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As the Big Ten continues to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Wisconsin announced that Reed Connor from the track & field and cross country team and Mary Massei of the softball team have been named Wisconsin's 2013-14 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients.

For the complete release, click here.

Big Ten Softball in the Polls

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In the final polls of the 2014 season, three Big Ten teams appeared among the top 25 of the NFCA Coaches poll, while four conference squads received top 25 nods in the USA Softball ballot. In the coaches' poll, Michigan checked in at No. 10, followed by No. 15 Minnesota and No. 16 Nebraska. Northwestern and Wisconsin also received votes. In the USA Softball ballot, Michigan led the way at No. 10, followed by No. 14 Minnesota, No. 17 Nebraska and No. 24 Wisconsin. Northwestern also received votes.

The Wolverines finished the season with a 47-15 record, won their seventh consecutive Big Ten title and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the 20th consecutive season. The Golden Gophers advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in program history and finished the season with a 44-12 mark. The Cornhuskers earned a share of the Big Ten title, posted the seventh 40-win regular season in school history and won an NCAA Regional title for the eighth time in program history. The Badgers finished the season with 36 wins, just the second-highest total in school history, and won a pair of NCAA Tournament games for just the second time. The Wildcats concluded their season with a 35-18 overall record after advancing to their sixth NCAA Regional championship game in the last 10 years.

As the Big Ten continues to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Minnesota announced that Sara Moulton from the softball team and Derek Toomey of the men's swimming & diving team have been named Minnesota's 2013-14 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients.

For the full release, click here.
As the Big Ten continues to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Northwestern announced that Marisa Bast from the softball team and Raleigh Smith of the men's tennis team have been selected Northwestern's 2013-14 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients.

For the full release, click here.
Michigan softball standout Nicole Sappingfield was named a Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American on Friday.

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.

NFCA All-Americans Include Six Big Ten Standouts

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The NFCA released its All-America teams on Wednesday, and the Big Ten was well-represented with six student-athletes garnering recognition, including a pair of First-Team All-Americans.

Michigan shortstop Sierra Romero and Nebraska catcher Taylor Edwards both collected First-Team All-America plaudits. Minnesota pitcher Sara Moulton and third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson were named Second-Team All-Americans, along with Michigan hurler Haylie Wagner, who was named to the team as an at-large selection. Nebraska pitcher/utility player Tatum Edwards collected Third-Team All-America honors.

All six players guided their teams to deep NCAA Tournament runs, as Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round. It marked the first time in conference history that the Big Ten sent three teams to Super Regionals.

2014 NFCA Division I All-American Teams (Big Ten)
                              
First Team                         
Taylor Edwards, C, Nebraska
Sierra Romero, SS, Michigan

Second Team
Sara Moulton, P, Minnesota
Kaitlyn Richardson, 3B, Minnesota
Haylie Wagner, P, Michigan*

Third Team
Tatum Edwards, P/UT, Nebraska

*At-large selection
 
Purdue's Andie Varsho, Northwestern's Marisa Bast and Michigan's Nicole Sappingfield were all named to the Capital One Academic All-America Teams on Thursday. Varsho was a first-team selection, while Bast and Sappingfield both received second-team All-America nods.

Varsho became the first two-time Academic All-American in Boilermaker history. She is an organizational leadership and supervision major and will graduate in August. The two-time Academic All-District and three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree was named a third-team Academic All-American last season.

Bast was named second-team Academic All-America for the second straight year. She is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree as well as an NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete and a 2012 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

Sappingfield is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2012-13) and a three-time recipient of the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award. She is in the running for the Senior CLASS Award, one of 10 finalists from across the country. Sappingfield recently graduated from Michigan with a degree in comparative literature.
Michigan's Sierra Romero was named one of three finalists for the 13th Annual USA Softball Player of the Year Award on Wednesday.

Romero was also tabbed the Big Ten Player of the Year for the second straight season. During her sophomore campaign, Romero led the conference in batting average (.516), slugging percentage (.968), on-base percentage (.663), runs scored (32) and walks (27) in Big Ten games only.

Romero was named one of 10 finalists for the USA Softball National Player of the Year award on May 7. The winner will be announced on May 27 at the team only banquet just prior to the start of the NCAA Women's College World Series.

Romero and the Michigan Wolverines will appear in this weekend's Tallahassee Super Regional, and look to make their second straight trip to the WCWS.

The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA Regions as well as members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country, and previous Player of the Year recipients.

NFCA All-Region Teams Include 38 Big Ten Standouts

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The NFCA All-Region Teams were released on Thursday, with 38 Big Ten softball student-athletes garnering recognition. Fourteen players were named first-team All-Region. All honorees are now eligible for selection to one of the three NFCA Division I All-American teams.

Below is a summary of the Big Ten student-athletes that collected NFCA All-Region accolades:

Great Lakes Region First Team
Haylie Wagner, Pitcher, Michigan
Sara Moulton, Pitcher, Minnesota
Brianna LeBeau, 2B, Northwestern
Kaitlyn Richardson, 3B, Minnesota
Sierra Romero, SS, Michigan
Nicole Sappingfield, OF, Michigan
Mary Massei, OF, Wisconsin
Taylor Hasselbach, DP, Michigan

Great Lakes Region Second Team
Kristen Wood, Pitcher, Northwestern
Taylor-Paige Stewart, Pitcher, Wisconsin
Cassandra Darrah, Pitcher, Wisconsin
Michelle Mueller, 3B, Wisconsin
Tyler Walker, SS, Minnesota
Sierra Lawrence, OF, Michigan
Emily Allard, OF, Northwestern
Lyndsay Doyle, OF, Michigan
Sara Groenewegen, P/UT, Minnesota
Andrea Filler, DP, Northwestern

Great Lakes Region Third Team
Chloe Miller, Catcher, Wisconsin
Caitlin Blanchard, 1B, Michigan
Erica Meyer, 2B, Minnesota
Andrea DiPrima, OF, Northwestern
Stephanie Peace, 1B, Wisconsin

Midwest Region First Team
Emily Lockman, Pitcher, Nebraska
Taylor Edwards, Catcher, Nebraska
Hailey Decker, 2B, Nebraska
Tori Chiodo, 3B, Purdue
Andie Varsho, OF, Purdue
Tatum Edwards, P/UT, Nebraska

Midwest Region Second Team
Danielle Fletcher, Catcher, Purdue
Megan Blank, SS, Iowa
Taylor Watkins, OF, Ohio State
Katy McJunkin, DP, Purdue

Midwest Region Third Team

Lilly Fecho, Pitcher Purdue
Ashley Burkhardt, 1B, Purdue
Evelyn Carrillo, 1B, Ohio State
Allie Bauch, 2B, Illinois
Kylie Johnson, OF, Illinois  
Michigan's Megan Betsa and Minnesota's Sara Groenewegen were named finalists for the inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year Trophy on Thursday.

Betsa boasts a 15-3 record in the circle and an ERA of 1.90. In 103.0 innings, Betsa has recorded 125 strikeouts and pitched a total of 11 complete games. Groenewegen became the first Golden Gopher to collect both Pitcher and Freshman of the Year honors in the same season.

The hurlers are among the conference leaders in several statistical categories in Big Ten games only. Below is a summary:

Earned Run Average
(2) Sara Groenewegen: 1.75
(3) Megan Betsa: 1.92      

Opposing Batting Average
(2) Sara Groenewegen - .142
(3) Megan Betsa - .176

Hits Allowed
(1) Megan Betsa: 27
(2) Sara Groenewegen: 30

Runs Allowed
(T-1) Megan Betsa: 14
(3) Sara Groenewegen: 16