July 4, 2010
[ONE // wimmers a winner]
Congratulations to Ohio State’s Alex Wimmers, as he was chosen Friday as the best pitcher in college baseball for the 2010 season. OSU’s junior All-American, who fashioned a 9-0 record and a 1.61 earned run average this season, was named by the College Baseball Foundation (CBF) as its National Pitcher of the Year Friday in Lubbock, Texas.
[TWO // head of the class]
Speaking of Buckeye baseball, Ohio State's Cory Kovanda was named a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award first-team All-American on Monday after the senior co-captain hit a career-best .346 this past season. Kovanda, a four-year starter at second base for the Buckeyes, was one of five on the Senior All-American First Team along with Senior CLASS Award Winner Daniel Bilbona from the California Irvine, Blake Dean from LSU, Jim Klocke from Southeast Missouri State and Tony Plagman, from Georgia. Kovanda was selected at the beginning of the season as a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award candidate for his positive contributions as a leader on and off the playing field throughout his Ohio State baseball career. Kovanda's efforts have included devoting time and raising money for a pancreatic cancer society. He lost his mother, Linda, to pancreatic cancer two weeks before the start of the 2009 baseball season. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 12, Kovanda has taken part in diabetes walks for life and served as a role model for those athletes afflicted with the disease.
[THREE // the new badger ball coach]
The Big Ten would like to welcome Brent Vigness to the conference as he was hired Thursday as the third softball coach in Wisconsin history. Vigness (VIG-ness) joins the Badgers staff after spending 17 seasons at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. At Creighton, Vigness was a three-time Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year and led the Bluejays to six Missouri Valley regular-season titles (1998-2000, 2007-09), six MVC tournament titles (1999, 2003-05, 2007, 2010) and seven NCAA regional appearances (1999, 2003-05, 2007-08, 2010).
[FOUR // wolverine women honored]
The University of Michigan softball coaching staff has been named the Great Lakes Region Coaching Staff of the Year, as announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, on Wednesday. Honored were head coach Carol Hutchins, associate head coach Bonnie Tholl, assistant coach Jennifer Brundage and volunteer coach Marx Keogh. The staff guided the Wolverines to their third straight Big Ten Championship in 2010, marking the 13th time in 18 years they have won the conference crown, and advanced to the super regionals in the NCAA Championships. Under their guidance, four Wolverines were named Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Americans, including second-team members Nikki Nemitz, Dorian Shaw, Jordan Taylor and Maggie Viefhaus.
[FIVE // world domination?]
As it was reported Monday in the Big Ten Blog, Michigan's Erin Pendleton and Penn State's Evonne Britton and Casimir Loxsom qualified for the 2010 World Junior Track and Field Championships, scheduled for July 19-25 in Moncton, New Brunswick, following their recent performances at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Britton qualified for two events in the world championships after winning the 400-meter hurdles (57.99) and claiming runner-up honors in the 100-meter hurdles (13.37). Classmate Loxsom took first place in the 800-meter run (1:47.45), while Pendleton won the junior discus throw with a toss of 52.54 meters. Meanwhile, former Purdue All-American Kara Patterson shattered the American record in the javelin. Her throw of 66.67 meters (218-08) is third in the world in 2010 and breaks the United States mark by more than two meters.
[SIX // no small feat]
Congratulations once again to Illinois men’s golf coach Mike Small on winning his second straight PGA Professional National Championship. Small, who won the title by three strokes after four grueling days at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind., hoisted the coveted Walter Hagen Cup on Wednesday evening for the third time in his career. Small put together a four-round total of 8-under 278 for a three-shot victory over runner up Sonny Skinner and, in the process, joined the late Larry Gilbert as the only three-time winner of the National Championship. As part of his win, Small will now lead the top 20 finishers to the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August.
[SEVEN // i-l-l, u-s-a]
The successful summer continued over the weekend for Illinois golfer Scott Langley as he helped the United States defeat Europe, 13-11, to win the Palmer Cup at Royal Porthush Golf Club in Northern Ireland. Langley earned the match-clinching point for the United States, finishing 1-up.
[EIGHT // the best soccer school in the country is…]
In a recent U.S. News and World Report, Indiana University was ranked as one of the top nine colleges for soccer fans. The Hoosiers earned the honor based on fan support by students, as well as the fact the team has won four national championships since 1998 and seven overall. Fans can check out the complete list here. Last year Indiana averaged 1,536 fans per game over a 12-match home schedule. The Hoosiers ended the year at home on a high note with a pair of NCAA Tournament victories over Louisville and Butler. Jerry Yeagley Field at Armstrong Stadium was also the site of the 2009 Big Ten Tournament.
[NINE // put it on the schedule]
This past Wednesday we learned that Penn State will be renewing its football rivalry with Syracuse beginning in 2013, which will take place at New Meadowlands Stadium. The 2013 matchup will be the first of a three-game series. In the 70 previous meetings with the Orange, Penn State holds a 42-23-4 advantage.
[TEN // bobblehead mania]
Several Big Ten schools posted online pleas this week to encourage their respective fans bases to vote for their school’s Big Ten Icon in the Big Ten Network’s “Icon Bobblethon.” The Big Ten Icon bobblehead that receives the most clicks as of Saturday, July 31 will earn $10,000 in scholarships for the winning institution's alumni association. Since March, Big Ten fans have been logging onto this website and clicking on their favorite bobblehead. Fans can vote once a day through July 31. In addition to the $10,000 for the alumni association's scholarship fund, fans also will have a chance to win a trip for two to a Big Ten football game of their choice and other great prizes. Beginning this fall, the Big Ten Network will celebrate the Big Ten Conference's greatest athletes with its most ambitious project in its three-year history: a multi-platform event whose centerpiece is a new 20-episode series, Big Ten Icons, hosted by legendary college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson.
[ELEVEN // kickoff is just right around the corner]
Finally this week, just a reminder that the 2010 Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon is officially less than a month away. It’s hard to believe, but the football season will be here before we know it! Fans can still purchase tickets to college football’s largest preseason event for $100 by calling the Big Ten office at (847) 696-1010. The 2010 Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon takes place Tuesday, August 3, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago.