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100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 21

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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 the University of Iowa.

Matt Whitaker (1993, football)
A 1993 recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Whitaker was a tight end for the Hawkeyes' most recent Rose Bowl team. A three-year letterwinner for Iowa from 1990-92, he earned Academic All-Big Ten status in those three years as well. He is a former U.S. Attorney.  Whitaker, a Republican, is a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin in 2014.

Andre Woolridge (1997, basketball)
Woolridge, who was the first player in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring and assists in the same season, won the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1997. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press his senior season after averaging 20.2 points and six assists per game. After graduating from Iowa in 1997, the Omaha, Neb., native enjoyed an extensive career playing professional basketball overseas. He was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Nebraska Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Dee Ann Davidson (1985, volleyball)
A 1985 recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Davidson was Iowa's first women's volleyball player to earn the distinction. Davidson was twice named MVP for the Hawkeyes and led Iowa in blocks for three seasons. She also led the conference in digs per game in 1984. She was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree and was tabbed an Academic All-American in 1984. The two-time CoSIDA District VII All-American graduated with a degree in accounting with high distinction and a 3.85 GPA. She was named to the President's list four semesters and Dean's list six semesters, and later was named to Iowa's Academic All-Decade team.

Penn State's John Urschel and Nebraska's Kelsey Robinson were named finalists for the Sullivan Award on Friday, which recognizes the nation's premier amateur athlete.

A 2013 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient, Urschel garnered back-to-back first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2012 and 2013 and Academic All-District honors for three straight years. A team co-captain and a key component to one of the Big Ten's most productive offenses the past two years, Urschel claimed Associated Press third-team All-America honors. A two-time first-team All-Big Ten guard, Urschel paved the way for three straight 1,000-yard rushers and helped the Nittany Lions to winning seasons in all four years of his career.

Robinson played and started in all 33 matches for the Nebraska volleyball team, totaling 530 kills and averaging 4.45 kills per set for the 2013 season. She led the Big Ten in kills and points per set during the conference season and ended her senior year ranked ninth in hitting percentage, second in kills, and fifth in aces in the Big Ten. She was honored as the AVCA/Sports Imports Player of the Week and was named to the 2013 AVCA First-Team All-American and First Team North Region.

First presented in 1930, the Sullivan Award honors an athlete who demonstrates the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, April 11 at the AAU National Headquarters in Orlando, Fla.

2014-15 Big Ten Volleyball Matchups Set

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Big Ten schools on Monday revealed a breakdown of their opponents for the 2014-15 Big Ten volleyball  season. The 14 Big Ten teams will compete in an 20-game conference schedule, playing seven teams both home and away and six teams once. Each team will play 10 home and 10 away matches.

Below is the breakdown of each team's single play opponents. Dates, times and television information will be announced at a later date.

ILLINOIS
Home: Maryland, Minnesota, Purdue
Away: Iowa, Michigan State, Penn State
Home/Away: Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers, Wisconsin

INDIANA
Home:  Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
Away: Iowa, Maryland, Northwestern
Home/Away: Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, Rutgers

IOWA
Home: Illinois, Indiana, Purdue
Away: Michigan, Minnesota, Rutgers
Home/Away: Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin

MARYLAND
Home: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State
Away: Illinois, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers

MICHIGAN
Home: Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern
Away: Maryland, Purdue, Rutgers
Home/Away: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin

MICHIGAN STATE
Home: Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Away: Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State
Home/Away: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers

MINNESOTA
Home: Iowa, Nebraska, Rutgers
Away: Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State
Home/Away: Indiana, Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

NEBRASKA
Home: Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue
Away: Minnesota, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State

NORTHWESTERN
Home: Indiana, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Away: Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State
Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue

OHIO STATE
Home: Maryland, Michigan State, Northwestern
Away: Indiana, Nebraska, Purdue
Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, Rutgers, Wisconsin

PENN STATE
Home: Illinois, Michigan State, Rutgers
Away: Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State

PURDUE
Home: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State
Away: Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska
Home/Away: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Rutgers, Wisconsin

RUTGERS
Home: Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska
Away: Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State
Home/Away: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, WIsconsin

WISCONSIN
Home: Maryland, Nebraska, Penn State
Away: Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern
Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Rutgers

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 11

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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-Big Ten 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.

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 7

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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 the University of Illinois.

Illinois All-Century Team - (1949/1963, men's basketball)
Illinois' Dike Eddleman (1949) and David J. Downey (1963) were both named to the Illini's All-Century Basketball Team. Eddleman was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, led the team in scoring in 1948 (13.9 ppg) and 1949 (13.2 ppg) and helped the Illini win the Big Ten Championship in 1949. Downey was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree, led the team in scoring and rebounding from 1961-63 and guided his team to the Big Ten Championship in 1963. Downey currently ranks No. 21 among Illinois' all-time scoring leaders with 1,360 points (18.9 ppg). Downey later went on to found The Downey Group (high quality life insurance, long term care, disability programs, and related planning for affluent individuals, families, and businesses), and is Chair of the Investment Policy Committee at University of Illinois Foundation Board and member of University of Illinois College of Business Board of Overseers.

Dee Brown (2006, men's basketball)
Brown won the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2006 following a stellar four-year career at Illinois. The Maywood, Ill., native won the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard as a senior in 2006, along with collecting Consensus Second-Team All-America honors. In 2005, Brown led the Fighting Illini to the national championship game and was named the Sporting News National Player of the Year and a Consensus First-Team All-American. Brown collected first or second-team All-Big Ten honors all four years of his career and was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. He was named a finalist for Illinois' Male Athlete of the Year in 2006 and was also recognized as a Senior CLASS Award finalist.

Don Laz (1951, track & field)

A seven-time Big Ten Champion for the Illini from 1949-51, Laz was also the 1951 NCAA pole vault champion. He won three straight indoor conference crowns in the pole vault and swept that event and the long jump in the 1951 Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships. He won the silver medal in the pole vault at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Laz later became an architect before a stroke cut short his career. His best height was 15-3, or two inches less than the vault by his son, Doug, in setting an Illinois high school state record in 1972.

Ashley Berggren (1998, women's basketball)
Berggren, a 1998 recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, was the first Illinois women's basketball player to have her jersey retired in 2009. Berggren ranks in Illinois' top 10 of numerous career categories, including second in points (2,089), seventh in assists (328) and 10th in rebounds (779) and steals (183). The Big Ten Player of the Year in 1997, she guided the Illini to a Big Ten Championship and back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in 1997 and 1998. She is the only Illini to be named first-team All-Big Ten in three seasons (1996-98). Following her collegiate career, Berggren played professionally with the Chicago Condors of the ABL before becoming a high school special education teacher and basketball coach. She also has run the Berggren Hoop Camp for the past 15 years.

Jonelle Polk (1987, women's basketball)
Awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1987, Polk has left her mark on Illinois basketball, ranking in the top 10 of various Illini career records, including first in field goals made (815), third in points (1,984), field goal percentage (.562) and double-doubles (40), fourth in rebounds (933) and fifth in blocks (135). She led Illinois in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots in three of her four seasons and was a three-time All-Big Ten selection (1985-87). Polk was tabbed a Fast Break All-American and Illinois' Female Athlete of the Year in 1986 and led the Illini to NCAA Tournament appearances in her final two seasons. Following her graduation, the Peoria, Ill., native played overseas for four years, before returning to the U.S. to get her masters' degree and delve into coaching. She currently works as a manager at Proctor Recreation Center in her hometown mentoring young girls

Trent Meacham (2009, men's basketball)
Meacham, who earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2009, scored 866 points, handed out 231 assists and recorded 74 steals during his career at Illinois. A co-captain during his senior year, Meacham led the Illini and ranked second in the Big Ten in three-point field goal shooting at 42.1 percent during the 2008-09 season. He currently ranks fifth at Illinois in career three-point field goal percentage (.408) and 11th in three-point field goals made (178). The Champaign, Ill., native was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and won the Lou Henson Courage Award in 2009. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in sport management and is currently in his second season with JSF Nanterre of the LNB Pro A in France.

Disa Johnson (1988, volleyball)

A 1988 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient, Disa Johnson led the Illini to a 124-28 record in her four seasons. She guided Illinois to three NCAA Championship appearances, including the national semifinals in 1987, and a pair of Big Ten titles (1986-87). The setter ranks second in Illinois history in assists (5,550), third in aces (154) and 10th in block assists (339). She led the Illini in assists all four years she competed and topped the conference in that category for two years (1985-86). The Western Springs, Ill., native was an AVCA All Mideast Region team honoree (1987), a second-team Academic All-American (1987), and a three-time All-Big Ten selection and Academic All-Big Ten pick (1985-87). Johnson was also named to the Big Ten All-Decade Team in 1992. She earned a master's degree from Illinois in kinesiology and sports administration in 1992. Following her playing career, Johnson entered the coaching realm. She was an assistant coach with the Illini from 1990-93. She was the head coach at Missouri from 1994-99 and James Madison from 2000-09, where she was named CAA Coach of the Year twice in 2002 and 2006. Johnson returned to Champaign this fall when her husband, Ron Garner, was named head coach of the Illinois women's track & field program.

Tim Simon (1988, track & field)

A two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and eight-time Big Ten Champion, Simon was tabbed Big Ten Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year in 1988, the same year he was named Athlete of both the Indoor and Outdoor Championships. He finished third in the 400-meter run at the 1988 NCAA Championships behind two UCLA sprinters who won medals at that year's Seoul Olympics. Simon holds three Illini records in the 300- and 400-meter dash and 4x400 relay. He earned a medical degree from Howard University has been a colon and rectal surgeon in Georgia since 2002.



Three former Big Ten student-athletes have been tabbed as finalists for the 2014 James E. Sullivan Award, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced on Monday. Kelsey Robinson (Nebraska-volleyball), John Urschel (Penn State-football) and David Boudia (Purdue-diving) are three of the 19 nominees for the award that honors the nation's outstanding amateur athlete. The Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 and is based on character, leadership and sportsmanship.

A public vote will account for one-third of the athlete's overall score, to vote click here. Voting will remain open until March 23 at 11:59 ET. Three finalists will be named no later than March 28 and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, April 11 at the AAU National Headquarters in Orlanda, Fla.


2013 Big Ten Volleyball Season In Review

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Big Ten volleyball saw a record-setting 2013 season come to a close at the NCAA Championships in Seattle as Penn State and Wisconsin participated in the championship match, the first time two Big Ten teams faced off in the national final. The Nittany Lions won their fifth national title in the last seven years and sixth overall, tying Stanford for the most in NCAA history.

NCAA Bound:
The Big Ten sent a conference record-tying eight teams to the NCAA Championship, with five earning top-16 seeds. Big Ten Champion Penn State entered the tournament as the No. 2 overall seed, while No. 8 Nebraska, No. 10 Minnesota, No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 13 Illinois each earned top-16 seeds. Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue also received bids to the tournament. Big Ten teams compiled a 23-7 record in this year's tournament, breaking the all-time win total for the conference of 19 set in 2010 and 2012. Additionally, seven Big Ten squads advanced to the Sweet 16, the most by any conference in tournament history.  For a look back at the entire NCAA Championship, visit the Championship Central page HERE.

Nationally Noticed:
Thirteen Big Ten volleyball players were selected as AVCA Division I All-Americans, the most of any conference, with four players earning first-team status. Minnesota's Tori Dixon, Nebraska's Kelsey Robinson, and Penn State's Micha Hancock and Ariel Scott earned first-team honors, while Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski, Minnesota's Ashley Wittman, Penn State's Deja McClendon and Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini were named to the second team. Illinois' Jocelynn Birks, Michigan State's Kori Moster, Nebraska's Kadie Rolfzen, Penn State's Katie Slay and Purdue's Val Nichol earned third-team honors. Thirteen others received honorable mention recognition -- Illinois' Jennifer Beltran, Michigan's Jennifer Cross, Lexi Dannemiller and Molly Toon, Michigan State's Alexis Mathews, Minnesota's Adrianna Nora, Nebraska's Meghan Haggerty and Mary Pollmiller, Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus, Ohio State's Kaitlyn Leary, Penn State's Nia Grant, Purdue's KiKi Jones and Wisconsin's Ellen Chapman. For the complete release, click HERE.

Off The Court Honors: Seniors Kristen Kelsay of Michigan State and Katie Slay of Penn State earned Capital One Academic All-America honors, with Slay being named Capital One Academic All-America of the Year, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced on Dec. 12. Slay, a communications sciences and disorders major was a first-team selection, while Kelsay, a psychology major, was named to the third team. The pair of Academic All-Americans marks the third consecutive year that two conference standouts have earned the accolade. Additionally, Penn State's Maddie Harding was the recipient of the NCAA's Elite 89 Award, given to the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. For more on Academic All-America honors, click HERE. For the Elite 89 Award, click HERE.

Head of the CLASS: Penn State right side hitter, Ariel Scott was selected as the 2013 Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA Division I volleyball. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I volleyball coaches, national volleyball media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I volleyball. 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 - classroom, community, character and competition. 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. Two other Big Ten student-athletes earned Senior Class Award recognition, as Michigan's Jennifer Cross and Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski were named to the award's second team. For more on the Senior CLASS Award, click HERE.

Coach 'Em Up: In his 35th season at the helm of the Penn State women's volleyball team, head coach Russ Rose was selected as the 2013 AVCA Division I Coach of the Year. The award is the fifth time Rose has been honored as the national coach of the year during his tenure at Penn State, having earned the award in 1990, 1997, 2007 and 2008. Rose guided the 2013 squad to its fifth national title in the last seven years and a 34-2 overall record, ending the season on a 25-match win streak. In conference play the Nittany Lions posted a 19-1 mark, good for PSU's 16th Big Ten Championship in program history. Rose picked up both Big Ten and AVCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year honors this year. For more on Coach Rose's honor, click HERE.

Regional Recognition: Big Ten volleyball standouts collected numerous AVCA Division I Regional Awards on Tuesday, with 31 players earning All-Region honors. In their respective regions, head coaches Hugh McCutcheon of Minnesota (North) and Russ Rose of Penn State (Northeast) took home Coach of the Year accolades, while Nebraska's Kadie Rolfzen (North) and Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini (Northeast) won Freshman of the Year awards. Big Ten student-athletes made up the entire North Region team and included Michigan's Jennifer Cross, Lexi Dannemiller and Molly Toon, Michigan State's Alexis Mathews, Kori Moster and Lauren Wicinski, Minnesota's Tori Dixon, Adrianna Nora and Ashley Wittman, Nebraska's Meghan Haggerty, Mary Pollmiller, Kelsey Robinson and Kadie Rolfzen and Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus. Northeast Region honorees were Illinois' Jennifer Beltran and Jocelynn Birks, Ohio State's Kaitlyn Leary, Penn State's Nia Grant, Micha Hancock, Deja McClendon, Ariel Scott and Katie Slay, Purdue's KiKi Jones and Val Nichol and Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini and Ellen Chapman. The Illini's Liz McMahon, Huskers' Cecilia Hall, Wildcats' Caleigh Ryan and Boilermakers' Carly Cramer and Catherine Rebarchak earned honorable mention recognition. For more on the regional award winners, click HERE.

Familiar Big Ten Title Territory: With a 3-0 win over Ohio State in the final week of the regular season, Penn State earned the outright 2013 Big Ten Volleyball Championship. The crown marked the 10th in the last 11 years and 16th overall for the Nittany Lions. Penn State ended the regular season with a 19-1 record in Big Ten play and 28-2 overall mark and earned the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship. Click HERE for more on Penn State's Big Ten Championship.

Taking Home the Hardware: The Big Ten announced its postseason volleyball awards on Dec. 3, with student-athletes from four schools earning recognition following the conclusion of the 2013 regular season. Nebraska's Kelsey Robinson was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, while Michigan State's Kori Moster and Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini were tabbed Defensive Player and Freshman of the Year, respectively. Penn State's Micha Hancock earned Setter of the Year honors, while Nittany Lion head coach Russ Rose was tabbed Coach of the Year by Big Ten coaches and media. For the full All-Big Ten teams, click HERE.

And The Academic Awards Go To: Following the conclusion of the fall season, the Big Ten recognized a total of 869 fall sports student-athletes who had been named to the Academic All-Conference team, which included 75 volleyball players. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. At least 20 student-athletes maintained unblemished cumulative GPAs, including volleyball players Maggie Halloran of Michigan State, Maggie Harding of Penn State and Faye Adelaja of Purdue. For the complete Academic All-Big Ten release, click HERE.

Where We Rank: Eight Big Ten volleyball teams were ranked or receiving votes in the final AVCA Division I Coaches poll of the 2013 season, which was released on Dec. 23. The conference boasted the nation's top two teams and five squads in the top 10. NCAA and Big Ten Champion Penn State led the way at No. 1 and national runner-up Wisconsin was ranked No. 2. Nebraska checked in at No. 7, followed by No. 8 Purdue, No. 10 Minnesota, No. 14 Michigan State and No. 16 Illinois. Michigan was receiving votes. For the complete poll, click HERE.

Statistically Speaking: Numerous Big Ten standouts appeared among the top 25 of the final NCAA statistical leaders of 2013, including five in the top 10. Penn State's Micha Hancock was second in the nation in aces per set, while teammate Katie Slay was third in blocks per set. Ohio State's Kaitlyn Leary ranked fourth in kills per set. In points per set, Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski was ninth, while Leary was 10th. For the complete statistical breakdowns, click HERE.

Eight Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked or receiving votes in the final AVCA Division I Coaches poll of the 2013 season, which was released on Monday. The conference boasts the nation's top two teams and five squads in the top 10. NCAA and Big Ten Champion Penn State leads the way at No. 1 and national runner-up Wisconsin is ranked No. 2. Nebraska checks in at No. 7, followed by No. 8 Purdue, No. 10 Minnesota, No. 14 Michigan State and No. 16 Illinois. Michigan was receiving votes.

For the full poll, click here.


Nebraska's Robinson Named Nominee for Honda Sports Award

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Nebraska women's volleyball player Kelsey Robinson was named a nominee for the Honda Sports Award for Volleyball, as announced by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today. The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies "the best of the best in collegiate athletics". The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2014 Honda Cup. The nominees were chosen by a panel of coaches representing the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). The Honda Sports award winner for volleyball will be announced in the new year after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.

A native of Bartlett, Ill., Robinson earned first-team AVCA All-American honors this season after having been recognized by the AVCA for the past two years. She was named the 2013 Big Ten Player of the Year and earned All-Big Ten first-team honors. She averaged 4.45 kills and 3.33 digs per set while posting 19 double-doubles. The outside hitter transferred to Nebraska from Tennessee where she was the 2011 SEC Player of the Year and a two-time first-team All-SEC member.

CWSA Release
Nebraska Release

Saturday's Result

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NCAA Championship Final - Seattle, Wash.
#2 PENN STATE def. #12 WISCONSIN, 3-1