This Week in the Big Ten

Indiana's Tyler Cox is swarmed by his teammates after hitting a one-out grand slam in the bottom of the ninth Friday to eliminate Penn State from the Big Ten Baseball Tournament in Ann Arbor.

Indiana's Tyler Cox is swarmed by his teammates after hitting a one-out grand slam in the bottom of the ninth Friday to eliminate Penn State from the Big Ten Baseball Tournament in Ann Arbor.

May 23, 2008

by Jeff Smith
Contributor, BigTen.org

[ONE // michigan men claim first outdoor track title in 25 years]
The Michigan's men's track and field squad captured its first Big Ten Outdoor Championship in 25 years this past weekend at Illinois. The Wolverines ended the reign of four-time defending champion Wisconsin by outscoring the Badgers, 129-119. Ohio State finished third with 100 points. Bigten.org took a closer look into the Michigan win on Friday, highlighting the performances of several Wolverines including Adam Harris and head coach Rob Warhurst.

Speaking of Harris and Warhurst, both were honored this week with major postseason awards. Harris was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year and of the Championships, while Warhurst was tabbed as Coach of the Year. Purdue's Billy Hardcastle was voted as the Field Athlete of the Year and of the Championships, as well as Freshman of the Year. For a complete list of All-Conference honorees, click here.

[TWO // penn state women take first outdoor track title in school history]
Just like the Michigan men's team, the Penn State women's track and field squad reached a milestone last weekend by earning its second overall conference championship and the program's first in the outdoor season. Leading the charge for the Nittany Lions was senior Shana Cox, a three-time medalist last weekend, who was also featured this week on bigten.org. Penn State earned 151 points in the win and was followed by Michigan (118) and Minnesota (113.5) in the top three.

Cox was named the conference's Athlete of the Year and of the Championships, while Nittany Lion mentor Beth Alford-Sullivan received the Coach of the Year honor for the first time in her career. Purdue's Kara Patterson was named Field Athlete of the Year and of the Championships and Michigan's Emily Pendleton was voted Freshman of the Year. For a complete look at the women's honorees, click here.

[THREE // big ten baseball tournament continues]
The Big Ten Baseball Tournament got underway on Wednesday in Ann Arbor with No. 4 seed Illinois taking a 3-2 advantage over No. 5 Ohio State, while third-seeded Penn State topped No. 6 seed Indiana, 6-1. The Hoosiers would soon show life in the double-elimination tournament as they have since gone on to upset Ohio State, 10-8, in 10 innings Thursday and eliminated Illinois, 14-7. In one of the most dramatic games in recent tournament history, Indiana returned to the field following the Illinois win and had Penn State on the ropes, down three runs in the ninth inning. PSU scored four in the top of the ninth to take a one-run lead and turned the game over to relief ace Drew O'Neil, who was featured recently on bigten.org. After committing a costly error at short, which helped Penn State gain the lead, Indiana's Tyler Cox returned to the plate in the bottom of the ninth and hit a one-out grand slam for a Hoosier win, ousting PSU from the tournament. With host and Big Ten champion Michigan winning its nightcap on Friday, 6-1, over Purdue, the semifinals were set for Saturday's action. Be sure to follow the tournament with live scoring found on this championship headquarters page.

[FOUR // wolverines highlight postseason baseball honors]
Speaking of the Wolverines, congratulations to a host of Michigan standouts for earning the major postseason baseball awards this week. Senior Nate Recknagel was named Player of the Year, junior Zach Putnam was voted Pitcher of the Year and Rich Maloney was recognized as Coach of the Year. The near Wolverine sweep marked the first time since 2002 and the fourth time overall that the Player, Pitcher and Coach of the Year all hailed from the same school. Northwestern pitcher Eric Jokisch was named Freshman of the Year. Follow this link for a complete listing of all three All-Conference teams and Sportsmanship Award honorees.

[FIVE // northwestern and michigan remain alive in NCAA softball action]
This past week we saw two of the three Big Ten softball teams advance out of NCAA Regional play. While Iowa fell to Missouri in the regional final, Northwestern advanced to the Super Regional with a 3-2 win over DePaul on Sunday. Michigan topped Kent State, 5-0, and was helped by the play of Dorian Shaw, who accounted for all five runs with a walk and a grand slam. Action continues this weekend and can be followed on bigten.org and the NCAA.com Scoreboard.

[SIX // purdue finishes play at ncaa women's golf championship]
After entering the final round of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship in 11th place Friday, the Purdue Boilermakers carded a 283 - the second-lowest score of the day - to storm up the leaderboard to finish fourth. Purdue was 36-over-par for the tournament, but was 5-under in the final round, led by Christel Boeljon, who finished the day on the front nine birding her last five holes for a 4-under 68. Boeljon finished 12th overall at 293 (73-77-75-68). Check out the Boilermakers' NCAA scorecards by clicking here.

[SEVEN // men's tennis singles and doubles still in action at ncaas]
After a win over Big Ten foe Illinois in the NCAA Tournament, the No. 2 seed Ohio State men's tennis team fell to seventh-seed Texas, 4-2, last Sunday, which ended the Buckeyes' season 35-2. Fortunately, OSU advanced several singles and doubles players in the championship bracket. Illinois' 11th-ranked doubles pair of Billy Heiser and Ryan Rowe, another bigten.org featured student-athlete, came from behind on Thursday to oust the nation's 12th-best tandem from LSU, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the Round of 16. Bryan Koniecko, Justin Kronauge and Steven Moneke, members of the Ohio State team, remain in contention in the singles bracket after winning their round of 32 matches Thursday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. In addition, two OSU pairs advanced to the Round of 16 as well. The duo of Koniecko and Moneke won its opening-round match, while Kronauge and Drew Eberly posted a come-from-behind win to move on in the bracket. For complete results, including results, notes and quotes, check out the men's tennis page on NCAA.com.

[EIGHT // northwestern falls in ncaa women's tennis play; mosolova remains alive in singles action]
Much like the Ohio State men's team, the Northwestern women's tennis team had its season end too soon as the Wildcats fell to California last weekend, 4-2. Northwestern ended with a school record mark of 29-2 and finished the season ranked second nationally. It is the highest final season ranking for the Wildcats in program history. In singles competition, NU's Maria Mosolova, ranked fourth nationally and a featured standout on bigten.org, advanced Friday to the quarterfinal round. She will face Baylor's Zuzana Zemenova on Satiurday - an opponent she defeated earlier this season in a dual match 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

[NINE // three conference teams selected to ncaa rowing championships]
Three conference rowing teams have been selected to compete at the NCAA Championships, May 30-June 1, at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif. Big Ten champion Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin will compete as teams, while Michigan was chosen as an at-large eight. The team championships are comprised of 12 teams and each team is required to field two boats of eight rowers and one boat of four rowers.

[TEN // men's basketball continues trend as nation's attendance leader]
Once again, the Big Ten has proven it has the greatest college basketball fans in the entire country. This week the NCAA released its men's basketball attendance figures and for the 32nd consecutive season, the Big Ten is the nation's leader. The conference ranked first among all leagues with an average of 12,978 fans per game/session, which is 838 more than the national runner-up (SEC - 12,140). On top of the that, over two millions patrons witnessed Big Ten basketball at its finest this past season, a mark the conference has eclipsed the last 16 years.

[ELEVEN // wildcats looking for another lacrosse title]
Finally this week, we both congratulate and wish the best of luck to the Northwestern women's lacrosse team. After moving to 20-1 on the season with a 16-8 victory over Syracuse Friday, the Wildcats will vie for their fourth-straight NCAA Championship on Saturday. NU will battle the winner of Friday's late contest between Duke and Penn. The championship game will be televised live on CBS College Sports Network at 6 p.m. CT Sunday. Here's hoping for another trophy to bring back to Evanston!