This Week in the Big Ten

April 24, 2011

[ONE // sparty’s party]
Michigan State won its fourth Big Ten Women's Golf Championship and first since 2007 on Sunday at Lake Shore Country Club in Glencoe, Ill.  The 18th-ranked Spartans led after the final three rounds of the tournament, compiling a team score of 1,180 (+28) en route to the title. Purdue finished second, trailing Michigan State by five strokes at 1,185 (+33), while Northwestern took third at 1,187 (+35).  The remainder of the field can be found here.  Individually, Purdue's Numa Gulyanamitta took medalist honors at the championships, finishing with a 1-under 287 through 72 holes. The Boilermaker senior's finish marks the fourth consecutive year that a Purdue golfer has earned medalist honors. Northwestern's Lauren Weaver finished with a 2-over 290 en route to second place, while teammate Alex Lederhausen closed the event with a 4-over 292 to take third place.  Additionally, Gulyanamitta was honored with the Mary Fossum Award, given to the Big Ten player with the lowest stroke average to par this season. The All-Big Ten Championships Team featured Michigan State's Powers and Solberg, Northwestern's Lederhausen and Weaver and Purdue's Laura Gonzalez-Escallon and Gulyanamitta.

[TWO // michigan makes it two in a row]
With a 6-1 win over No. 17 Northwestern on Saturday, Michigan clinched its second-straight and third overall Big Ten Women's Tennis Championship. The 10th-ranked Wolverines finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record in the conference and a 20-3 mark overall. After defeating Northwestern, Michigan also received the No. 1 seed for the Big Ten Tournament, which is scheduled to take place this upcoming weekend.

[THREE // ohio state takes outright tennis title]
Sticking with tennis, Ohio State clinched the Big Ten Men's Tennis Championship on Sunday, claiming a 7-0 win over No. 63 Purdue en route to the outright title. The fourth-ranked Buckeyes closed the regular season at a perfect 10-0 in conference play and 27-2 overall to take their sixth-straight and 10th overall conference title.  Ohio State clinched a share of the crown on Friday after earning a 5-2 win over No. 24 Indiana. The Buckeyes also received the No. 1 seed for next week's Big Ten Tournament.

[FOUR // spring football season concludes]
Four Big Ten football teams completed their spring schedule this past Saturday as Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin each participated in annual spring games.  In the Orange and Blue Spring Game, Illinois’ offense (Blue) took home a 26-21 victory in front of an estimated 6,000 people at Memorial Stadium.  In Minneapolis, the Golden Gophers took to the field for the first under new head coach Jerry Kill.  In Columbus, the Ohio State offense defeated the Buckeye defense 59-27 in front of 44,276 fans at the 2011 Jesse Owens Spring Game at Ohio Stadium. Defense dominated the day as the Wisconsin football team closed out spring practice at Camp Randall Stadium.  The Badgers' defensive unit, playing as the White team, held the Cardinal squad composed of the UW offense to a single field goal during the run of play and eeked out a 29-27 win in the 2011 Wisconsin Football Spring Game.

[FIVE // a new number one]
There is a new number one in the sport of softball and that team is the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan climbed to the top of the USA Softball and National Fastpitch Coaches Association polls this past Tuesday, entering the week with a 39-3 record, including a 7-1 mark in conference play.  The Wolverines finished the week 3-1 with the loss coming to Iowa on Saturday. Michigan has been ranked among the nation's top 10 for most of the season, climbing to the No. 1 spot in both polls after being ranked second a week ago.  Indiana also received votes in the latest poll, appearing outside the USA Softball Top 25.

[SIX // hoosier tabbed as nation’s top player for last week]
Reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week Morgan Melloh was named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week, USA Softball announced on Tuesday. It is the first time Indiana’s Melloh has been honored and the first by a Big Ten student-athlete this season.  In five games last week, Melloh went 4-0 and picked up a save to help the Hoosiers to a 5-0 record. In 29.1 innings of work, the senior struck out 58 batters, including 21 in an eight-inning affair in the series opener vs. Wisconsin and two other double-digit strikeout performances - 15 against Ohio Staten and 12 in the finale against the Badgers. She was also the first Indiana player to receive the award since Mariangee Bogado on May 9, 2006.

[SEVEN // he’s got class]
Michigan State center fielder Brandon Eckerle was named this past week as one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.  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.  Click here to learn more about Eckerle’s accomplishments both in the classroom and on the field.

[EIGHT // two gymnasts ready to make drive for honda award]
Michigan's Kylee Botterman and Penn State's Sharaya Musser have been tabbed finalists for the Honda Sports Award, given to the top collegiate women's gymnast in the country. Botterman and Musser are two of four finalists for the honor. Botterman concluded her collegiate career with multiple national and regional honors, including the prestigious AAI Award and the Big Ten and Northeast Regional Gymnast of the Year awards. She also won the NCAA all-around title and earned runner-up status on floor exercise, amassing four All-America honors and leading the Wolverines to the Super Six Team Finals for the first time since 2005 in the process.  Musser, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree, rounded out her sophomore season as an individual all-around competitor at last weekend's NCAA Championships. At the Tuscaloosa Regional, Musser placed in the top five in three of the four events to lead Penn State to a third-place finish.  After nationwide balloting, the Honda Award winner becomes a nominee for the Honda-Broderick Cup, given each year to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., which sponsors the program, donates $5,000 to each Honda Sports Award recipient's school and $1,000 to the school of each nominee.

[NINE // illini tennis standout promoting wilson]
Congratulations to Illinois senior Annie McCarthy, who was one of two tennis standouts to be selected as the 2011 Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Promoter of the Year Award winners.  The announcement was made by the ITA on Thursday.  The Wilson/ITA National Promoter of the Year Award recognizes individuals who promote the game of tennis at the collegiate level by devoting consistent time and effort to promotional activities and who support and bring awareness to either their school program or to the sport as a whole.  As part of the honor, McCarthy will receive a paid summer internship at Wilson's global headquarters in Chicago, Ill. During her time as a member of the Illinois women's tennis team, McCarthy has played an active role in the promotion of the program in various capacities.

[TEN // iowa hoops star wins inaugural award]
Speaking of female student-athletes being honors, Iowa senior guard Kachine Alexander was named the winner of the first annual Premier Player of College Basketball Award on Saturday. She accepted the award at a luncheon in downtown Charlotte, N.C. The Premier Player of College Basketball Award winner is based strictly on fan voting.  In addition to the award, she received more All-America honors than any other Hawkeye women's basketball player, earning honorable mention accolades by the Associated Press and WBCA in both her junior and senior seasons. She was a two-time first team All-Big Ten and All-Defensive team selection, and became the 11th Hawkeye in school history to be selected in the WNBA Draft, going 26th overall to her hometown Minnesota Lynx.

[ELEVEN // celebrating a championship moment]
Finally, one of the nation’s top track and field meets took place this past weekend in Columbus.  The 26th Jesse Owens Track Classic came to a close Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, as Ohio State and other participating teams celebrated the 75th anniversary of Owens' historic 1936 Berlin Olympic performance.  At those 1936 Games, Owens won four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump and 4x100 meter relay.  For a look at how Big Ten competitors did at the Classic, click here for the men’s and women’s update.  On Thursday, prior to the weekend’s festivities, Ohio State paid tribute to the "Buckeye Bullet" by unveiling the Jesse Owens Memorial Statue outside Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.