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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 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.
As the Big Ten continues to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, senior student-athletes Vanessa DiBernardo and Nathan Scheelhaase were named the 2013-14 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients for the University of Illinois, which were announced on Monday evening at the Fighting Illini All-Sports Celebration. DiBernardo is a member of the women's soccer team and Scheelhaase is a quarterback on Illinois' football team.
For the complete release, click here.
Penn State's 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 while leading Penn State to their fourth straight conference title, and 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 DC area, she also helped create the first "carbon neutral calculator" for office buildings, resulting in an invitation to meet former Vice President Al Gore.
At least 632 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients have also earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition, including 308 three-time and 80 four-time honorees. Football has the most Academic All-Big Ten selections (132), followed by track & field (84), swimming & diving (69), basketball (61), tennis (37), gymnastics (35), cross country (34), soccer (32) and volleyball (30).
At least 187 Big Ten Medal of Honor winners have earned Academic All-America distinction, including nine three-time honorees - Michigan's Diane Dietz (1982, women's basketball) and Steve Grote (1977, men's basketball), Michigan State's Michelle Carson (2004, women's track & field), Chris Hill (2005, men's basketball) and Drew Neitzel (2008, men's basketball), Minnesota's Matthew Nohelty (2009, baseball), Northwestern's Shon Morris (1988, men's basketball), Ohio State's Kevin Stephan (2002, men's lacrosse) and Penn State's Joanna Lohman (2005, women's soccer).
Four Big Ten women's soccer players were selected in the 2014 National Women's Soccer League College Draft, including three in the first round. Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo, Michigan's Nkem Ezurike, Nebraska's Jordan Jackson and Penn State's Maya Hayes will all continue their careers professionally.
DiBernardo was drafted by the Chicago Red Stars with the No. 4 overall pick, becoming the highest drafted member of the Fighting Illini in school history. A three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, DiBernardo scored seven goals and tallied a career-high seven assists during her senior campaign, helping Illinois reach the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. She was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time NSCAA Scholar All-American.
Ezurike was selected eighth overall by the Boston Breakers. She is the Wolverines' all-time leader in goals (49) and points (118). The first-team All-Big Ten selection scored 15 goals and issued 10 assists during her senior year, helping Michigan advance to the Elite Eight. Ezurike also became the first player in program history to receive an NSCAA All-America first team honor.
Jackson was selected by the Houston Dash with the No. 28 overall pick in the NWSL draft. The 2013 Big Ten Midfielder of the Year collected 30 points last season, including nine goals and a conference-best 12 assists. She also earned NSCAA Scholar All-America honors and helped the Cornhuskers win the Big Ten Championship and Big Ten Tournament title.
Hayes was drafted sixth overall by Sky Blue FC. A three-time NSCAA All-American, Hayes scored a team-high 19 goals and collected six assists last season. She was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, first-team NSCAA Scholar All-American honoree and earned back-to-back Big Ten Forward of the Year honors in 2011 and 2012.
Three Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the Soccer America All-Freshman teams, the organization announced Wednesday.
Nebraska's Jaycie Johnson was named to the first team after collecting 36 points during the season, including 17 goals and two assists. She was also named to the All-Big Ten second team after helping the Cornhuskers claim the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament title.
Rose Lavelle of Wisconsin earned a first-team nod after scoring six goals and tallying seven assists. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year helped the Badgers finish the season with a 10-7-2 record.
Michigan's Madisson Lewis finished the season with six goals and nine assists, earning a spot on the All-Freshman team. Lewis helped the Wolverines reach the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament and finish with an 18-4-1 mark.
Soccer America announced its 2013 Women's Soccer MVPs on Wednesday, with Michigan's Nkem Ezurike and Nebraska's Ari Romero earning the honors. Ezurike ranked third in the Big Ten with 38 points, including a team-high 14 goals and 10 assists, and was named to the All-Big Ten first team. The Wolverines advanced to the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament and finished with an 18-4-1 record. Romero started all 23 games and helped the Cornhuskers claim the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament title. She was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Tournament and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
2013 Women's MVPs
Nkem Ezurike, Michigan
Ari Romero, Nebraska
Five Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the NSCAA Scholar All-America teams. Penn State's Taylor Schram and Maya Hayes earned first-team honors, while Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo, Minnesota's Katie Thyken and Nebraska's Jordan Jackson were second-team selections.
Schram, a senior midfielder, posts a 3.40 cumulative GPA in psychology. She scored five goals and collected eight assists for the Nittany Lions, earning her second-team All-Big Ten honors. Hayes, an NSCAA second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection, maintains a 3.39 GPA in kinesiology. She collected 44 points this season, including 19 goals and six assists. Penn State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
DiBernardo, who collects the honor for the second time, studies recreation, sport and tourism and maintains a 3.70 GPA. She scored seven goals to go along with seven assists, helping the Illini reach the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Thyken studies biomechanical engineering and boasts a 3.97 GPA. She led the Golden Gophers with seven goals and three assists, helping Minnesota advance to the NCAA Tournament. Jackson, the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, compiled a 3.34 GPA in nutrition, exercise and health science. She scored nine goals and collected 11 assists, helping her team win the Big Ten Championship and Big Ten Tournament title.
In order to be selected for the team, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale throughout their career as well as start more than 50 percent of a team's games, while being a junior or a senior.
The TopDrawerSoccer.com Best XI teams were announced Thursday, with 12 Big Ten women's soccer players earning accolades. Players from seven different conference squads were named to the Best XI teams, which recognize 33 upperclassmen and 22 freshmen for their performances during the 2013 season. The full list of the Big Ten's representation on the Best XI teams can be found below.
Best XI Teams
Nkem Ezurike, MICH
Maya Hayes, PSU
Vanessa DiBernardo, ILL
Jannelle Flaws, ILL
Shelina Zadorsky, MICH
Ari Romero, NEB
Freshman Best XI
Jaycie Johnson, NEB
Rose Lavelle, WIS
Madisson Lewis, MICH
Tarah Hobbs, MINN
Nichelle Prince, OSU
Brittany Basinger, PSU
For the complete teams, click here.