Big Ten Spring Season in Review: Part 2
June 18, 2008
by Jeff Smith
In our second of three installments looking back at the Big Ten's Spring Season, BigTen.org today focuses on the conference's champions and postseason tournaments. The spring saw nine Big Ten champions crowned in the postseason, as well as four more in the regular season. Here is a look at those league champions and all postseason all-conference honorees.
In opening-round competition, No. 8 seed and host Iowa blanked No. 9 Purdue, 4-0, just as No. 6 Indiana did against No. 11 Northwestern. The final first-round match saw No. 7 Minnesota earn a 4-1 victory over No. 10 Michigan State. On the second day of play, top-seeded Ohio State blanked Iowa, 4-0, as did No. 3 Illinois over the Hoosiers. No. 4 Michigan topped No. 5 Penn State, 4-2, while second-seeded Wisconsin squeaked out a close one to Minnesota by a score of 4-3. In the semifinals, the Buckeyes (Michigan) and Illini (Wisconsin) were both 4-1 winners, setting up a rematch of the 2007 Big Ten Championship final. OSU won that final, 4-1, and was taken to the brink in 2008 as the Buckeyes outlasted Illinois, 4-3, for the title.
In postseason honors, Ohio State's Bryan Koniecko and Ty Tucker were named Big Ten Athlete and Coach of the Year, while Wisconsin's Marek Michalicka was honored as Freshman of the Year, the first for a Badger athlete in 16 years. Koniecko was 10-0 in both singles and doubles play during the conference season and was the first Buckeye to take home the top honor since 2003. Tucker was honored for the third-consecutive season and for the fourth time in his career. A complete list of All-Big Ten honorees can be found by clicking here.
With the top seed in the Big Ten Championship, Northwestern faced No. 8 seed Minnesota in the second round after the Golden Gophers ousted No. 9 and host Purdue, 4-2, in opening-round action. Day one also saw No. 11 Wisconsin notch a 4-2 upset win over No. 6 Michigan State and No. 7 Iowa defeat No. 10 Penn State, 4-1. In second-day competition, the Wildcats blanked Minnesota, 4-0, as did No. 3 Indiana over the Badgers and No. 2 Michigan against Iowa. Fourth-seeded Illinois just got by No. 5 Ohio State, 4-3, and was then beaten 4-0 in the semifinals by Northwestern. The Wolverines earned a 4-2 win over Indiana to advance to the finals where they were also blanked 4-0 by Northwestern. The Wildcats earned their record-setting 10th straight Big Ten Championship postseason title, breaking Indiana's previous best record of nine-consecutive crowns set from 1987-95. The win also extended NU's Big Ten winning streak to 63 matches.
In postseason honors, Northwestern's Maria Mosolova earned both Athlete and Freshman of the Year honors, while Pollard was tabbed Coach of the Year - the fourth such award of her career. As for Mosolova, the last Northwestern player to earn both honors was Audra Cohen in 2005, and Mosolova's distinctions marked just the fourth time in Big Ten history the same person earned both awards. All-Big Ten honorees can be found by clicking this link.
Individually, Indiana's Jorge Campillo fired a final round 5-under-par 67 to clinch medalist honors over local favorite Ryan Brehm of Michigan State. Campillo's 278 (69-71-71-67) was two shots better than Brehm's 280 (72-69-69-70), making him the eighth Hoosier to win a Big Ten title and the first since 2005. Michigan's Bill Rankin (69-75-71-70--285) and Illinois' Scott Langley (72-69-71-77--289) placed third and fourth, respectively, while Michigan State's Jack Newman (70-74-70-79--293) and Minnesota's Victor Almstrom (73-72-73-75--293) tied for fifth overall. Iowa's Vince India (72-74-72-76--294), Purdue's David Gersztein (70-73-79-73--295) and Minnesota's Clayton Rask (81-75-68-72--296) finished seventh through ninth, and Illinois' Chris DeForest (75-73-77-72--297) and Matt Hoffman (74-72-78-73--297) and Ohio State's Bo Hoag (75-74-77-71--297) tied for 10th.
Following the championship, postseason honors were announced by the conference office. Indiana's Campillo became the fourth Hoosier all-time to garner Big Ten Player of Year honors, while his 71.62 Golfweek/Sagarin rating earned him the Les Bolstad Award, an honor given to the golfer with the lowest season stroke average. Illinois' Langley was the third Illini newcomer to win the Freshman of the Year award, while MSU's Puryear earned Big Ten Coach of the Year accolades, becoming the second consecutive Spartan mentor to win the award as Mark Hankins was honored in 2007. A complete list of the All-Big Ten honorees and postseason award winners can be found here.
In dominating fashion, the sixth-ranked Purdue women's golf team captured the Big Ten Championship by 21 strokes over 2007 winner Michigan State. Purdue's 72-hole score of 1169 was the second lowest in conference history behind the Boilermakers' own team total of 1167, which the team recorded in their first conference championship in 2000. Michigan State (1190), Ohio State (1202), Indiana (1214) and Michigan (1217) claimed top-five finishes, while Wisconsin (1223), Northwestern (1226), Iowa (1231), Minnesota (1231), Penn State (1236) and Illinois (1241) rounded out the field.
Individually, Purdue dominated the field with four of its sixth golfers finishing in the top 10. Maria Hernandez (75-71-66-69--281) was the lone golfer under par for the tournament and captured medalist honors by 10 strokes over teammate Christel Boeljon (73-70-75-73--291), who finished runner-up for the second straight year. Hernandez's 7-under-par total set a Big Ten record for lowest individual 72-hole score, surpassing the mark of 284 set just last year by Michigan State's Rachel Meikle. Hernandez also recorded the lowest 54-hole score with a 212 and her 66 was the lowest third round score in Big Ten Championships history. Iowa's Tyrette Metzendorf (81-70-73-71--295) placed third, Michigan State's Laura Kueny (78-73-71-75--297) and Purdue's Maude-Aimee Leblanc (74-73-73-77--297) tied for fourth, and Minnesota's Teresa Puga (77-74-75-73--299) took home sixth. Michigan State's Sara Brown (70-82-73-75--300) and Aimee Neff (73-75-75-77--300), along with Ohio State's Emma Jandel (76-70-80-74--300), tied for seventh overall, while a four-way tie for 10th consisted of Michigan's Ashley Bauer (74-76-77-74--301), Ohio State's Carling Coffing (78-75-74-74--301) and In-Hong Lim (77-71-77-76--301) and Purdue's Junthima Gulyanamitta (76-74-72-79--301).
Purdue swept all major postseason honors as Hernandez earned Player of the Year and the Mary Fossum Award for the second-straight year, while teammate Aimee-LeBlanc became the fourth-consecutive Boilermaker to win Freshman of the Year. Purdue's Devon Brouse earned his third Coach of the Year distinction as he was also honored in 2000 and 2006. A complete list of the All-Big Ten honorees and postseason award winners can be found here.
Grand Final winners included Michigan State in the First Varsity Eight (6:31.00), First Varsity Four (7:25.80) and Second Varsity Four (7:52.00), and Wisconsin in the Second Varsity Eight (6:46.40), First Novice Eight (7:09.80) and Second Novice Eight (7:13.90).
The Spartans swept all three major postseason awards as Anne Cowan was named Athlete of the Year, Laura Cowal was voted Freshman of the Year and Matt Weise garnered Coach of the Year accolades. Cowan was the first Spartan to be named Athlete of the Year since 2005, while Cowal was the fourth MSU rower to take home Freshman of the Year honors. Weise collected his second career Big Ten Coach of the Year award, having earned his first accolade in 2005. All-Big Ten honorees can be found by clicking here.
The 2008 event began with No. 2 seed Michigan falling to in-state rival and seventh-seeded Michigan State in a thrilling 2-1 upset. The Spartans, who were beaten twice and outscored 21-3 by the Wolverines in two regular-season contests, stunned Michigan in the tournament opener. Top-seeded Northwestern followed the thriller with an 8-0 shutout of No. 8 Ohio State. No. 3 Iowa had no issues with No. 6 Illinois in a 9-1 outcome, while No. 4 Minnesota used a seventh-inning, two-out, bases-loaded single to break a 4-4 tie to defeat No. 5 Purdue, 5-4. In the semifinals, Iowa ended Michigan State's run with a 13-4 decision and Northwestern blanked Minnesota, 12-0. In the championship game, NU's Lauren Delaney fired her third-straight shutout and Erin Dyer hit a fourth-inning solo home run to give the Wildcats a 1-0 victory over the Hawkeyes. The postseason tournament win was the first in school history for Northwestern.
Major postseason honors were awarded members of co-conference champion squads Michigan and Northwestern. NU's Tammy Williams picked up Player of the Year accolades while teammate Lauren Delaney was named Pitcher of the Year. Michigan's Jordan Taylor was tabbed Freshman of the Year and her coach Carol Hutchins earned Coach of the Year laurels. Williams was the fourth-straight Wildcat to claim top conference accolades, while Delaney was the third-consecutive NU pitcher to receive the award. Taylor was the 10th Michigan player to be named Freshman of the Year, while Hutchins was also honored for the 10th time as the league's top coach. A complete breakdown of postseason honors and All-Conference selections can be found here.
MEN'S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD
Michigan's Adam Harris captured gold medals in the 4x100-meter relay and 200 meters and fell just short of capturing the top spot in the long jump and the 100 meters. He still managed to find the podium with a second (25'-4.75") and third-place (10.36 seconds) finish, respectively. Harris helped the 4x100-meter relay team to its first Big Ten title since 1982 with a time of 40.26. His 200-meter win was also the school's first since 1982 as well. Purdue's Billy Hardcastle swept both the discus and shot put events. His discus toss of 187.50 (57.13) bettered the conference field by almost four meters and his shot put throw of 61-10.25 (18.85) ranks 13th in the country.
Harris was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year and of the Championships, while his mentor Rob Warhurst was tabbed as Coach of the Year. 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.
WOMEN'S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD
With wins in the 200 meters and 400 meters, as well as serving as the anchor of the victorious 4x400-meter relay squad, Penn State's Shana Cox earned the 13th, 14th and 15th conference titles of her career. Purdue's Kara Patterson tossed an American-leading javelin throw of 202-00 (61.56 to smash both the Purdue and Big Ten Championships records, while nearly missing the NCAA record of 61.82 meters. Her toss was also the second-longest throw in U.S. history and in the NCAA, and the world's ninth-best toss.
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.
In the event's first game, No. 4 Illinois topped No. 5 and defending champion Ohio State, 3-2, on a seventh-inning tiebreaking home run by Joe Bonadonna. No. 3 Penn State dropped sixth-seeded Indiana, 6-1, to close out the first day. On day two, The Hoosiers rebounded to eliminate Ohio State, 10-8, second-seeded Purdue took a 15-6 win over Penn State, and host Michigan dropped the Illini 5-2 in the nightcap. Indiana continued its Cinderella run with a 14-7 elimination victory over Illinois and then responded with a thrilling 11-8 walk-off win over Penn State. After committing a costly error to help allow PSU to score four runs in the ninth, Indiana's Tyler Cox hit a grand slam in the bottom of the inning to keep the Hoosiers alive in tournament. Michigan then sent Purdue to the loser's bracket by way of a 6-1 decision and impressive pitching by Chris Fetter.
Game 9 would be the last for Indiana as in-state rival Purdue ousted the Hoosiers, 11-7, off the hot bat of Dan Black, who went 3-for-4 and drove in five runs. The Wolverines, however, did not need a second game to capture the crown having eliminated Purdue 3-2 to win the title on their home field. Michigan's Michael Powers was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
In postseason awards, Michigan's Nate Recknagel was honored as Player of the Year, Zach Putnam was named Pitcher of the Year and Rich Maloney was recognized as Coach of the Year. Rounding out the individual honors, Northwestern pitcher Eric Jokisch was named Freshman of the Year. The 2008 campaign 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 institution. All-Big Ten honorees can be found by clicking here.