May 28, 2008
As the 2007-08 school year comes to a close, the Big Ten Conference recognizes a total of 962 spring and atlarge sports student-athletes who have been named to the Academic All-Conference team. The list of honored student-athletes features 87 baseball players, 69 softball players, 111 women's rowers, 40 women's and 36 men's golfers, 56 women's and 48 men's tennis standouts, 162 women's and 138 men's track and field athletes and 120 women's (representing water polo, ice hockey, fencing, synchronized swimming, lightweight rowing, lacrosse, pistol and rifle) and 95 men's (representing ice hockey, volleyball, lacrosse, fencing, rowing, pistol and rifle) atlarge athletes. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.
At least 12 Big Ten student-athletes from six different schools have maintained unblemished GPAs. Track and field student-athletes lead the way with seven honorees boasting perfect GPAs, including Iowa's Jocelyn Burke (So., Psychology/Sociology), Katie Ellis (So., English/Cinema) and Brice Wilson (Jr., Mechanical Engineering), Michigan's Jackie Gaydos (Gr., Toxicology), Michigan State's Bill Peterson (Sr., Marketing) and Minnesota's Liz Podominick (Gr., Sociology) and Forrest Tahdooahnippah (Gr., Law). In men's golf, Drew Allenspach (Jr., Accounting/Finance) has managed a 4.0 as a member of the Indiana squad, while Iowa softball standout Colleen McGlaughlin (Jr., Actuarial Science) has also tallied a perfect 4.0. In rowing, Indiana's Emily Kasavana (So., Legal Studies) and Michigan State's Shannon Dunn (So., Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science and Health) also boast perfect GPAs. Wisconsin's Kaela Erickson (So.,Wauwatosa, Wis.) maintains a perfect GPA as a member of the lightweight rowing team.
The Academic All-Big Ten award winners also achieved excellence outside of the classroom. Michigan's Nate Recknagel (Sr., Psychology) was tabbed Big Ten Player of the Year in baseball while leading the Wolverines to their eighth Big Ten Tournament title in program history. On the golf course, Maria Hernandez (Jr., Management) led the Boilermakers to the Big Ten Championship, while also collecting top individual honors. With the second-longest javelin throw in U.S. history, Purdue's Kara Patterson (Sr., Foods and Nutrition) claimed the javelin title at the Big Ten Track and Field Outdoor Championships to earn Field Athlete of the Year and of the Championships laurels.
Overall, the Big Ten Conference recognized 2,095 Academic All-Big Ten honorees during the 2007-08 academic year, the highest total in the last 14 seasons, eclipsing the previous best of 2,019 set just one year ago. Ohio State topped the Big Ten for the sixth straight year with 266 honorees this year, while Penn State ranked second with 261 Academic All-Big Ten picks and Minnesota placed third with 226 honorees. The Nittany Lions still top all conference programs with 3,059 Academic All-Big Ten picks over the last 14 years, followed by the Buckeyes with 2,916 selections.