered his second consecutive All-America honor on the pommel horse at the 2013 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships. Outside of the gym, the advertising major and 2014 team captain earned College Gymnastics Association All-America Scholar-Athlete honors the last three consecutive seasons, while also earning a spot on the Academic All-Big Ten team each year.
Emily Giannotti (2014, women's track & field)
Giannotti, who is majoring in rehabilitation and human services, has been a fixture on the Nittany Lion women's track and cross country teams during her career. On the course, this long-distance runner competed in three NCAA Cross Country Championships (2011-13), leading Penn State to a berth in the 2013 Championships. Giannotti also earned All-Region status with a 21st-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, which the former All-Big Ten member helped the Nittany Lions win. Giannotti helped Penn State capture the Big Ten women's indoor and outdoor track and field championships in 2013-14. On the national scene, the Coudersport, Pa., native qualified for the 2013 NCAA Eastern Preliminary Round in the 10,000 meters and in the steeplechase event in 2012. A graduate student, she placed third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships. She also won the 2014 Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award this year.
John Urschel (2013, football)
Urschel, who claimed the Big Ten Medal of Honor in May of 2013, was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2012, starting all 12 games at right tackle and helping the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense during the conference season. The 2013 Campbell Trophy winner and 84th AAU Sullivan Award winner, he earned his bachelor's degree in less than three years on campus. He earned his first master's degree in Math last May and is currently working on his second master's in Math Education. He has taught Integral Vector Calculus and Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry, as well as researched multigrid methods and computational mathematics. He also has had a paper published last spring in the journal, Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronom titled "Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem".
Joanna Lohman (2005, women's soccer)
Lohman was the first four-time First Team All-Big Ten selection in the school's history and captained the Nittany Lions soccer team in 2002-2003. She was Big Ten Player of the Year in 2003 and led Penn State to their fourth straight conference title. Her 3.98 GPA while studying business earned her four-time Academic All-American honors. After playing professionally, Lohman moved to Spain with her partner and founded the JoLi Academy, a training center for young female soccer players in India and helped launch an organization that encourages schools to create safer spaces for lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and questioning athletes called GO! Athletes. As Vice President of Tenant Consulting, LLC, a commercial real estate firm in the Washington, D.C., area, she also helped create the first "carbon neutral calculator" for office buildings, resulting in an invitation to meet former Vice President Al Gore.
John Amaechi (1995, men's basketball)
A 1995 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient, Amaechi scored 1,310 points in three seasons at Penn State, which is the most points scored for a Nittany Lion in less than four seasons. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1995, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, a two-time Academic All-American and was named the Academic All-American of the Year in 1995. One of just five players to post at least 1,300 points and 700 rebounds at Penn State, Amaechi played five seasons in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz. After his NBA career, Amaechi helped England earn the bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The Manchester, England, native was the first and only Briton to have his jersey hung in the U.S. Basketball Hall of Fame. Amaechi is currently an organizational consultant, a New York Times best-selling author and a social entrepreneur in America and Europe.
Helen Holloway (1994, women's basketball)
A 1994 recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Holloway led Penn State to its first Big Ten Championship during her senior season. She guided the Lady Lions to four NCAA Tournament appearances, tallying 1,022 points and 598 rebounds in her career. Holloway was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and was tabbed the Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year in 1991. She led her team in scoring during the 1993-94 season and was named to the NCAA Midwest All-Region team in 1994.
Michele Robinson (1992, women's volleyball)
Michele Robinson became the first Penn State female to collect the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1992. A four-year letterwinner for the Nittany Lions, Robinson's teams compiled a 140-18 (.890) record during her collegiate career, winning conference championships in 1988, 1989 and 1990. She was a two-time Academic all-conference selection. Following her collegiate career, Robinson spent four years in the U.S. Navy, where she competed nationally and internationally on the All-Navy and All-Armed Forces Volleyball Team.
Current golf coaches
After winning the Big Ten Medal of Honor for their careers in women's golf, Michigan State's Aimee Neff and Caroline Powers are currently pursuing coaching careers for their respective schools. Neff, who won the award in 2011, is in her first season as the assistant coach for the Spartans. She was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and helped Michigan State win its ninth Big Ten Championship in 2011. Powers, a volunteer assistant coach for the Spartans, was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2013. She helped Michigan State win two Big Ten Championships (2011-12) and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors three times. Powers holds the school record with a 74.26 career stroke average.
Michigan's Jeff Porter (2007, track & field)
Jeff Porter, the 2007 Big Ten Medal of Honor honoree, was a three-time All-American and NCAA indoor champion in the 60-meter hurdles. He also won the national championship at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2004 after winning the 60-meter hurdles. Porter went on to win the Big Ten outdoor title in the 110-meter hurdles as a junior and a senior. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in kinesiology and reached the semifinals at the 2012 London Olympics in the 110-meter hurdles. When asked about winning the Big ten Medal of Honor, Porter said:
"When I look at the company that I'm in, that's elite company, especially when you look at those who came before me, and then my wife (track star Tiffany Ofili) won it a couple of years after I did, so that's always special. We have some really good, successful people that have received this award. I'm honored to be a member of this group."
To read more about Porter's time at Michigan and beyond, click here.
Michigan softball standout Nicole Sappingfield was named a Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American
Sappingfield recently graduated from Michigan with a degree in comparative literature. She plans to attend law school in the fall and eventually focus on human rights issues.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Just last week (May 22), Sappingfield was named an Academic All-America second team selection. Sappingfield is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2012-13-14) and a three-time recipient of the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award.
In the community, Sappingfield was part of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk each of her four seasons at Michigan. She also served as a clinician for the Michigan Softball Academy, a one-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. In 2014, the Academy raised more than $118,000 for ACS and the Making Strides organizations.
Sappingfield started 235 games over her four seasons and finished her career ranked fourth in U-M history with 190 runs scored, tied for fifth in career batting average at .355 and seventh with 271 hits.
Michigan's Casey Close (1986, Baseball)
A 1986 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient, Close garnered Big Ten Player of the Year accolades as a senior, capping a career that saw him guide the Wolverines to three Big Ten Championships. During his final season in Ann Arbor, he earned National Player of the Year honors by Baseball America, hitting .440 with 19 home runs and a single-season program record 72 RBI. That year, he was a first-team All-American and Academic All-American. A four year letterwinner with the Wolverines, Close was a first-team All-Big Ten standout and twice garnered Academic All-Big Ten honors.
Eight Big Ten women's track & field student-athletes earned first-team Capital One Academic All-District honors, as announced on Thursday. The honor recognizes the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. The honorees are now eligible for Academic All-America consideration. The complete list of Academic All-District award recipients can be found below.
Kelsie Ahbe, Indiana
Samantha Ginther, Indiana
Kiley Tobel, Michigan
Katie Borchers, Ohio State
Taylor Kirby, Wisconsin
Deanna Latham, Wisconsin
Taylor Zimprich, Wisconsin
Anne Martin, Nebraska
For the complete list of women's track & field honorees, click here.
Seven Big Ten men's track & field student-athletes earned first-team Capital One Academic All-District honors, as announced on Thursday. The honor recognizes the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. The honorees are now eligible for Academic All-America consideration. The complete list of Academic All-District award recipients can be found below.
Mason Ferlic, Michigan
Caleb Rhynard, Michigan State
Timothy Faust, Ohio State
Andrew Brekke, Wisconsin
Reed Connor, Wisconsin
Levi Gipson, Nebraska
Cody Rush, Nebraska
For the complete list of men's track & field honorees, click here.
The Big Ten enjoyed a successful 2014 men's golf season, highlighted by two teams earning bids to the NCAA Men's Golf Championships and Illinois advancing to quarterfinal match play.
NCAA Championships Central: The Big Ten sent two men's golf squads to the NCAA Men's Golf Championships, including Illinois and Purdue. Illinois finished the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Championships in a seventh-place tie, advancing to the eight-team match play championship segment at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. Illinois fell to Stanford, 3-2, in quarterfinal match play of the NCAA Men's Golf Championships. For more coverage of the NCAA Championships, click here.
See you at Regionals: Six Big Ten teams and one individual were selected to compete in the 2014 NCAA Men's Golf Regionals. Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue represented the Big Ten in the team competition, while Michigan's Chris O'Neill traveled as an individual competitor. For the complete release, click here.
All-Conference and Individual Honors: The Big Ten Conference office announced the men's golf All-Conference teams and individual award winners, as voted on by the conference coaches following the 2014 Big Ten Men's Golf Championships. Illinois' Brian Campbell was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, Minnesota's Jose Mendez was tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the Golden Gophers' John Carlson claimed Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. For more on the individual award winners and All-Conference teams, click here.
Bring Home the Hardware: Minnesota claimed the Big Ten Championship in men's golf after shooting a four-round score of 1,186 at the 2014 Big Ten Men's Golf Championships. The Golden Gophers were followed by second-place Illinois (1,190), third-place Iowa (1,194), fourth-place Northwestern (1,204) and fifth-place Purdue (1,205) at the par-72, 7,152-yard Pete Dye Course. This is the eighth team title for the Golden Gophers and first since 2007. For more on the Big Ten Men's Golf Championships, click here.
Academic Excellence: On May 28, the Big Ten recognized a total of 1,216 spring and at-large sports student-athletes who have been named to the Academic All-Conference team, which included 45 men's golfers. For more on the Academic All-Big Ten honorees, click here.
The Big Ten enjoyed a successful 2014 women's golf season, highlighted by three squads earning bids to the NCAA Women's Golf Championships and one top-10 finish.
NCAA Championships Central: The Big Ten sent three women's golf teams to the NCAA Women's Golf Championships, including Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State. The Buckeyes placed seventh at the national event with a four-round score of 1,158. The Wildcats finished in 15th place with a score of 1,166, while the Spartans placed 20th with a score of 1,178. On the individual leaderboard, Michigan State's Allyssa Ferrell placed 10th with a four-round score of 3-over 283. Ohio State's Allison Harper and Katja Pogacar tied for 16th place with a four-round score of 285. For more on the NCAA Championships, click here.
Going to the 'Ship: Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State represented the Big Ten at the 2014 NCAA Women's Golf Championships at Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. The Spartans and Wildcats both finished among the top eight in the West Regional, while the Buckeyes advanced from the Central Regional earlier this month. For the complete release, click here.
All-America Recognition: Ohio State's Jessica Porvasnik was named Honorable Mention All-America by the Women's Golf Coaches Association. Porvasnik helped guide the Buckeyes to a seventh place tie at the NCAA Championships, won the individual Big Ten title at the Big Ten Women's Golf Championships and was also honored with the Mary Fossum Award, which is given to the conference's player with the lowest stroke average (73.21) relative to par this season. For more on the All-America teams, click here.
All-Conference and Individual Honors: The Big Ten Conference office announced the women's golf All-Conference teams and individual award winners following the 2014 Big Ten Women's Golf Championships. Ohio State's Jessica Porvasnik was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, while the Buckeyes' Therese Hession was tabbed the Big Ten Coach of the Year. For the complete release and All-Conference teams, click here.
Take Two: Michigan State and Ohio State shared the Big Ten Championship in women's golf after shooting a three-round score of 895 at the 2014 Big Ten Women's Golf Championships. The Spartans and Buckeyes were followed by third-place Northwestern (905), fourth-place Penn State (912) and fifth-place Illinois (913) at the par-72, 6,017-yard Pete Dye Course. The Spartans won their sixth Big Ten title, while the Buckeyes secured their 12th Big Ten Championship. Click here for the complete release.
Academic Excellence: On May 28, the Big Ten recognized a total of 1,216 spring and at-large sports student-athletes who have been named to the Academic All-Conference team, which included 49 women's golfers. Wisconsin's Kimberly Dinh maintained an unblemished cumulative GPA. For more on the Academic All-Big Ten honorees, click here.
Five Big Ten players were named Louisville Slugger All-Americans, it was announced by Collegiate Baseball this morning. Indiana's Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis were named second-team honorees, while teammates Dustin DeMuth and Joey DeNato were named third-team selections, as was Nebraska pitcher Chance Sinclair. All five will be taking part in NCAA Regional play this weekend as Indiana hosts the Bloomington Regional, while Sinclair and the Huskers travel to the Stillwater Regional. Each of the five were named first-team All-Big Ten, while Travis and DeNato were named the conference's Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.