Wisconsin's Simon Bairu Named Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Year
Nov. 3, 2004
PARK RIDGE, IL - Wisconsin junior Simon Bairu and Michigan State freshman Danette Doetzel have been named the men's and women's Big Ten Cross Country Athletes of the Year, Conference officials announced today. In addition to capturing the individual titles at this past Sunday's Big Ten Cross Country Championships held at the University of Iowa, Doetzel was tabbed Big Ten Freshman of the Year, while Bairu helped lead his Badgers to their sixth-consecutive Conference title. The individual postseason awards were determined by a vote of the League's cross country head coaches.
Bairu, a native of Regina, Sasketchewan, captured his second straight Big Ten title last weekend in Iowa City as he breezed across the 8,000-meter Bill & Jim Ashton Cross Country Course circuit in a time of 23:45 - 13 seconds faster than his winning time from a year ago. Bairu, who won by 10 seconds over teammates Chris Solinsky and 2002 League champion Matt Tegenkamp, earned the sixth individual title for the Badgers in the last seven years and the 24th in the program's history. This year's team title was Wisconsin's 38th overall - a total that exceeds the next three teams combined - Michigan State (14), Indiana (13) and Michigan (9).
Doetzel became only the second freshman in League history to claim Big Ten Athlete and Freshman of the Year accolades in the same season and the first since Michigan's Deanna Arnill accomplished the feat in 1994. The Spartan freshman won the 6,000-meter race in convincing fashion in a Big Ten-record time of 20:33, besting second-place finisher and defending Conference champion and Athlete of the Year, Michigan's Rebecca Walter, by 20 seconds. Doetzel, a native of Macklin, Saskatchewan, is just the third woman in MSU history to win a Big Ten individual title, joining Misty Allison (1991) and Michelle Carson (2002). The Spartans recorded 85 points and finished second behind Michigan.
Ohio State's John Ealy earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors on the men's side, after finishing 15th at the Big Ten Championships with a time of 24:40. Ealy is just the second Buckeye to earn Freshman of the Year honors, as Eric Nelson split the inaugural honor with Michigan's State's Anthony Hamm in 1987. A native of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Ealy was the first freshman to cross the line last Sunday, just ahead of Iowa's Eric MacTaggart, who finished 16th overall with the same time as Ealy.
Wisconsin's Jerry Schumacher earned his fourth consecutive Big Ten Coach of the Year award, which marks his fifth honor in six seasons. His Badgers, who have been ranked No. 1 in the Men's Mondo National Top 30 poll the entire season, finished 1-2-3 and placed all seven runners in the top 21. Wisconsin's total of 23 points was the fourth-lowest winning score in Big Ten history. Schumacher's squad beat out second-place finisher Indiana by 81 points, shattering the Big Ten record for largest winning margin of 55, set by the Badgers in 1910.
Michigan's Mike McGuire was honored by his peers as the women's Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career. The Wolverines successfully defended their League title on Sunday, giving the 13th-year head coach his sixth Conference crown. Michigan captured its second three-peat in 10 years, having also won Conference titles from 1992-94. The Wolverines placed three runners in the top 10 and scored all five runners in the top 16. The Maize and Blue have now finished in the top two at the League Championships 12 times under McGuire's tutelage.
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 cross country are Illinois' Kris Cunningham and Tabitha Volling; Indiana's Tom Burns and Jessica Gall; Iowa's Matt Esche and Christine Kotarba; Michigan's Nate Brannen and Rebecca Walter; Michigan State's Andy Marsh and Caitlin Kelly; Minnesota's Ryan Malmin and Sarah Hesser; Northwestern's Marie Grabinski; Ohio State's Brian Olinger and Melanie Price; Penn State's Ryan McGarry and Kayla Matrunick; Purdue's Josh Robinson and Kara Lahey and Wisconsin's Matt Tegenkamp and A'Havahla Haynes.
These 21 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the Conference office will select one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.
MEN'S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
MEN'S FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
MEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR
WOMEN'S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
WOMEN'S FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
WOMEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR
BIG TEN SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES