July 12, 2009
[ONE // big ten announces player attendees for kickoff luncheon]
The Big Ten announced Wednesday the 33 student-athletes scheduled to attend the 2009 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, held Tuesday, July 28, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The 38th annual event, which also features all 11 conference head coaches, begins at 10 a.m. CT with the players and coaches autograph and photo session for fans attending the luncheon. The luncheon is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. CT, with comments from all 11 coaches and returning All-Big Ten wide receiver Eric Decker of Minnesota, who will speak on behalf of the players in attendance. For a complete look at KOL attendees, click here.
[TWO // lavender and merchant help u.s. women win gold]
Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender – the two-time defending Big Ten Player of the Year – scored 14 points Saturday in an 83-64 victory over Russia to help Team USA earn the gold medal at the Women's World University Games. Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant served as an assistant coach for the U.S., which finished the competition with a perfect 7-0 record. Lavender led all Americans with 7.1 rebounds per game and was third on the team in scoring with 10.4 points per game. For a complete recap on the women’s gold-medal winning performance, click here.
[THREE // conference contingent guides usa to bronze medal]
On the men’s side, Penn State’s Talor Battle and Ohio State’s Evan Turner scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, to help Team USA to a 91-80 bronze-medal victory over Israel on Saturday. Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan ensured Team USA would keep its medal-winning streak in tact as the Americans have medaled in every World University Games while compiling a 131-8 record. Battle led all scorers with 10.3 points per game, while Turner tallied a team-high 18 assists over the seven games, in which the U.S. posted a 6-1 record. Purdue’s Robbie Hummel recorded a balanced 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds each contest.
[FOUR // spartans pave path for purdue?]
This past Friday, Andy Katz penned an interesting article on Big Ten men’s basketball for espn.com. The prominent writer wrote about how Purdue is in a unique position to follow the path set forth by Michigan State last year. The Spartans captured the Big Ten title and advanced all the way to the Final Four, which was played in their backyard at Detroit’s Ford Field. This year, the talented Boilermakers have a chance to follow the same path as the 2010 Final Four will be played in their backyard at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
[FIVE // big ten boasts several on national field hockey team]
Several Big Ten field hockey stars were recently selected to represent the United States on its Women’s National Team. Congratulations to former Indiana star Kayla Bashore (Midfielder) and Iowa Hawkeyes Caroline Blaum (Striker), Sarah Dawson (Striker), Lauren Pfeiffer (Midfielder) and Barb Weinberg (Goalkeeper) on their selections.
[SIX // four men’s golfers recognized for academic achievement]
Four Big Ten men’s golfers were named Thursday as Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars by the GCAA. To be eligible for Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least two full years at the collegiate level, participate in 70-percent of his team’s competitive rounds or compete in the NCAA Championships and have a stroke-average under 76.0. Congratulations to Michigan’s Ross Millman, Michigan State’s Jordan Ensrud, and Northwestern’s Jonathan Bowers and Andy DeKeuster for their work on and off the golf course.
[SEVEN // green looks good on spartans’ newman]
For Michigan State senior Jack Newman, there is green… and then there is green. Earlier this year it was Augusta green when he played at the Masters. This past weekend, he matched Spartan green with John Deere green and used fairways and greens to tie for 39th at the PGA Tour John Deere Classic, held at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. Newman, the only amateur to make the cut, ended the tournament at 8-under par 277 (71-67-69-70). Since Friday's play was postponed due to inclement weather, the field was forced to play 36 holes today, and Newman would go on to post rounds of 2-under 69 and 1-under 70. His complete scorecard can be found here. In addition to Newman’s impressive weekend, former Illinois standout and PGA Tour veteran Steve Stricker used a final round 64 to claim a 3-shot victory in the event with an overall score of 20-under 264.
[EIGHT // hernandez gets major experience at u.s. open]
Speaking of impressive performances on the links, how about 2009 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year Maria Hernandez and her efforts at this past weekend’s U.S. Open? In just her second tournament as a professional golfer, the 2009 NCAA Champion and National Player of the Year fired a 1-over 72 in the final round to finish in a 6-way tie for 34th at 11-over 295. Hernandez was tied for 19th after the 36-hole cut with rounds of 74 and 72 to open play. A third-round 77 forced Hernandez to play catch up on Sunday, but the former Boilermaker closed strong at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa.
[NINE // the ultimate champion]
Another former Big Ten standout and NCAA Champion had a memorable performance this past weekend. Brock Lesnar, who wrestled at Minnesota and was the 2000 NCAA Heavyweight Champion, became the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion in Mixed Martial Arts action following a victory over Frank Mir in Las Vegas, improving his record to 4-1.
[TEN // the ultimate fighter]
Staying in the world of mixed martial arts, a former Big Ten football player will try his hand in ultimate fighting in front of national televised audience. Matt Mitrione, who was a unanimous second-team All-Big Ten lineman for Purdue in 2000, will be one of 16 cast members to compete on the upcoming 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) on Spike TV. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound former Boiler played six seasons in the NFL as a member of the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings after graduating from Purdue in 2002.
[ELEVEN // northwestern’s amonte hiller honored in lacrosse]
Finally this week, we congratulate Northwestern women’s lacrosse head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, who was named once again as the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division I National Coach of the Year for the second time in as many years. Amonte Hiller, who also claimed the 2005 honor, guided the Wildcats to a 23-0 record and their fifth-straight national championship in 2009.