Minnesota's Damion Hahn And Penn State's Kelly Mazzante Named 2004 Big Ten Conference Athletes Of The Year
June 29, 2004
PARK RIDGE, IL - In a repeat from 2001-02, a Minnesota male student-athlete and a Penn State female student-athlete have been named Big Ten Conference Athletes of the Year.
Two-time national champion wrestler Damion Hahn earned the Jesse Owens male crown while three-time Kodak All-American women's basketball standout Kelly Mazzante was chosen as the Suzy Favor winner. In June of 2002, Jordan Leopold from the Gophers' ice hockey team and Christie Welsh from PSU's soccer squad were selected as winners of the Conference's laurels.
The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of Conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.
Hahn, a four-time All-American, is just the third two-time NCAA Champion in school history. He is a three-time Big Ten champion and three-time All-Conference First Team honoree. He competed at 197 pounds as a junior and senior and at 184 during his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
With a 118-21-0 career record, including seven career pins, he ranks 11th in school history for wins and ninth in winning percentage (84.9 percent). The senior completed his career on a 27-match win streak, the sixth-longest in school history.
The nation's consensus No. 1 ranked wrestler at 197 pounds throughout his senior season, Hahn compiled a 21-5 career Big Ten record and was 6-0 this season in the League. He was named the team's Most Valuable Wrestler and the Most Outstanding Wrestler. He helped guide the Golden Gophers to three straight Conference titles (from 2001 through 2003).
A native of Lakewood, N.J. he is the son of Betty and Miles Hahn.
Hahn is Minnesota's fourth Big Ten Athlete of the Year, joining fellow Gophers John Roethlisberger (gymnastics, 1993), Gretchen Hegener (swimming, 1997) and Leopold (2002). He is the fourth Big Ten wrestler to earn Athlete of the Year status along with Ed Banach (1983) and Barry Davis (1985) of Iowa and Matt Lackey from Illinois (2003).
Mazzante is the first player in Penn State history, and the fourth in Big Ten annals, to repeat as Conference Player of the Year. A two-time Associated Press All-American, Mazzante is the only player in Conference history to be named a four-time First Team All-Big Ten selection. She also claimed 17 Big Ten Player of the Week awards, a Conference record.
She completed her career as the Lady Lions' and Big Ten's all-time scoring leader with 2,919 points, which also ranks ninth all-time in NCAA history. Mazzante holds numerous other school and Conference records, including three-point goals scored (357, third in NCAA history), single season scoring (872 in 2001-02) and freshman scoring record (529). She reached the 1,000 and 2,000-point plateaus faster than any other player in Big Ten history and scored the most points in a single game in League annals (49 versus Minnesota on Dec. 28, 2001).
Mazzante helped PSU earn a No. 1 seed in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. During her career, the Lady Lions advanced to three straight NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, including the Elite Eight this year, and back-to-back Big Ten championships in 2003 and 2004.
A native of Montoursville, PA, she is the daughter of Julia and Louis Mazzante.
Mazzante is the fourth Penn State standout to earn Big Ten Athlete of the Year honors joining Olga Kalinovskaya (fencing, 1996), Lauren Cacciamani (volleyball, 2000) and Welsh (2002). She is also the fifth women's basketball player to be so honored, along with Purdue's Joy Holmes (1991), MaChelle Joseph (1992), Stephanie White-McCarty (1999) and Katie Douglas (2001).
The Big Ten Conference has recognized a Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year since 1982 when Indiana's Jim Spivey earned the inaugural award. The following year, a women's award was created. In 1991-92 as part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of women's athletics in the Conference, the women's award was renamed in honor of former Wisconsin track standout and three-time recipient Suzy Favor.
A complete list of this year's Big Ten Conference Jesse Owens and Suzy Favor Athletes of the Year nominees and all-time winners follows.
2004 Big Ten Athlete of the Year Nominees
All-Time Jesse Owens Male and Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year Winners: