Wisconsin's Connor and Massei Earn Big Ten Medal of Honor

Reed Connor

June 16, 2014

Rosemont, Ill. -

As the Big Ten continues to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Wisconsin announced that Reed Connor from the track & field and cross country team and Mary Massei of the softball team have been named Wisconsin’s 2013-14 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients.

The Big Ten, the nation’s oldest collegiate conference, commemorates the 100th anniversary of a very unique tradition – the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The conference’s most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. 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.” Big Ten schools currently feature more than 8,200 student-athletes, but only 24 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 99 years of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.

The 2014 Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, Connor enjoyed a successful career while at Wisconsin, earning four first-team All-America honors during his five years in Madison.

A native of Houston, Connor was an instrumental part of the men’s cross country team’s national championship in 2011, as he was the fourth Badger to cross the line, propelling UW to its fifth national title. He also led Wisconsin to three Big Ten track titles, four cross country conference championships and four NCAA Great Lakes Regional crowns during his career.

Connor was named Big Ten Outdoor Freshman of the Year in 2011 after winning the 5,000 meters, the first of his three conference titles, at the Big Ten meet.

During the 2014 track season, Connor won the 3,000 title at the Big Ten indoor meet and was runner-up in the 5,000, while at the outdoor conference meet he won the 10,000 meters and finished second in the 5,000. His performances helped the Badgers sweep both the indoor and outdoor track titles for the first time since 2007.

A Capital One Academic All-District honoree, Connor graduated from Wisconsin with a 3.43 cumulative grade point average with degrees in marketing and real estate and urban land economics.

It marks the second straight season a member of the men’s track and cross country team has earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor, as Elliot Krause earned the accolades last year.

A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Massei rewrote the Wisconsin softball record books during her storied career, as the outfielder set program records in runs scored (142), hits (249), batting average (.370), doubles (53), triples (14) and total bases (402).

Massei led the Badgers to the program’s first-ever Big Ten Tournament title in 2013 and propelled the squad to the NCAA tournament during her junior and senior seasons.

This season, Massei led the Badgers with a .375 batting average, and recorded a team-high 69 hits, 16 doubles and two triples. Her 69 hits this year ranked second in program history, while her 119 total bases also ranked second.

The Chino Hills, Cal., native was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Midwest Region first team and was a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree in 2013. A sociology major with a 3.13 cumulative GPA, Massei also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors three times during her career. 

Massei is the first player in UW softball history to earn the Big Ten Medal of Honor.