Northwestern's Herbert and Purdue's Hernandez Named Big Ten Athletes of the Year

June 19, 2009

Park Ridge, Ill. - Northwestern wrestler Jake Herbert and Purdue golfer Maria Hernandez were named the Jesse Owens Male and Suzy Favor Female Big Ten Athletes of the Year, respectively, the conference office announced on Friday. The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.

Herbert, a two-time NCAA Champion, closed out his career on a 66-match winning streak, including a perfect 34-0 record in 2009. For his efforts, he was awarded the 2009 Dan Hodge Trophy, which is presented to college wrestling's most dominant performer. He became the first Wildcat to earn the honor and the fourth athlete from the Big Ten Conference to take home the award. Herbert won his NCAA titles in 2007 and 2009, bookending his Olympic redshirt season in 2008. He also won three Big Ten titles in his career and was named this year's Big Ten Wrestler of the Year. The senior leaves Northwestern as the most decorated wrestler in school history, also holding the distinction of the school's only three-time Midlands champion. In addition to his accomplishments on the mat, Herbert is an Academic All-Big Ten and NWCA All-Academic Team honoree. Herbert is the second Northwestern student-athlete to be named Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year, joining golfer Luke Donald in 1999. He is the third consecutive wrestler to earn the honor.

Hernandez became the first Big Ten student-athlete to win the NCAA Women's Golf Championship in the spring, earning a one-stroke victory. The Pamplona, Spain, native also was named the Honda Sports Award winner, the PING/NGCA National Player of the Year and Big Ten Player of the Year after winning her second straight Big Ten title and leading the Boilermakers to the team's third conference championship in the last four years. The senior finished her career with a school-record 14 tournament wins, including six in 2008-09. She has also claimed the Big Ten's Mary Fossum Award, which is given to the player with the lowest conference stroke average, three times, and has been named Big Ten Player of the Year each of the last three seasons. In addition, she is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. Hernandez is the fifth Boilermaker to be named the Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year and the first since Katie Douglas in 2001. She is the first-ever golfer to earn the accolade.



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.




Male Nominee

Female Nominee


Paul Ruggeri (gymnastics)

Angela Bizzarri (cross country/track)


Jorge Campillo (golf)

Christina Loukas (diving)


Shonn Greene (football)

Racheal Marchand (cross country/track)


Steve Luke (wrestling)

Tiffany Ofili (track)

Michigan State

Franklin Gomez (wrestling)

Nicole Bush (cross country/track)


Eric Decker (football/baseball)

Gigi Marvin (ice hockey)


Jake Herbert (wrestling)

Hannah Nielsen (lacrosse)

Ohio State

J Jaggers (wrestling)

Jantel Lavender (basketball)

Penn State

Casey Sandy (gymnastics)

Nicole Fawcett (volleyball)


David Boudia (diving)

Maria Hernandez (golf)


Jamie McBain (ice hockey)

Jessie Vetter (ice hockey)




1982 - Jim Spivey, Indiana, track and field/cross country

1983 - Ed Banach, Iowa, wrestling

1984 - Sunder Nix, Indiana, track and field

1985 - Barry Davis, Iowa, wrestling

1986 - Chuck Long, Iowa, football

1987 - Steve Alford, Indiana, basketball

1988 - Jim Abbott, Michigan, baseball

1989 - Glen Rice, Michigan, basketball

1990 - Anthony Thompson, Indiana, football

1991 - Mike Barrowman, Michigan, swimming

1992 - Desmond Howard, Michigan, football

1993 - John Roethlisberger, Minnesota, gymnastics

1994 - Glenn Robinson, Purdue, basketball

1995 - Tom Dolan, Michigan, swimming

1996 - Eddie George, Ohio State, football

1997 - Blaine Wilson, Ohio State, gymnastics

1998 - Charles Woodson, Michigan, football

1999 - Luke Donald, Northwestern, golf

2000 - Ron Dayne, Wisconsin, football

2001 - Ryan Miller, Michigan State, ice hockey

2002 - Jordan Leopold, Minnesota, ice hockey

2003 - Amer Delic, Illinois, tennis (co)

2003 - Matt Lackey, Illinois, wrestling (co)

2004 - Damion Hahn, Minnesota, wrestling

2005 - Luis Vargas, Penn State, gymnastics

2006 - Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan, swimming

2007 - Cole Konrad, Minnesota, wrestling

2008 - Brent Metcalf, Iowa, wrestling

2009 - Jake Herbert, Northwestern, wrestling




1983 - Judi Brown, Michigan State, track and field

1984 - Lisa Ishikawa, Northwestern, softball

1985 - Cathy Branta, Wisconsin, cross country/track

1986 - Stephanie Herbst, Wisconsin, cross country/track

1987 - Jennifer Averill, Northwestern, field hockey/lacrosse

1988 - Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country

1989 - Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country

1990 - Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country

1991 - Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse, Michigan State, diving (co)

1991 - Joy Holmes, Purdue, basketball (co)

1992 - MaChelle Joseph, Purdue, basketball

1993 - Lara Hooiveld, Michigan, swimming

1994 - Kristy Gleason, Iowa, field hockey

1995 - Laura Davis, Ohio State, volleyball

1996 - Olga Kalinovskaya, Penn State, fencing

1997 - Kathy Butler, Wisconsin, track and field (co)

1997 - Gretchen Hegener, Minnesota, swimming (co)

1998 - Sara Griffin, Michigan, softball

1999 - Stephanie White-McCarty, Purdue, basketball

2000 - Lauren Cacciamani, Penn State, volleyball

2001  - Katie Douglas, Purdue, basketball

2002 - Christie Welsh, Penn State, soccer

2003 - Perdita Felicien, Illinois, track and field

2004 - Kelly Mazzante, Penn State, basketball

2005 - Jennie Ritter, Michigan, softball

2006 - Tiffany Weimer, Penn State, soccer
2007 - Jessica Davenport, Ohio State, basketball

2008 - Hannah Nielsen, Northwestern, lacrosse

2009 - Maria Hernandez, Purdue, golf