July 5, 2011
The 2011 season came to a close for Big Ten rowing with a strong performance at the NCAA Championships on May 15. The conference placed three teams in the top 10 at the national regatta for the third time in the last four years with Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin earning top-10 finishes.
The Spartans' first varsity eight advanced to the six-team grand final to propel them to a seventh-place finish overall. The Buckeyes took fourth place in the second varsity eight grand final en route to a ninth-place finish overall. Wisconsin followed in 10th place after earning a spot in the first varsity four grand final. Michigan rounded out the group of Big Ten competitors, taking 13th place.
Ohio State won its third conference title and first since 2006 at the 2011 Big Ten Championships on Lake Lilly at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. The Buckeyes finished in the top three in all six races, earning first-place finishes from their second varsity eight and second varsity four crews. Ohio State amassed 142 points en route to the victory.
Michigan placed second at the regatta, totaling 124 points after winning the first and second novice eight races and using a runner-up finish from its first varsity four. Wisconsin totaled 121 points to take third place on the strength of a first-place finish from its first varsity four boat. After winning the first varsity eight race, Michigan State placed fourth with 111 points. Minnesota followed in fifth (68), while Indiana took sixth (53) and Iowa placed seventh (25).
Following the conference championships, the Big Ten issued its yearly postseason awards. Michigan State's Laura Cowal earned Big Ten Athlete of the Year accolades, while Michigan's Chrissy Holm picked up Freshman of the Year honors and Ohio State's Andy Teitelbaum was named Coach of the Year.
Seven Big Ten student-athletes earned CRCA All-America honors at season's end. Cowal and Michigan's Felice Mueller were awarded first-team All-America laurels, while Michigan's Natalie Eisermann, Michigan State's Kellie Lapointe, Ohio State's Ulrike Denker and Claudia Schiwy, and Wisconsin's Vanessa Kleiss took home second-team honors.