April 26, 2009
[ONE // o-h-i-o makes it f-o-u-r straight on the tennis courts]
With three Big Ten Championships taking place this past weekend, we’ll start the weekly recap on the tennis courts. The performances of the Ohio State men’s and Northwestern women’s teams in recent years have been nothing shy of dominant. On the men’s side, third-ranked and top-seeded Ohio State captured its fourth-straight Big Ten Tournament crown Sunday with a 4-1 victory over No. 2 seed Illinois at Michigan’s Varsity Tennis Center. With the win, the Buckeyes claimed their fifth conference tournament title in the last eight years. The regular season Big Ten champion extends its conference win streak to 53 consecutive matches with the victory and is now 104-5 in its last 109 contests against Big Ten foes, including the postseason. Results of the singles and doubles action, as well as the outcomes of each contest in the conference tournament, can be found here at Tournament Central.
[TWO // northwestern continues dominance on tennis court]
We mentioned the dominance as of late in Big Ten tennis. Well, with the Northwestern women’s tennis team, the Wildcats are quickly becoming one of the most dominant dynasties in any sport in conference history. Top-ranked Northwestern earned its 11th consecutive Big Ten Tournament title Sunday with a 4-0 victory over second-seeded Michigan at Wisconsin’s Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The ‘Cats run of 11 straight titles (1999-09) ranks as the second-longest in the conference annals for any women’s sports, second only to the 12 consecutive swimming and diving championships Michigan notched from 1987-98. NU has now won the Big Ten Tournament in each of head coach Claire Pollard’s 11 seasons at the helm. Pollard and the ‘Cats improved to 25-1 overall, upping their conference win streak to 77 matches with the victory. Sunday’s win marked the 13th overall Big Ten women’s tennis title for Northwestern. Find out more about this past weekend’s Big Ten Women’s Tennis Tournament by clicking this link.
[THREE // wildcats highlight women’s tennis postseason honors]
Earlier this week the Big Ten announced the 2009 Women’s Tennis All-Conference team and individual honorees. Congratulations to Northwestern’s Maria Mosolova and Claire Pollard, who were named the Big Ten Athlete and Coach of the Year, respectively, for the second straight season. Iowa’s Sonja Molnar was honored as Freshman of the Year, the first for a Hawkeye athlete since 2004. Mosolova was a perfect 10-0 in Big Ten play as is the top-ranked tennis player in the country. Pollard guided the No. 1 Wildcats to a 22-1 record on the season and their 11th-straight conference title. The Conference office also announced the All-Big Ten team as well as honorees from each team for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The team and those honorees can be found by clicking here!
[FOUR // purdue successfully defends big ten golf title on home course]
It may be a little too soon to throw out the dynasty tag in Big Ten women’s golf, but the Purdue Boilermakers have certainly laid the foundation for one over the past few years. This past weekend on their home Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, the Boilermakers captured their second-straight Big Ten title with a convincing 37-shot victory – the fourth-largest margin of victory in Big Ten Championship history. Purdue (309-300-300-300—1209) took home the crown over Michigan State (316-313-316-301—1246), Ohio State (317-310-322-306—1255), Northwestern (327-312-314-305—1258) and Iowa (327-317-315-305—1264). Rounding out the field in positions 6-11 was Indiana (332-317-315-302—1266), Michigan (320-311-319-318—1268), Wisconsin (318-321-328-308—1275), Illinois (323-324-325-306—1278), Minnesota (333-317-318-315—1283) and Penn State (329-321-336-317—1303). In the individual race, just as the case was last year, Purdue’s Maria Hernandez (79-72-71-75—297) earned a share of medalist honors. This year, however, she split the win with teammate Maude-Aimee LeBlanc (75-75-70-77—297). Iowa’s Tyrette Metzendorf (78-75-76-74—303) placed third, while Purdue’s Thea Hoffmeister (77-76-78-76—307) and Michigan State’s Laura Kueny (76-78-78-75—307) tied for fourth.
[FIVE // indiana’s campillo named ben hogan award semifinalist]
There is no doubt that Indiana’s Jorge Campillo will have his eyes set on the Big Ten Championship this upcoming week, but this past week the talented Hoosier was honored as one of 10 semifinalists for the 2009 Ben Hogan Award. The most prestigious award in men's college golf, the Hogan is presented annually to the top men's NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during a 12-month period. The three finalists named on May 7 will be invited to Colonial Country Club in Fourth Worth, Texas, for the Hogan Award presentation on the evening of May 22.
[SIX // big ten network readies for spring championships]
As noted above, the Big Ten’s spring championships season is here and prior to the tennis and golf events getting underway this past week, the Big Ten Network announced its coverage plans for all spring championships. The 2009 Big Ten Championships and Tournaments in the sports of baseball, men’s and women’s golf, rowing, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field will receive high-definition coverage between May 3 and May 24. For a complete schedule of the Big Ten Network’s coverage of the conference’s spring championships, click here.
[SEVEN // big ten football standouts selected in nfl draft]
Six former Big Ten players, including Ohio State running back Beanie Wells and three others in the first round, were taken on the first day of the NFL draft on Saturday. Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin was the highest conference selection, taken 11th overall by the Buffalo Bills. Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins was taken three picks later at No. 14 by the New Orleans Saints, while Wells, his former teammate was selected 31st overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Prior to Wells’ name being called, Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis approached the podium as a Miami Dolphin and the 25th overall pick. For complete round-by-round coverage of the Big Ten in the NFL Draft, click here.
[EIGHT // fans show up for final big ten spring football games]
And while several former Big Ten football players were reaching the next level of their careers this past weekend, several current standouts were busy preparing for the upcoming 2009 season. Six conference programs held their annual spring football games this past weekend, including Ohio State and Penn State. A national spring game record crowd of 95,722 nearly filled Ohio Stadium to watch the Gray defeat the Scarlet 23-3. The impressive attendance mark topped the 92,138 Alabama drew for Nick Saban's coaching debut in 2007. Penn State played in front of pretty good company as well. Approximately 76,500 fans showed up at Beaver Stadium to watch the White outlast the Blue 21-16. Michigan State saw its White squad top the Green team 38-37 in overtime, while Illinois’ Blue team captured a 20-0 shutout against the Orange in Champaign on Saturday. Minnesota and Northwestern were also pleased with their efforts in the annual spring game. For highlights of each game this past week, click on the respective links above for Big Ten Network coverage.
[NINE // the battle for the land of lincoln]
A few weeks ago, we mentioned how Illinois and Northwestern were inviting the fans to join in the naming of a new trophy that will be contested on the football field between the two teams. Well, that trophy was appropriately named on Saturday. Beginning this fall, the Fighting Illini and Wildcats will battle on the gridiron for the Land of Lincoln Trophy. Both schools used the fans’ input to brand the new trophy, which clearly will represent not only both universities in the state, but also the man for whom the award is named. The new trophy also coincides with the celebration of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. The Land of Lincoln Trophy replaces the retired Sweet Sioux Tomahawk that was the series trophy from 1945-2008. Northwestern captured the final Sweet Sioux Tomahawk trophy last November, defeating the Fighting Illini 27-10 in Evanston.
[TEN // big ten looks to challenge the acc’s basketball best once again]
This past Wednesday, the Big Ten, ACC and ESPN announced the matchups for the 11th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, which will be held Nov. 30-Dec 2. Highlighting the 2009 contests will be Michigan State at North Carolina, a December 1 rematch of this past year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game. For the fifth consecutive year, the Challenge will feature 11 games and include two telecasts on ESPNU with ESPN and ESPN2 combining to televise the remaining nine games. ESPN360.com, the broadband sports television network from ESPN, will simulcast the ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts. Although times and television networks are still to be determined, the matchups and dates are set and can be viewed by clicking here.
[ELEVEN // big ten divers make splash at usa diving nationals]
Finally this week, it was an impressive few days for Big Ten divers at the Speedo USA Diving National Championships in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Indiana senior Christina Loukas captured the 1-meter springboard title and teamed with former Purdue Boilermaker Amanda Miller to take home the 3-meter springboard synchronized crown on Sunday. In addition to her two wins, which gave her four career USA Diving national titles, Loukas placed third in the 3-meter individual event. Purdue sophomore David Colturi captured the men's 10-meter platform event for his first national title and then partnered with Ohio State’s Sean Moore to win the synchronized men's platform.