March 22, 2009
[ONE // hawkeyes and big ten wrestling on top once again at ncaa championships]
Despite crowning no individual champions, the Iowa wrestling team collected its second straight national team title at the 2009 NCAA Championships in St. Louis on Saturday. After posting a 1-2-3 finish last year, the Big Ten boasted a 1-2 result this season as the Hawkeyes (96.5) edged out runner-up Ohio State (92.0) by less than five points. Iowa earned its 22nd NCAA title by the closest margin of victory since the Hawkeyes won the 1999 team title by two points. It was also just the second time in school history that Iowa won the NCAA title without an individual champion. Illinois (55.0) and Wisconsin (53.0) rounded out the quartet of Big Ten teams to place in the top 10, finishing at eighth and ninth place, respectively. In addition, the Big Ten had four individual grapplers earn national titles. Michigan's Steve Luke (174), Michigan State's Franklin Gomez (133), Northwestern's Jake Herbert (184) and Ohio State's J Jaggers (141) captured title crowns in their respective weight classes. In addition, Ohio State’s Tom Ryan was named the National Coach of the Year while the Buckeyes’ Lou Rosselli was honored as National Assistant Coach of the Year.
[TWO // wisconsin women claim another ncaa hockey crown]
So the Big Ten is tops in wrestling for yet another year. Well, the Big Ten is also making quite the statement in women’s hockey as the Wisconsin Badgers claimed their third NCAA Championship in four years on Sunday with a 5-0 shutout over Mercyhurst. The Badgers, who are the only team to reach the NCAA title game in four straight seasons, also won the national crown in 2006 and 2007. Wisconsin finished the 2008-09 campaign with a 33-2-5 overall record and ended on a nine-game winning and a 12-game unbeaten streak. In addition, UW senior goalkeeper stopped a career high-tying 37 shots to earn her NCAA-record 39th career shutout and 14th this season, also an NCAA record. For her efforts, she earned her second Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player award and also was tabbed as the Patty Kazmaier Award winner this past week.
[THREE // penn state fencing take home national titles]
OK, so wrestling? Check. Women’s hockey? Check. Fencing? Check. Congratulations to Penn State for earning the NCAA Fencing Championship this past weekend. The Nittany Lions scored 195 victories, compared to runner-up Notre Dame’s 182 and Ohio State’s 166. This is Penn State's 63rd all-time National Championship, including four NCAA Championships in the past 16 months. Since the first title in 1990, all 11 combined NCAA fencing titles have come in the past 20 years.
[FOUR // conference bodes well at ncaa women’s swimming championships]
Six Big Ten squads finished in the top 25 this past weekend at the NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, led by Indiana (114) in 10th place. Minnesota (136) and Wisconsin (105.5) finished 11th and 14th, respectively, while Purdue (40) took 21st. Michigan (25) and Ohio State (25) tied for 24th and Penn State (9) rounded out the conference contingent in 38th. The Big Ten’s lone national champion was Indiana’s Christina Loukas, who recorded an NCAA-record 437.75 points to win the 3-meter springboard.
[FIVE // michigan women earn yet another big ten gymnastics title]
The Big Ten crowned the 2009 Women’s Gymnastics Champion on Saturday and yet again, the Michigan Wolverines reigned supreme. The 15th-ranked Wolverines captured its third-straight Big Ten title in Champaign by using a season-best 197.075 to edge No. 16 Illinois (196.750) and No. 13 Penn State (196.525) in the last rotation. The win was Michigan's 17th conference crown and marked the third time the Wolverines won at least three consecutive titles (1992-97, 1999-2005, 2007-09). Minnesota (196.000) finished fourth, followed by Ohio State (195.900), Michigan State (195.650) and Iowa (195.450). Individual event winners included Illinois’ Kelsey Joannides (9.925 on vault), Michigan’s Trish Wilson (9.950 on parallel bars) and Minnesota’s Camelina Carabajal (9.900 on balance beam & 39.500 on all-around). There was a three-way tie on floor at 9.950 by Illinois’ Sarah Schmidt, Michigan’s Kylee Botterman and Penn State’s Brandi Personett.
[SIX // all-conference awards named in women’s gymnastics]
Following the Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championship Saturday, the conference office announced the major postseason honors for Gymnast, Freshman and Coach of the Year. Penn State’s Brandi Personett captured the conference’s highest honor while Ohio State’s Taylor Jones earned the nod as the league’s top newcomer. Two mentors shared the yearly individual award, as Penn State’s Steve Shephard and Illinois’ Bob Starkell were honored as Big Ten Co-Coaches of the Year. At the championship banquet Friday, the first and second All-Big Ten teams were selected by the conference coaches. Those honorees can be found by clicking here.
[SEVEN // oh yeah, there was a basketball tournament happening as well…]
So there was also a basketball tournament going on… Michigan State and Purdue have advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship! The No. 2 seed Spartans ousted Robert Morris in the opener and USC in the second round to advance to the Round of 16, while the No. 6 Boilermakers defeated Northern Iowa and Washington to earn the regional bid. Michigan fell to second-seeded Oklahoma after beating first-round opponent Clemson and No. 12 Wisconsin lost to Xavier on Sunday following a thrilling overtime victory over Florida State. At that same time, Ohio State dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to Siena, while Minnesota (vs. Texas) and Illinois (vs. Western Kentucky) also lost close first-round contests.
[EIGHT // big ten women advance in their hoops tourney]
Four of the five Big Ten teams advanced past the first round in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. On Saturday, third-seeded Ohio State, the conference regular season and tournament champion, defeated No. 14 seed Sacred Heart, 77-63, while No. 6 Purdue ousted 11th-seeded Charlotte, 65-52. On Sunday, No. 10 seed Minnesota upset seventh-seeded and host Notre Dame and Michigan State got past Middle Tennessee, 60-59. Iowa fell at home to Georgia Tech, 76-62, late Sunday night.
[NINE // don’t forget about us]
Four other Big Ten basketball teams advanced to postseason play as the Penn State and Northwestern men’s squads were invited to the Postseason NIT and the Indiana and Wisconsin women earned WNIT bids. Penn State has advanced to the NIT quarterfinal against Florida after wins against George Mason and Rhode Island, while Northwestern fell to Tulsa in the first round. On the women’s side, Indiana’s Whitney Thomas tapped in the game winner with 00.2 seconds on the clock to push the Hoosiers past Dayton on Sunday. Wisconsin also prevailed in a close contest with a four-point victory over Kentucky.
[TEN // more of northwestern’s moore]
This past week Northwestern’s Craig Moore accepted an invitation to participate in the 21st Annual College Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championships, which will be held Thursday, April 2 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in conjunction with the Final Four. The event will air on same-day tape delay on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. CT. Moore, who ranks fourth in Big Ten three-point history, paced the conference and ranked eighth nationally this season with an average of 3.5 makes from beyond the arc per game.
[ELEVEN // no, no, no]
Finally this week, congratulations to Iowa junior pitcher Amanda Zust for tossing her first career no-hitter in the Hawkeyes’ 15-0 win over South Dakota Sunday. Zust dominated the Coyote offense, allowing only two walks, both of which were in the first inning. She then retired the final 13 batters in order with seven strikeouts. With Zust’s no-hitter Sunday, it marked the first time in school history that the Hawkeyes tossed three no-no’s in a single season. Senior Brittany Weil threw no-hitters against Kent State and Kennesaw State earlier this season.