This Week in the Big Ten

Ohio State junior Blaz Rola (above) and Nebraska senior Mary Weatherholt will both compete for the NCAA Tennis Singles Championship on Monday.

May 27, 2013

[ONE // the true big ten baseball champion]
Indiana won the Big Ten Baseball Tournament championship Sunday afternoon with a 4-3 defeat of Nebraska. It is the third tournament title for the Hoosiers and first since 2009. The Hoosiers, who also claimed the conference’s outright regular-season title, earned the Big Ten’s automatic berth to the NCAA Baseball Tournament.  In addition, 14 standouts were named to the 2013 All-Tournament Team.  Those honorees, along with a complete recap of the Big Ten Tournament, can be found by clicking here.

[TWO // b1g honors for baseball hoosiers and illini]
The Big Ten announced this past Tuesday the 2013 baseball individual award winners and All-Conference teams. Illinois’ Justin Parr was named Player of the Year and Kevin Duchene earned Freshman of the Year honors, while Indiana’s Aaron Slegers was tabbed Pitcher of the Year and Tracy Smith took home Coach of the Year laurels.  Parr was the eighth Illini to earn Player of the Year honors and the first since Lars Davis in 2007.  Slegers was Indiana’s second Pitcher of the Year honoree, following Eric Arnett in 2009.  Duchene was the second Illinois player to earn Freshman of the Year honors and first since Bubba Smith in 1989. Smith became the first Indiana coach since Bob Morgan in 1993 to be named Coach of the Year and second overall. In addition, the Big Ten announced first-, second-, and third-team All-Big Ten selections, as well as an All-Freshman Team and Sportsmanship Award honorees.

[THREE // back to where they belong]
The Big Ten will be represented by two softball teams in next week’s Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2001 as Michigan and Nebraska won their respective NCAA Super Regional this past week.  Eighth-seeded Michigan defeated Louisiana-Lafayette, 2-1, in the decisive third game of the Ann Arbor Super Regional on Saturday afternoon to earn the Wolverines their 10th appearance in the national final, which begins on Thursday. Michigan will open the double-elimination round against top-seeded Oklahoma.  Nebraska heads to its seventh NCAA Women's College World Series after defeating Oregon on Sunday, 4-2, to win the best-of-three Oregon Super Regional in the decisive third game. The Huskers will make their first appearance in the national final since 2002. Nebraska will take on Washington in its opening game of the Women's College World Series on Thursday.  It marks the first time two Big Ten teams have advanced to the eight-team field of the Women's College World Series in the same season since Michigan and Iowa accomplished the feat in 2001.

[FOUR // tops on the diamond and in the classroom]
Three Big Ten softball standouts were named 2013 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, it was announced this past Thursday. Northwestern's Marisa Bast was named to the second team, while Minnesota's Kaitlyn Richardson and Purdue's Andie Varsho were both third-team selections. Richardson is one of two sophomores named among the Academic All-Americans while Bast and Varsho are two of 11 juniors making up the 33-player squad.

[FIVE // big ten women’s golf earns pair of top-10 ncaa finishes]
Michigan State and Purdue placed among the top-10 at the NCAA Women's Golf Championships in Athens, Ga., led by the Boilermakers' third-place team finish. The Boilermakers shot 21-over par for the championships, while Paula Reto finished third overall at 2-under par.  Michigan State placed ninth at the event, with Christine Meier (+1) finishing tied for sixth on the leaderboard. Northwestern finished 15th, while Wisconsin placed 23rd.  Click here for complete results.

[SIX // ready to get on track]
The Big Ten qualified 127 student-athletes for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships after preliminary competition. The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be held June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.  The complete list of Big Ten qualifiers can be found by clicking here.

[SEVEN // buckeye, husker prep for ncaa tennis singles championships]
Two Big Ten tennis players will vie for the NCAA Singles Championships on Monday as Ohio State junior Blaz Rola will battle for the men’s title and Nebraska senior Mary Weatherholt will compete for the women’s crown.  Rola advanced to the 2013 NCAA Singles Championship final after beating No. 41 Japie De Klerk of Tulsa, 6-2, 6-3, Sunday afternoon at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.  Ranked 12th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association polls and the Big Ten’s at-large singles selection, Rola will face No. 3 seed Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia Monday.  On the women’s side, Weatherholt earned a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Alexa Guarachi in the semifinals and now the 11th-ranked player will compete in Nebraska’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Singles title match.  She will meet defending NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs on Monday at noon.

[EIGHT // husker heralded for sportsmanship]
Speaking of Nebraska women's tennis player Mary Weatherholt, the Husker earned the ITA / Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship, it was announced on Tuesday. The prestigious national award was presented to the senior in Urbana, Ill., in conjunction with the NCAA Championships. 

[NINE // conference trio rowing to ncaa championships]
Three Big Ten teams were selected to the 2013 NCAA Rowing Championships, the NCAA Rowing Committee announced this past Tuesday. The championships will be held May 31-June 2 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, the site of the recent Big Ten Rowing Championships.  Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin each earned bids to the championships and are seeking their first NCAA team titles. The regatta includes 22 teams, and each team is required to field two boats of eight rowers and one boat of four rowers. Two Big Ten boats look to defend their national crowns as the Michigan second varsity eight and Ohio State first varsity four captured NCAA titles last season.  The Wolverines are making their 13th appearance in the meet, the Big Ten Champion Buckeyes are making their 14th consecutive visit, and 15th overall, to the national event and the Badgers appear in the regatta for the 10th time.

[TEN // and the winners are…]
The Big Ten announced this past Wednesday the rowing individual award winners, as chosen by the conference coaches. Ohio State’s Claire-Louise Bode was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year, while teammate Catherine Shields was tabbed Co-Freshmen of the Year with Michigan State’s Katie Cromie. Buckeye head coach Andy Teitelbaum earned Coach of the Year laurels.  Bode became the third Buckeye to win Athlete of the Year and first since Ninett Kossowsky in 2006.  Cromie was the fifth Spartan to claim Freshman of the Year honors and the first since Laura Cowal in 2008.  Shields was the third Buckeye to take home Freshman of the Year recognition and first since Annabelle Fago in 2004.  Teitelbaum won Big Ten Coach of the Year honors for the fourth time in his career and the second in the last three years.  The Big Ten announced the members of the All-Big Ten teams following the conclusion of the championships last week. Five Ohio State rowers were named to the All-Conference teams, the most of any team in the Big Ten. Michigan had four selections and Wisconsin had three.

[ELEVEN // watch these four on the gridiron]
Four Big Ten student-athletes were named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, presented annually to the most outstanding center in college football. The Big Ten's list of nominees includes Michigan State's Travis Jackson, Nebraska's Cole Pensick, Northwestern's Brandon Vitabile and Ohio State's Corey Linsley. Since the award's inception in 2000, Big Ten programs have claimed six Rimington Trophy's, the most of any conference.  Past winners include Michigan's David Baas (2004) and David Molk (2011), Minnesota's Greg Eslinger (2005), Nebraska's Dominic Raiola (2000), Ohio State's LeCharles Bentley (2001) and Penn State's A.Q. Shipley (2008). 

[TWELVE // a true inspiration]
Finally this week, it was announced that the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) will present Purdue women's basketball player Drey Mingo with the Honda Inspiration Award as part of its live telecast of the 2013 Honda Cup on ESPNU on Monday, June 24 at the USC Galen Center Founders Room in Los Angeles, Calif.  Mingo has overcome the type of adversity in life that most people would never imagine possible. Consider that the 6-foot-2 forward was found unconscious in her apartment just days after leading the Boilermakers women's basketball team to the 2010 Preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament championship. She had contracted bacterial meningitis. On the court, she gave nothing less than 100 percent as team captain and an inspirational leader. In the hospital, doctors gave her a 50 percent chance of survival.  A truly inspirational story and a well-deserved award!