June 22, 2009
[ONE // northwestern’s herbert named big ten’s top male]
Congratulations to Northwestern wrestler Jake Herbert on being named the Jesse Owens Male Big Ten Athlete of the Year on Friday. Herbert was selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution. A two-time NCAA Champion, Herbert closed out his career on a 66-match winning streak, including a perfect 34-0 record in 2009. For his efforts, he was awarded the 2009 Dan Hodge Trophy, which is presented to college wrestling's most dominant performer. He became the first Wildcat to earn the honor and the fourth athlete from the Big Ten to take home the award. Herbert won his NCAA titles in 2007 and 2009, bookending his Olympic redshirt season in 2008. He also won three conference titles in his career and was named this year's Big Ten Wrestler of the Year. The senior leaves Northwestern as the most decorated wrestler in school history, also holding the distinction of the school's only three-time Midlands champion. In addition to his accomplishments on the mat, Herbert is an Academic All-Big Ten and NWCA All-Academic Team honoree. Herbert is the second Northwestern student-athlete to be named Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year, joining golfer Luke Donald in 1999. He is the third consecutive wrestler to earn the honor.
[TWO // purdue’s hernandez honored as conference’s top female athlete]
On the women’s side, Purdue golfer Maria Hernandez was honored with the Suzy Favor Female Big Ten Athlete of the Year award on Friday. Hernandez became the first conference student-athlete to win the NCAA Women's Golf Championship in the spring, earning a one-stroke victory. The Pamplona, Spain, native also was named the Honda Sports Award winner, the PING/NGCA National Player of the Year and Big Ten Player of the Year after winning her second straight league title and leading the Boilermakers to the team's third conference championship in the last four years. The senior finished her career with a school-record 14 tournament wins, including six in 2008-09. She has also claimed the Big Ten's Mary Fossum Award, which is given to the player with the lowest conference stroke average, three times, and has been named Big Ten Player of the Year each of the last three seasons. In addition, she is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. Hernandez is the fifth Boilermaker to be named the Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year and the first since Katie Douglas in 2001. She is the first-ever golfer to earn the accolade.
[THREE // an impressive list of honorees]
While Jake Herbert and Maria Hernandez were the conference’s top student-athletes this season, 20 additional honorees also earned special recognition from the Big Ten this past Friday. Joining Herbert from Northwestern was Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year nominee Hannah Nielsen (lacrosse), while Hernandez was recognized with fellow Boilermaker David Boudia (diving). The remaining honorees from each school included Illinois’ Paul Ruggeri (gymnastics) and Angela Bizzarri (cross country/track), Indiana’s Jorge Campillo (golf) and Christina Loukas (diving), Iowa’s Shonn Greene (football) and Racheal Marchand (cross country/track), Michigan’s Steve Luke (wrestling) and Tiffany Ofili (track), Michigan State’s Franklin Gomez (wrestling) and Nicole Bush (cross country/track), Minnesota’s Eric Decker (football/baseball) and Gigi Marvin (ice hockey), Ohio State’s J Jaggers (wrestling) and Jantel Lavender (basketball), Penn State’s Casey Sandy (gymnastics) and Nicole Fawcett (volleyball), and Wisconsin’s Jamie McBain (ice hockey) and Jessie Vetter (ice hockey).
[FOUR // big ten network announces award winners as well]
In conjunction with the Big Ten office announcing the Male and Female Athletes of the Year awards on Friday, the Big Ten Network also presented its second annual postseason honors in several different categories. The Michigan State basketball team was named Men’s Team of the Year, while Northwestern lacrosse took home Women’s Team of the Year. Two Penn State mentors were honored as Coach of the Year, with Joe Paterno earning the accolade on the men’s side, while counterpart Russ Rose was lauded on the women’s side for his sideline success on the volleyball court. Illinois’ quarterback Juice Williams earned Most Dominating Performance for his efforts against Michigan on Oct. 4, while Iowa’s Shonn Greene took home Breakout Performance of the Year. Penn State basketball player Jamelle Cornley was awarded Most Courageous Performance and his Nittany Lions split honors with Illinois for Best Finish of the Year. Game of the Year was given to Northwestern and Michigan State men's basketball for their Jan. 21 matchup.
[FIVE // indiana’s erdy concludes play at u.s. open]
David Erdy, who just finished his freshman season for the Indiana men’s golf team, was the youngest player in the field this past week at the U.S. Open in Long Island, N.Y. The 19-year-old missed the 36-hole cut with rounds of 78-74, but put forth quite the effort on golf’s grandest stage. At the completion of the two rounds, Erdy was tied with Padraig Harrington for 137th place. At plus-12, he finished ahead of 17 competitors including former U.S. Open champions Ernie Els (+15) and Michael Campbell (+16). The Boonville, Ind., native also saved his best golf for last. In his final nine holes on Saturday, which was the front nine after beginning his round on the 10th tee, Erdy had a clean scorecard with two birdies and seven pars en route to a 33.
[SIX // welcome to the big stage shannon brown]
Congratulations to former Michigan State guard Shannon Brown, who earned an NBA championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers last Sunday night in the NBA Finals. Throughout the playoffs, Brown was a regular contributor off the L.A. bench, averaging 4.9 points and 13.1 minutes in 21 playoff games, shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 48.0 percent from 3-point range. He also averaged 1.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 0.5 steals. He appeared in every game through the first three rounds of the playoffs, and three contests in the NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic. Brown is the first Spartan to play for head coach Tom Izzo to win an NBA Championship ring, and the sixth in school history. He joins Earvin "Magic" Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers - 1980, 82, 85, 87, 88), Steve Smith (San Antonio Spurs - 2003), Matt Steigenga (Chicago Bulls - 1997), Sam Vincent (Boston Celtics - 1986), Kevin Willis (San Antonio Spurs - 2003) as former Spartans who were part of NBA Championship teams.
[SEVEN // speaking of spartan success]
In addition to Shannon Brown earning an NBA Championship this past week, congrats to fellow Spartan Kurtis Frymier, who threw a complete-game no-hitter on Wednesday as the St. Cloud River Bats downed LaCrosse Loggers, 2-0, in summer league action. It was the second no-hitter in River Bats history and the 10th no-no in Northwoods League history. Frymier struck out four and walked two batters in the seven-inning game. At one point, he retired 14 consecutive and after issuing a walk to the leadoff hitter in the seventh and final inning, he retired the next three to end the game. Frymier finished his junior campaign with MSU with a 5.35 ERA and a 1-3 record with two saves in a team-leading 22 appearances.
[EIGHT // more all-america accolades for big ten baseball]
The American Baseball Coaches Association announced Wednesday that five Big Ten standouts were named to the ABCA/Rawlings Sporting Goods All-America teams, collegiate baseball’s oldest selections. Indiana pitcher Eric Arnett was tabbed a first-team honoree along with Minnesota second baseman Derek McCallum. Third-team selections included Indiana catcher Josh Phegley and Ohio State pitchers Alex Wimmers and Jake Hale.
[NINE // let’s play two]
Following an inaugural event in which nearly 17,000 spectators attended games in a three-day period, the second Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, was confirmed this past week for Feb. 26-28, 2010. The 2010 edition, to be held in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Fla., will feature 10 teams from each conference competing in 30 games and be managed by API Sports. All 10 of the Big Ten’s baseball-playing institutions will once again compete in the 2010 Challenge, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue. The BIG EAST will send 10 teams to the 2010 event, as Louisville, Rutgers and Villanova will make their first appearances and will be joined by seven squads making a return trip – Cincinnati, Connecticut, Notre Dame, St. John’s, Seton Hall, USF and West Virginia. Games will be played daily in St. Petersburg at the Raymond A. Naimoli Complex, the former spring training practice facility of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Al Lang Stadium, the Rays’ former spring training game site. Games in Clearwater will take place at Jack Russell Stadium, once the spring home of the Philadelphia Phillies. In the inaugural 2008 event, the Big Ten came out on top, compiling a record of 15-9.
[TEN // ryan to coach familiar faces on team usa]
Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan, who will be serving as head coach of the 2009 USA Men's World University Games Team, learned this past week that he will have a few familiar faces on his squad from the Big Ten. USA Basketball announced that ¼ of the 12-member team that compete July 2-11 in Belgrade, Serbia, will be comprised of Big Ten players. Congratulations and best of luck to Ohio State’s Evan Turner, Penn State’s Talor Battle and Purdue’s Robbie Hummel. The 2009 USA squad will remain in Colorado Springs for two-a-day practices until they depart for Serbia this Thursday.
[ELEVEN // penn state’s curley honored by peers]
Penn State's Tim Curley has been recognized for the second time by his peers in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) as one of four regional Under Armour ADs of the Year. In the midst of his 16th year leading the Nittany Lions, Curley was selected the Northeast Region winner for the Football Bowl Subdivision. The 2005-06 NACDA President, Curley previously won the NACDA regional AD honor in 2003. The other 2008-09 NACDA FBS regional winners were: Damon Evans, Georgia (Southeast); Lawrence Cunningham, Tulsa (Central) and Sandy Barbour, California (West). Curley and the other winners were recognized during the 44th Annual NACDA Convention at the James J. Corbett Luncheon this past Saturday in Orlando. During the Nittany Lions' 16 full years as members of the Big Ten, Penn State has captured 17 NCAA Championships under Curley’s watch, nearly double the next closest Big Ten school.