April 17, 2011
[ONE // notes from the gridiron]
Well… it’s mid-April and who would have though we would be talking football to start of the weekly recap? It was an important week for Big Ten football though, as six squads wrapped up their spring games, eight standouts were named to the Lott Trophy Watch List, and all 12 coaches shed some light on the upcoming season during a teleconference with the media earlier in the week. We can now say exactly half of the conference was in action Saturday with spring games or controlled scrimmages. Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State played their annual spring games, while Iowa took part in a controlled scrimmage. Recaps for those five Big Ten spring games can be found by clicking here. Eight Big Ten standouts were named Tuesday to the preseason watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, honoring the top collegiate defensive player in the country. Those honorees were Iowa linebacker Tyler Nielsen, Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs, Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, the Nebraska duo of defensive lineman Jared Crick and linebacker Lavonte David, Ohio State defensive tackle John Simon, Purdue linebacker Joe Holland and Wisconsin defensive back Aaron Henry. Big Ten standouts have claimed two of the last three Lott Trophies, including the Badgers' J.J. Watt last season and the Buckeyes' James Laurinaitis in 2008. Looking for an outlook of your favorite Big Ten football team? Click here to listen to one or all 12 head coaches talk about the upcoming football season. And by the way, a tip of the cap – or boot – to Purdue’s Carson Wiggs, who kicked a 67-yard field goal in the Boilermaker’s spring game two weeks ago. Not many people saw it live, but his impressive boot made quite the rounds in the viral world this past week. If you didn’t see it, click here and check it out!
[TWO // michigan women’s gymnastics finishes sixth at ncaa championship]
Congratulations to the Michigan women’s gymnastics team, which took sixth place at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Super Six Team Finals on Saturday night. The Wolverines, paced by all-around national champion and Big Ten Gymnast of the Year Kylee Botterman, posted a team score of 196.425. Michigan recorded the top score among the six competing teams in the parallel bars, notching a team score of 49.375. The Wolverines also finished third in the floor exercise, fourth in the vault and sixth on the balance beam. Click here for a complete recap of Michigan’s performance at the national event.
[THREE // wolverine woman wins top honor]
Speaking of Kylee Botterman, the Michigan standout was named the recipient of the AAI Award, given to the top senior student-athlete in Division I women's gymnastics, at the NCAA Championships Banquet on Thursday. Botterman, the Big Ten and NCAA Northeast Regional Gymnast of the Year, is the first gymnast in program history to earn the award. Considered the sport's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, Botterman was chosen for the award as the top senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I women's gymnastics. Two Wolverines have previously been finalists for the award -- Janessa Grieco (2000-03) in 2003 and Elise Ray (2001-05) in 2005.
[FOUR // trio of men’s gymnasts earn national titles at ncaa championship]
Illinois' Tyler Mizoguchi and Daniel Ribeiro and Ohio State's Brandon Wynn earned individual national titles in the final night of the NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships on Saturday. Mizoguchi won his first national title on the parallel bars, scoring a 15.200, while Ribeiro took home his second title on the pommel horse, tallying a score of 15.500. Wynn notched his second-straight title on the still rings, posting a 16.000 en route to first place. In addition, a total of 21 All-America accolades were earned by Big Ten gymnasts. By event, here is how the conference finished: Floor Exercise: Michigan’s Sam Mikulak (3rd, 15.700) and Penn State’s Parker Raque (T-5th, 15.400); Pommel Horse: Illinois’ Ribeiro (T-1st, 15.550), Ohio State’s Ty Echard (3rd, 15.250) and Michigan’s Adam Hamers (5th, 14.800); Rings: Ohio State’s Wynn (1st, 16.000), Illinois’ Anthony Sacramento and Penn State’s Miguel Pineda (T-2nd, 15.400) and Penn State’s Scott Rosenthal (8th, 15.000); Vault: Ohio State’s Jeff Treleaven (3rd, 16.100), Penn State’s Parker Raque (4th, 16.050), Iowa’s Matt McGrath (5th, 15.900) and Michigan’s Mikulak (7th, 15.500); Parallel Bars: Illinois’ Mizoguchi (1st, 15.200), Michigan’s Mikulak (4th, 14.700), Illinois’ Craig Madrea, Jr. and Ohio State’s Wynn (T-8th, 14.250); and High Bar: Michigan’s Ian Makowske (2nd, 15.350), Ohio State’s Kris Done (5th, 15.000), Penn State’s Wasef Burber (T-6th, 14.800) and Ohio State’s Wynn (8th, 14.450).
[FIVE // you go there, we’ll stay here]
The Big Ten announced this past week the home and away designations for the 2011 Big Ten/ACC Men's Basketball Challenge. Complete matchup information will be available in May, but here is where teams and their fans can plan to stay or go this fall. Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Purdue will all remain home, while Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin will hit the road. The Big Ten won the 2010 Challenge, 6-5.
[SIX // a basketball battle on a battleship]
The Big Ten also learned this past week that just a brief time prior to the 2011 Big Ten/ACC Men’s Basketball Challenge, the Michigan State Spartans will take part in another challenge against North Carolina. The challenge? A basketball battle on a battleship. Earlier in the week, the Associated Press reported that the San Diego Sports Commission confirmed that the Spartans and Tarheels will play in the Veterans Day Carrier Classic on Nov. 11, 2011, the first NCAA basketball game to be played aboard an aircraft carrier. Both schools have produced written commitments and approval from the U.S. Navy is expected soon.
[SEVEN // the big ten’s final four selected for the next level]
Four Big Ten standouts were selected during the annual WNBA Draft this past Monday, marking the 13th time in the 15 years of the draft the conference has had three or more student-athletes chosen. Ohio State's Jantel Lavender was selected in the first round, followed by Iowa's Kachine Alexander, Northwestern's Amy Jaeschke and Indiana's Jori Davis in the third round. The four players selected are the most from the Big Ten since 2007. Lavender was selected fifth overall by the Los Angeles Sparks, becoming the 13th Big Ten student-athlete to be selected in the first round of the annual draft. Alexander, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, was chosen with the second pick in Round 3 (26th overall) by Minnesota. Jaeschke became the first Northwestern player ever selected in the WNBA Draft after being chosen with the third pick in Round 3 (27th overall) by the Chicago Sky. Davis was selected by the Indiana Fever with the ninth pick in the third round (33rd overall).
[EIGHT // buy me some peanuts and cracker jack…but a ticket first]
All-Tournament passes and group tickets to the 2011 Big Ten Baseball Tournament to be held May 25-28 at Huntington Park, home of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, went on sale to the general public this past Friday. All-Tournament passes are available for $100 each. Group tickets (minimum 20) are available for $7 per ticket. All tickets are available at www.ColumbusSports.org, www.bigten.org and www.ticketmaster.com. Information on individual game tickets will be announced in May. The Big Ten Conference, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and Huntington Park will host the tournament for the third straight year as a neutral-site event. The tournament bracket is set to be announced on the evening of Saturday, May 21, which is the final scheduled day of regular-season competition.
[NINE // softball trio up for national player of the year]
Three Big Ten softball players were selected as finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year honor, it was announced Wednesday by USA Softball. Michigan's Dorian Shaw and Jordan Taylor, and Northwestern's Emily Allard earned spots on the list of 25 finalists, which will be trimmed to 10 prior to the start of postseason play. The award, now it its 10th year, recognizes the most outstanding player in collegiate softball annually. It will be presented at the opening of the 2011 Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
[TEN // illinois’ langley recognized by hogan award]
Illinois senior Scott Langley was named Wednesday as a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award, given to the top college golfer in the country. Langley, the defending individual national champion, is one of 10 semifinalists for the award. The group will be narrowed down to three finalists on May 4, with the winner being announced on May 16 at the Hogan Award Banquet in Fort Worth, Texas.
[ELEVEN // welcome to the big ten]
Finally this week, the Big Ten is pleased to welcome two new head coaches to the conference, Minnesota swimming and diving coach Kelly Kremer and Wisconsin women’s basketball mentor Bobbie Kelsey. An assistant coach at Stanford, who helped lead the Cardinal to the NCAA Final Four in each of the last four seasons, Kelsey was named the sixth head coach in program history last Monday. Kremer, a 13-year veteran of the Minnesota staff, will assume his new duties immediately, overseeing both the men’s and women’s programs. Since his arrival at Minnesota in 1998, Kremer has coached both squads. In 2004, Kremer was named the co-head coach of the Gopher women’s team, sharing the duties with Terry Nieszner. Kremer was the associate head coach of the Gopher men’s team from 2002-04 after spending his first four seasons at Minnesota as an assistant men’s coach.