June 10, 2009
PARK RIDGE, ILL. -- The Big Ten Conference office announced the 2009 Medal of Honor winners today. The award was established in 1914 when the Big Ten endowed a Medal of Honor to be given annually to a student in the graduating class of each university that demonstrated proficiency in scholarship and athletics. In 1982, the Medal of Honor was expanded to include a senior female athlete from each institution.
This year, 22 student-athletes, representing 14 sports, have been chosen for the Medal of Honor. The recipients include 16 All-Big Ten selections and 21 Academic All-Big Ten honorees.
In addition, six Medal of Honor winners were named Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees for their respective sports during the academic year, including Illinois' Trent Meacham (men's basketball), Indiana's Austin Starr (football), Minnesota's Matt Nohelty (baseball), Northwestern's Eric Peterman (football), Penn State's Zoe Bouchelle (soccer) and Purdue's Jake Patacsil (wrestling). Of the more than 270 Sportsmanship Award honorees named throughout the year, Meacham and Peterman were chosen as two of 22 winners of the Outstanding Sportsmanship Award announced on June 4.
On the field, Medal of Honor selections guided their teams to four Big Ten Championships and two Big Ten Tournament titles during the 2008-09 campaign. Iowa's Lauren Pfeiffer led her field hockey team to the Big Ten Tournament crown, Ohio State's Brian Robiskie boosted his school to a share of the Big Ten Championship in football, while Penn State's Bouchelle helped her squad claim the Big Ten Championship and Big Ten Tournament title in soccer. Both Michigan State Medal of Honor winners claimed titles, with Doug DeMartin helping the Spartans to the Big Ten Championship in soccer while Sarah Schmidt was part of a Big Ten title team in rowing. Five Medal of Honor choices also garnered individual Big Ten titles, including Michigan's Steve Luke (174-pound wrestling title) and Tiffany Ofili (indoor 60-meter hurdles and outdoor 100-meter hurdles and long jump champion), Minnesota's Jenny Shaughnessy (200- and 400-yard individual medley swimming champion), Purdue's Kara Patterson (outdoor javelin champion) and Wisconsin's Gwen Jorgensen (indoor 3,000-meter champion).
Additionally, six Medal of Honor winners garnered Big Ten individual accolades for their performances during the 2008-09 campaign. For the Spartans, DeMartin was picked as the Men's Soccer Player of the Year while Schmidt was named the Rowing Athlete of the Year. In track and field, the Wolverines' Ofili was chosen as the Indoor Track Athlete of the Year while the Boilermakers' Patterson was tabbed the Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year. In field hockey, the Buckeyes' Linda Haussener was named offensive Co-Player of the Year. In the pool, the Gophers' Shaughnessy was honored as the Swimmer of the Championships.
The 2009 Big Ten Medal of Honor winners are:
Trent Meacham, Men's Basketball
Emily Zurrer, Women's Soccer
Austin Starr, Football
Whitney Thomas, Women's Basketball
Eric MacTaggart, Men's Cross Country and Track and Field
Lauren Pfeiffer, Women's Field Hockey
Steve Luke, Wrestling
Tiffany Ofili, Women's Track and Field
Doug DeMartin, Men's Soccer
Sarah Schmidt, Women's Rowing
Matthew Nohelty, Baseball
Jenny Shaughnessy, Women's Swimming and Diving
Eric Peterman, Football
Samantha Nemecek, Women's Fencing
Brian Robiskie, Football
Linda Haussener, Women's Field Hockey
James Pagana, Men's Track and Field
Zoe Bouchelle, Women's Soccer
Jake Patacsil, Wrestling
Kara Patterson, Women's Track and Field
Joe Krabbenhoft, Men's Basketball
Gwen Jorgensen, Women's Track and Field