Big Ten Announces 2012 Medal of Honor Recipients

June 7, 2012

Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference office announced the 2012 Medal of Honor winners, 24 honorees from 13 different sports. One of the most prestigious conference awards in college athletics, the Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.”

The 12 institutions of the Big Ten Conference feature nearly 10,000 student-athletes, more than any other conference, and only 24 of those individuals are recognized each year with the Big Ten Medal of Honor. In the 98 years of the Medal of Honor, just over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.

This year’s list of distinguished student-athletes includes U.S. National Team members, NCAA Champions, Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winners, NCAA Elite 88 honorees and several All-Americans. Every one of this year’s Medal of Honor recipients was named Academic All-Big Ten in 2011-12, and 19 received All-Conference recognition. This year’s honorees are pursuing diverse fields of study with a list of majors that includes business, engineering, kinesiology, neuroscience and psychology, among many others.

Seven 2012 Medal of Honor winners – Illinois’ Luke Guthrie, Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins and Jenilee Rathje, Minnesota’s Anne Schleper, Nebraska’s Ashley Miller and Purdue’s Robbie Hummel and Brittany Rayburn – were named Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees in their respective sports during the academic year. Cousins, Rathje and Schleper were chosen as three of the 24 Outstanding Sportsmanship Award winners from a pool of nearly 300 Sportsmanship Award honorees recognized throughout the season.

Additonally, Indiana women’s swimmer Margaux Farrell and Penn State’s Miguel Pineda were the recipients of this year’s Wayne Duke Postgraduate Awards, which are annual scholarships that recognize one male and one female Big Ten senior student-athlete, who will pursue a postgraduate degree, for achievements in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and leadership. Michigan State’s Cousins and Purdue’s Hummel were recipients of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Awards in their respective sports, and Ohio State men’s swimmer Andrew Elliott received the NCAA Elite 88 Award for having the highest grade-point average among participants at the NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships.

Athletically, Medal of Honor selections led their teams to national and conference championships during the 2011-12 academic year. Schleper helped the Minnesota women’s hockey team to its third NCAA Championship and the WCHA Tournament title. Peter Konz helped the Wisconsin football team to a win in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game, while Guthrie led Illinois to the men’s golf championship,  Dan Madwed guided Michigan to the men’s swimming championship, Ashley Miller helped Nebraska to the women’s indoor track & field title, and Amanda Chidester led Michigan softball to its fifth consecutive conference title. Jenna Carosio, an Illinois women’s soccer player, and Rayburn, a Purdue women’s basketball player, both led their teams to conference tournament championships.

Six Medal of Honor winners garnered individual accolades for their athletic performances during the 2011-12 season. Illinois’ Carosio was named women’s soccer’s Defensive Player of the Year, while Guthrie was named the Big Ten’s Men’s Golfer of the Year. For Michigan, Madwed was the Big Ten’s Swimmer of the Year and Swimmer of the Championships, while Chidester was named the conference’s softball Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Northwestern field hockey player Chelsea Armstrong was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and Ohio State’s Bianca Alvarez was named the Big Ten Women’s Diver of the Year.

The Big Ten Medal of Honor was the first award in intercollegiate athletics to demonstrate support for the educational emphasis placed on athletics. It was acclaimed throughout the nation, and in particular by the NCAA “as one of the significant gestures yet made in college sports.” The Big Ten Medal of Honor was expanded in 1982 to include one female student-athlete from each institution. In 2014, the conference will celebrate the 100th anniversary of this prestigious award.

The complete list of 2012 Big Ten Medal of Honor winners can be found below. Go to to read more on each student-athlete.

Jenna Carosio, Women’s Soccer
Luke Guthrie, Men’s Golf

Margaux Farrell, Women’s Swimming
Matt Roth, Men’s Basketball

McKenzie Melander, Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country
Erik Sowinski, Men’s Track & Field

Amanda Chidester, Softball
Dan Madwed, Men’s Swimming

Michigan State
Kirk Cousins, Football
Jenilee Rathje, Volleyball

David Pachuta, Men’s Track & Field
Anne Schleper, Women’s Ice Hockey

Tyler Hitchler, Men’s Track & Field
Ashley Miller, Women’s Track & Field

Chelsea Armstrong, Field Hockey
Francis Brooke, Baseball

Ohio State
Bianca Alvarez, Women’s Diving
Andrew Elliott, Men’s Swimming

Penn State
Miguel Pineda, Men’s Gymnastics
Erin Thomas, Women’s Swimming

Robbie Hummel, Men’s Basketball
Brittany Rayburn, Women’s Basketball

Peter Konz, Football
Laurie Nosbusch, Women’s Soccer