This Week in the Big Ten

June 10, 2018

[ONE // ohio state men, purdue women, and six national champions headlines ncaas]
A total of 125 Big Ten students represented the conference at the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships this past week in Eugene, Oregon. Six of those students walked away as national champions. Congratulations to Michigan’s Ben Flanagan (10,000 meters), Minnesota’s Obsa Ali (3,000 meter steeplechase), Ohio State’s Zack Bazile (long jump), Penn State’s Isaiah Harris (800 meters), and Wisconsin’s Oliver Hoare (1,500 meters) and Georgia Ellenwood (heptathlon) on your national titles. In the team standings, Purdue (34 points) led the conference contingent with an eighth-place result in the women’s race, followed by Iowa (19) in 13th, Wisconsin (12) in 22nd, Penn State (11.5) in 24th, Michigan (5) in 40th, Minnesota (2) and Ohio State (2) in 56th, and Michigan State (1) in 63rd. On the men’s side, Ohio State (19) was 12th, Penn State (15) was 18th, Illinois (14) and Michigan (14) were 20th, Minnesota (10) and Wisconsin (10) were 27th, Iowa (9) was 31st, Maryland (8) was 35th, Nebraska (7) was 40th, Michigan State (5) and Rutgers (5) were 46th, and Purdue (3) was 55th.

[TWO // golden gophers close out baseball season at super regionals]
The No. 10-ranked Minnesota team battled until the final out with the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, but Oregon State eked out a 6-3 win over the Golden Gophers to clinch a berth in the College World Series, claiming the NCAA Super Regional series at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field on Saturday evening. It was the Gophers’ second loss in as many days as they suffered an 8-1 setback to Oregon State on Friday. Minnesota finished the season 44-15 – the third-most wins in program history.

[THREE // handing out the hardware]
Three Big Ten baseball standouts picked up some postseason hardware this past week. Minnesota senior infielder Micah Coffey earned a spot on the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America® Division I Baseball Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). This season, Coffey started all 57 games at third base, posting a .278 batting average, five home runs and 33 RBI. The senior Human Resource Development major tabbed second-team All-Big Ten honors in addition to being named Minnesota’s Sportsmanship Honoree. Illinois junior Bren Spillane was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association District 5 Player of the Year, the organization announced Friday. Spillane was one of five players of the year announced Thursday as finalists for the NCBWA's 2018 Dick Howser Trophy, presented to the top college player in the nation. Spillane is perhaps the most decorated collegiate player in the history of Illinois baseball, being named Collegiate Baseball's Player of the Year, a first team All-American by Baseball America, Big Ten Player of the Year and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes award in addition to being a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy. He hit .389 with 17 doubles, 23 homers and 60 RBIs and led the nation in slugging percentage (.903) and OPS (1.401). In other national award news, Ohio State senior reliever Seth Kinker is one of five finalists for the 14th annual NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award, members of the association announced Wednesday. Kinker appeared in 30 games this season and went 6-2 with a 2.27 ERA with 15 saves. He struck out 60 and only walked five in 63.1 innings of work.

[FOUR // nearly 40 big ten standouts taken in mlb first-year player draft]
The 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft is in the books, and the Big Ten had 37 players selected according to, including Michigan QB Shea Patterson, the conference’s final pick in the 39th round. Big Ten Player of the Year Bren Spillane was the first B1G player off the board. Cincinnati selected the Illinois first baseman in the third round, 14 picks before Colorado tabbed Minnesota shortstop Terrin Vavra. Click on the link above for the complete list of Big Ten draftees.

[FIVE // big ten softball honors academic all-americans]
Three softball students from two Big Ten schools have been selected as Google Cloud Academic All-America selections, following this past Monday’s announcement by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). This marks the sixth consecutive year and the 10th time in conference history the Big Ten has had at least three softball Academic All-Americans. Michigan State senior pitcher Kristina Zalewski earned first-team Academic All-America honors this season after collecting third-team accolades last year.  Zalewski’s classmate at Michigan State, outfielder Lea Foerster, was a third-team Academic All-America selection this year, following up on her second-team citation last season.  Minnesota sophomore catcher Kendyl Lindaman rounded out this year’s Big Ten softball Academic All-America contingent, also collecting third-team plaudits.

[SIX // iowa, rutgers welcome new softball coaches]
Two Big Ten softball programs welcomed new head coaches to campus this week, as Iowa hired Renee Gillispie as its fifth head coach in program history, while Rutgers announced Kristen Butler as the next head coach of the Scarlet Knights. Gillispie comes to Iowa after 18 years as head coach at UCF where she compiled a record of 625-403-1 (.608), won five conference championships, and advanced to seven NCAA Regionals, including four straight regional final appearances. A former SEC Player of the Year and record-setting professional softball player in the United States and Japan, Butler has spent the last four seasons turning around the program as head coach at Toledo while earning the 2018 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honor.

[SEVEN // tennis standouts take home national, regional, all-america honors]
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced the 2018 ITA National and Regional Honors this past week, with six Big Ten men's tennis students and two coaches garnering recognition. In addition, three Big Ten women's tennis students and two coaches were honored with postseason accolades as well. Also announced this past week were ITA All-America awards. Four men's tennis students earned All-America status, including Illinois' Aleks Vukic, Michigan's Alex Knight, and Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard in singles, as well as Ohio State's doubles pair of Torpegaard and Martin Joyce. On the women’s side, Northwestern's doubles pair of Erin Larner and Maddie Lipp earned All-America honors after being ranked ninth in the final Oracle/ITA Division I Women's Rankings of the season.

[EIGHT // rowing representatives secure scholar athlete awards]
The Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) announced the 2018 Division I Scholar Athletes this past Monday, with 57 Big Ten students earning recognition. To be eligible for the honor, students must meet all eligibility rules as defined by her institution; be in their second, third, or fourth year of eligibility; rowed in her institution’s NCAA or IRA eligible boat(s) for a minimum of 75 percent of the current spring races or racing in a regional conference event; and maintained a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher for her career (through the fall semester/quarter for the current competition year).

[NINE // former big ten standouts make college football hall of fame ballot]
This past Monday, 21 former Big Ten stars were listed on the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame ballot. Congratulations and best of luck to Illinois’ Moe Gardner, Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice; Indiana’s Vaughn Dunbar and Antwaan Randle El; Iowa’s Dallas Clark and Robert Gallery; Michigan’s Jumbo Elliott and Steve Hutchinson; Michigan State’s Flozell Adams, Tony Mandarich, and Lorenzo White; Ohio State’s Keith Byars, Jim Otis and Chris Ward; Penn State’s Bobby Engram, Jeff Hartings and Steve Wisniewski; Purdue’s Larry Burton, and Wisconsin’s Joe Thomas and Troy Vincent. Another candidate with Big Ten ties on this year’s ballot is former Michigan State coach Darryl Rogers, who coached in East Lansing from 1976-79. He was the 1977 Big Ten Coach of the Year and later named the Sporting News National Coach of the Year following the Spartans’ Big Ten Championship in 1978.

[TEN // honoring outstanding sportsmanship]
Finally this week, the Big Ten announced on Thursday the 28 honorees named Outstanding Sportsmanship Award winners for the 2017-18 academic year. These standouts were chosen from a group of more than 350 students honored throughout the academic year who had displayed positive sportsmanship. One member of each varsity sports team on every campus was chosen by his or her institution as a Sportsmanship Award honoree, and two Outstanding Sportsmanship Award winners were then selected from each institution. All of the Sportsmanship Award winners have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, these honorees must be in good academic standing and must have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.