This Week in the Big Ten

July 8, 2018

[ONE // hoosiers welcome new baseball coach]
Indiana athletics director Fred Glass announced this past Monday the hiring of Jeff Mercer as the 25th head coach of the Hoosiers baseball program. Mercer, a native of Bargersville, Indiana, is widely regarded as one of the top young baseball coaches in the country. Known for his strength as a recruiter and talent developer as well as his innovative use of advanced analytics, Mercer was named the 2018 Horizon League Coach of the Year with the Wright State Raiders. Mercer has developed twelve players he recruited into Major League Baseball draft picks since 2015 and led Wright State to 77 wins, including six wins against ranked opponents in just two seasons as head coach.

[TWO // four big ten baseball standouts earn freshman all-america accolades]
Congratulations to four Big Ten baseball newcomers who were recognized this past Thursday by as Freshman All-Americans for the 2018 season. Minnesota pitchers Patrick Fredrickson and Max Meyer earned their fourth Freshman All-America First Team honor of the offseason. Michigan first baseman Jess Franklin and starting pitcher Ben Dragani were both named to the second team.

[THREE // several women’s golfers named all-american scholars]
The Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American Scholars were announced this past Tuesday with 42 Big Ten students among a total of 1,011 women’s collegiate golfers recognized with this prestigious honor. The criteria for selection to the All-American Scholar Team are some of the most stringent in all of college athletics. The minimum cumulative GPA is 3.50. Congratulations to Illinois’ Dana Gattone, Tristyn Nowlin and Jan Prapassarangkul; Iowa’s Shawn Rennegarbe and Stephanie Herzog; Maryland’s Laura Van Respaille and Virunpat Olankitkunchai; Michigan’s Kathy Lim and Megan Kim; Michigan State’s Katie Sharp, Paz Marfa Sans and Yurika Tanida; Minnesota’s Grace Kellar, Joanne Free, Sabrine Garrison, Katherine Lillie and MuYu Wu; Nebraska’s Haley Thiele, Hannah Thiele and Pasinee Sritragul; Northwestern’s Janet Mao; Ohio State’s Jaclyn Lee, Adeena Shears, Rio Watanabe and Alanis Sakuma; Penn State’s Cara Basso, Jackie Rogowicz, Lauren Waller, Madeline Herr and Kamerine Taylor; Purdue’s Micaela Farah, Inez Wanamarta and Lauren Guiao; Rutgers’ Lori Char, Harriet Allsebrook, Carrie-Ann Lee, Ana Cortes, Ashleigh Greenham, Tatum Jackson and Emily Mills; and Wisconsin’s Jessica Reinecke and Alexandra Harkins.

[FOUR // illinois’ small recognized for big honor]
Staying on the links, Illinois head men’s golf coach Mike Small was recognized recently at 51st PGA Professional Championship by the PGA of America as the 2017 OMEGA Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year, which was originally announced in December.  A three-time PGA Professional Player of the Year (2006, 2007 and 2010), Small garnered the Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year laurel after earning top-five finishes at both the PGA Professional Championship (T-3) and the Senior PGA Professional Championship (4th) this year. He finished 42nd in the U.S. Senior Open, and becomes the only Illinois PGA Member to earn both the PGA Professional Player of the Year and Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year awards.

[FIVE // purdue promotes elliott to oversee cross country and track and field]
Purdue vice president and athletics director Mike Bobinski announced this past Thursday the promotion of Norbert Elliott to head coach of the Boilermakers' track & field/cross country program. Elliott has been at Purdue for six years, most recently serving as associate head coach since July of 2015, working with the sprinters, hurdlers, horizontal jumpers and relay teams. The Purdue women finished eighth at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships and were 2017 Big Ten outdoor champions. They placed 14th at the last two NCAA Indoor Championships. At the same time, the men finished 13th and 15th at the 2016 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, respectively.

[SIX // wisconsin’s ellenwood win canadian and pan am titles]
A month after winning the NCAA title in the heptathlon, Wisconsin women's track and field senior Georgia Ellenwood picked up two major wins on Thursday at the Canadian National Track and Field Championships at George Fox Stadium. The 2018 Big Ten Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year, Ellenwood won her first Canadian national title in the heptathlon thanks to her score of 6,026 points, marking the third time this year the Langley, British Columbia, native has scored more than 6,000 points in the heptathlon. She also won the Pan American Combined Events title, which was held concurrently with this year's Canadian meet.

[SEVEN // big ten makes up over half of women’s volleyball national team for pan ams]
Nine Big Ten volleyball standouts have been selected to the 14-member U.S. Women’s National Team, which began competition in the Pan American Cup at the in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, July 8-14. That’s 64 percent, by the way! Penn State is represented by three players, while Minnesota and Nebraska each have two. Best of luck to Illinois’ Jordyn Poulter, Minnesota’s Paige Tapp and Sarah Wilhite, Nebraska’s Kadie Rolfzen and Justine Wong-Orantes, Penn State’s Simone Lee, Haleigh Washington and Aiyana Whitney, and Wisconsin’s Lauren Carlini.

[EIGHT // basketball boiler tabbed nation’s top returnee]
Purdue junior Carsen Edwards has been named the top returning player in college basketball for the 2018-19 season according to NCAA March Madness. Edwards, a 6-foot, 1-inch junior from Atascocita, Texas, earned the nod after an outstanding sophomore season, helping the Boilermakers to a 30-7 overall record and a spot in the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season. Edwards is one of four Big Ten players mentioned in the list via NCAA's Andy Katz (Wisconsin's Ethan Happ – No. 4; Indiana's Juwan Morgan – No. 12; Nebraska's James Palmer Jr. – No. 13).

[NINE // big ten announces staff promotions and additions]
The Big Ten was pleased to announce several staff promotions and additions this past week in advance of the 2018-19 academic year. Congratulations to Tony Buyniski, Brandon K. Winbush, Chris Althoff, Satvik Patel, Shannon Malone, Laura Anderson, and Grace Bonoma! 

[TEN // thoughts with wisconsin wrestling]
Finally this week, our thoughts are with the Wisconsin wrestling program, which suffered the tragic passing of junior Eli Stickley on Thursday. Stickley was a starter for the Badgers at 141 pounds and placed sixth at the Big Ten Championships, which qualified him for his first NCAA Championships.