May 21, 2008
Michigan's Adam Harris was named the Big Ten men's Track Athlete of the Year and of the Championships while Purdue's Billy Hardcastle was named the Field Athlete of the Year and of the Championships. On the women's side, Penn State's Shana Cox was named the Track Athlete of the Year and of the Championships, while Purdue's Kara Patterson was named Field Athlete of the Year and of the Championships, the Big Ten office announced on Wednesday.
Ron Warhurst of Michigan 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 first time in her career.
Rounding out the postseason awards, Hardcastle was named the men's Freshman of the Year, and Michigan's Emily Pendleton earned the women's first-year honors.
Harris becomes the Wolverines' first Track and Field Athlete of the Year and Championships since 1998 (Kevin Sullivan and John Mortimer, respectively). The junior sprinter paced his Michigan squad to its first team title since 1983, racking up 26.5 individual points. His two first-place finishes came in the 200-meter dash (20.75) and the 400-meter relay (40.26), while also placing third in the 100 meters (10.36). Harris show-cased his versatility by placing second in the long jump with a distance of 25-4.75 (7.74).
Hardcastle becomes Purdue's first Athlete of the Year since the award's inception in 1988. The newcomer swept both of his events at the 2008 Big Ten Outdoor Championships, taking home gold in the discus and shot put. His discus toss of 187.50 (57.13) bettered the conference field by almost four meters and his shot put throw of 61-10.25 (18.85) ranks 13th in the country. Hardcastle also becomes the second-consecutive Boilermaker thrower to garner Big Ten Freshman of the Year accolades as teammate Jon Pullum was honored in 2007.
Cox now has two Athlete of the Championships laurels as she won the award in 2006. She posted three first-place finishes at this year's championships guiding the Nittany Lion squad to their first team title in school history. Her winning 400-meter dash time of 52.0 currently ranks as the fourth-fastest time in the country and her first-place 200 performance of 23.15 ranks third in the East Regional. The senior sprinter also ran a leg of Penn State's gold medal 1600-meter relay team (3:36.24) and the runner-up 400-meter relay squad (44.97).
Patterson had arguably the most impressive performance at the 2008 Championships with her American-leading javelin throw of 202-00 (61.56). The junior smashed both the Purdue and Big Ten Championships records and nearly missed the NCAA record of 61.82 meters. Her toss is the second-longest throw in U.S. history and in the NCAA. She bettered the `A' standard for the Beijing Olympics and currently holds the world's ninth-best throw.
Pendleton becomes just the second Wolverine to garner the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award and the first since Carly Knazze in 2000. Pendleton stood atop the podium at this year's championships winning the discus with a throw of 171.5 (52.26). She provided 11 total points in Michigan's second-place championships finish.
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 Tiara Armstrong; Indiana's Kyle Jenkins and Kyndal Carr; Iowa's Shane Maier and Caleigh Bacchus; Michigan's Grant Till and Bettie Wade; Michigan State's Kevin Dacres and Paris Mandy; Minnesota's Ibrahim Kabia and Liz Podominick; Ohio State's Leonard Jatsek and Collen Farrell; Penn State's Ryan Taylor and Heidi Nadeau; Purdue's Brian Kaluf and Lauren Scott; and Wisconsin's Peter Dykstra and Jessica Stoltenberg. 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 can be found below.
MEN'S INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Track Athlete of the Year: Adam Harris, Michigan
Field Athlete of the Year: Billy Hardcastle, Purdue
Track Athlete of the Championships: Adam Harris, Michigan
Field Athlete of the Championships: Billy Hardcastle, Purdue
Freshman of the Year: Billy Hardcastle, Purdue
Coach of the Year: Ron Warhurst, Michigan
WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Track Athlete of the Year: Shana Cox, Penn State
Field Athlete of the Year: Kara Patterson, Purdue
Track Athlete of the Championships: Shana Cox, Penn State
Field Athlete of the Championships: Kara Patterson, Purdue
Freshman of the Year: Emily Pendleton, Michigan
Coach of the Year: Beth Alford-Sullivan, Penn State