This Week in the Big Ten

Illinois head men's golf coach Mike Small (left) was honored this past week as Midwest Region Coach of the Year while Thomas Pieters (right) was tabbed a third-team All-America selection.

June 24, 2013

[ONE // hoosiers conclude historic run at college world series]
We open the week by congratulating Indiana on a tremendous baseball season.  The Hoosiers bowed out of the College World Series this past Wednesday, falling 1-0 to Oregon State. Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Aaron Slegers pitched a one-run gem, going eight innings and striking out five, but Oregon State's Matt Boyd earned a four-hit shutout victory.  Indiana concluded the season with an overall mark of 49-16 and the first College World Series appearance in school history.

[TWO // big ten trio named all-americans on the links]
A trio of Big Ten men’s golfers, including a pair from NCAA Championship runner-up Illinois, earned 2013 PINA All-America status this past Thursday.  Congrats to third-team honoree Thomas Pieters of Illinois, as well as teammate Charlie Danielson, who was joined by Northwestern’s Jack Perry as honorable mention selections.

[THREE // another big honor for small]
University of Illinois head men's golf coach Mike Small was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association on Friday, marking the fourth time in the last five years that he has earned the honor. It also is Small's fifth career regional coach of the year award, as he earned the accolade in 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.  Small led a very young Illini team to a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships after the squad fell to Alabama in the championship match.

[FOUR // spencer named semifinalist for bowerman award]
Illinois sophomore Ashley Spencer has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the female Bowerman Award, announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The award is presented annually for the most outstanding male and female collegiate track and field athletes in the nation. The Bowerman Advisory Board will narrow down to three finalists on July 10, with the winner being named in December in conjunction with the USTFCCCA Convention. Spencer was recently named Illinois' Dike Eddleman Female Athlete of the Year after defending her NCAA title in the 400m earlier this month.

[FIVE // illini tracksters set to compete for red, white, blue]
Speaking of Ashley Spencer, the talented Illini standout continued her incredible track season as she qualified for the IAAF World Championships in the 400 meters this past weekend.  Spencer finished third in the event at the 2013 USATF National Championships to advance and compete for Team USA in Moscow, Russia, August 10-18.  Meanwhile, freshman Juan Paul Green advanced to the 2013 Pan Am Junior Championships after finishing runner-up in the 400m at Drake Stadium on Saturday. Green will be a part of Team USA at the Pan Am Junior Championships which will take place August 23-25 in Medellin, Columbia.

[SIX // hoosiers represent on track]
Indiana track and field alums De'Sean Turner and Andrew Poore battled for the third and final spot on Team USA's 3,000m Steeplechase team this past weekend for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, August 10-18. Turner earned the edge for third place while Poore took fourth and will serve as the U.S. alternate for the world championships.  Turner will join fellow Hoosier Derek Drouin at the World Championships, as Drouin qualified for Team Canada in the high jump on Saturday.

[SEVEN // husker heaves discus to championship at jamaican nationals]
A Nebraska track and field standout also got into the mix this past weekend, competing in his native country’s national senior event.  Chad Wright took home the discus crown at the 2013 Jamaican National Senior Championships this past Saturday in Kingston, Jamaica, with a winning throw of 204-6 (62.35)  Wright was not the only Husker to shine at the event.  Former NU national champion Nicholas Gordon finished second in the long jump at the Jamaican Championships with a leap of 25-9 ¼ (7.85).

[EIGHT // spartan tops the steeplechase]
Former Michigan State track and field star Nicole Bush won the women’s 3,000 steeplechase this past weekend at the USA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa with a time of 9:44.53.  She will now advance to the World Championships competing for Team USA.  Beth Rohl (discus) and Tori Franklin (triple jump) also placed in the top-five of their events this past weekend, while Jellisa Westney placed in the top-10 in the 200-meter dash at the Canadian Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick. Rohl finished as the top collegiate discus thrower on Sunday to place fourth overall with a mark of 59.66m/195-9. With her fourth-place finish, she will be the alternate for Team USA at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia in August. 

[NINE // wisconsin winners]
Former Wisconsin athlete Evan Jager lived up to his role as the favorite in the 3000-meter Steeplechase Sunday at the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships, defending his national title in the event with a run of 8:20.67 inside Drake Stadium.  Jager, the American record-holder and 2012 Olympic finalist, will compete alongside teammate Daniel Huling, who was second in 8:22.62, and former Indiana runner and the aforementioned De’Sean Turner, who was third in 8:25.56, for the 2013 IAAF World Championships in August.  In the 10,000 meters, Mohammed Ahmed earned yet another Canadian Championship on Thursday with a winning time of 29:22.04.  In winning the Canadian title for the second-consecutive year, Ahmed secured himself a spot in the 2013 IAAF World Championships, which are set for Aug. 10-18 in Moscow. It will be Ahmed’s second-straight appearance for Team Canada after finishing 18th in the 10,000 at the 2012 Olympics in London.

[TEN // wildcat shines at juniors]
Northwestern was also represented this past week in top track and field competition as freshman Camille Blackman recorded a 5,000-meter time of 17:25 -- three seconds shy of her career best -- to claim sixth place out of 14 runners at the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines.  By virtue of her top-eight finish, Blackman secured Junior All-American status from USA Track & Field, whose Junior Championships are limited to athletes who do not turn 20 years old until 2014.

[ELEVEN // a boilermaker trifecta]
Three Purdue Boilermakers also found success at the USATF Junior National Championships this past week.  On Thursday, Coy Blair (19.96m) and Tate Schienbein (9:17.30) won the shot put and 3,000-meter steeplechase, respectively, and earned spots on the US Junior National team that will compete in the 2013 Pan Am Junior Championships in August.  The next day, Purdue freshman Matthew McClintock won the 10,000 meters, which also qualified him for the Pan Am Juniors in Medellin, Columbia.

[TWELVE // taylor wrestles way to nationals; sanderson honored]
Finally this week, congratulations to Penn State wrestler David Taylor, who had an outstanding run at the 2013 World Team Trials this past weekend in Oklahoma City.  Taylor, wrestling on Friday, went 4-1 and took `true third' to earn a spot on the 2013 U.S. National Freestyle Team at 74 kg.  In addition, PSU head coach Cael Sanderson was named as an assistant coach for the 2013 U.S. World Team, while also being named last year's (2012) National Freestyle Coach of the Year.  The award is always announced mid-season during the following competitive calendar.