Big Ten Announces 2009 Postseason Outdoor Track and Field Honors
May 20, 2009
PARK RIDGE, Ill. – Minnesota’s Hassan Mead was named the Big Ten men’s Track Athlete of the Year and of the Championships while teammate Aaron Studt was named the Field Athlete of the Year and of the Championships. On the women’s side, Michigan’s Geena Gall earned Track Athlete of the Year and of the Championships accolades while Purdue’s Kara Patterson was lauded as Field Athlete of the Year and Minnesota’s Alicia Rue and Penn State’s Emma Schmelzer took home Co-Field Athlete of the Championships honors, the Big Ten office announced on Wednesday.
Steve Plasencia of Minnesota was named the men’s Coach of the Year for the first time in his career, while Penn State mentor Beth Alford-Sullivan received the women’s honor for the second consecutive season.
Rounding out the postseason awards, Indiana’s Derek Drouin was named the men’s Freshman of the Year, and Purdue’s Terri Anderson earned the women’s newcomer accolade.
Mead pulled off the double win at this year’s Big Ten Championships, claiming the 5,000- and 10,000- meter gold. Earlier in the school year, the junior was named the conference’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year as he bested all Big Ten runners at the annual championships meet. Currently, Mead holds the third-fastest collegiate time in the 5,000 meters with a mark of 13:28.45. Minnesota earns its second all-time Outdoor Athlete of the Year honor (Gearman 2007).
After placing second at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships, Studt turned around and won the Big Ten Outdoor Shot Put title with a 61-06.25 (18.75m.) heave, becoming just the second Gopher to win the conference shot put competition since 1995. The Ripon, Wis., native, also garnered third-place laurels in the hammer throw, helping guide the Gopher squad to their first outdoor title since 2003. Studt currently owns the nation’s eighth-best toss as he enters NCAA action.
Defending NCAA 800-meter champion Gall regained her Big Ten title in the half-mile race this year after taking home gold her freshman season. Gall went two-for-two at the conference meet as the senior also won the 1,500 meters, becoming the sixth-straight Michigan runner to do so. Nationally, Gall owns the fourth-fastest 800-meter time and the seventh-fastest 1,500-meter finish, the only Big Ten athlete to appear in the top-10 on both lists.
Patterson won her third all-time Big Ten javelin title this year as the senior brought home honors in 2005 and 2008. The Boilermaker captured the title by over 12 feet and has held the nation’s top throw all season with a mark of 191-08 (58.41m.). The 2008 Olympian is honored with her second consecutive Athlete of the Year award and Purdue earns its third honor is school history.
Rue set a new standard for Big Ten pole vaulters after the senior shattered the all-time conference record by three and a half inches, clearing the country’s third-highest mark of 14-3.25 (4.35m.). The Plymouth, Minn., native, earns the first Athlete of the Championships award in Gopher history. Rue’s first-place performance at this year’s conference meet gives Minnesota its second pole vault title since the event began in 1999.
Schmelzer played an integral role in Penn State’s Big Ten title defense, earning 21 points for her Nittany Lion squad. The senior placed second in the discus and the hammer throw and fourth in the shot put, qualifying for regionals in all three events.
The conference office also announced honorees from each team for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
Honorees for men’s and women’s outdoor track and field are Illinois’ Gakologelwang Masheto and Deserea Brown; Indiana’s Cedric Hudson and Ashley Rhoades; Iowa’s Paul Chaney and Betsy Flood; Michigan’s Robert Fiorillo and Casey Taylor; Michigan State’s Mike Smoot and Lisa Senakiewich; Minnesota’s Ben Puhl and Nikki Tzanakis; Ohio State’s Pat Whalen and Ayrizanna Favours; Penn State’s John Mahoney and Gayle Hunter; Purdue’s Bryce Simon and Lauren Scott; and Wisconsin’s Nate Larkin and Amy Lewis. These 20 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.
A complete list of individual honors as well as the All-Big Ten teams can be found below.
MEN’S INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Track Athlete of the Year: Hassan Mead, Minnesota
WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Track Athlete of the Year: Geena Gall, Michigan
ALL-BIG TEN TEAMS
Women’s First Team
Women’s Second Team
Men’s First Team
Men’s Second Team