Illinois' Hunt Named Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year
May 18, 2005
PARK RIDGE, IL - Indiana senior Aarik Wilson and Illinois sophomore Cassie Hunt have been named the men's and women's Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Athletes of the Year, Conference officials announced today. The Spartans' Jeremy Orr and the Golden Gophers' Liz Podominick garnered Freshmen of the Year accolades, while Wisconsin's Ed Nuttycombe and Illinois' Gary Winckler collected Coach of the Year laurels. The individual postseason awards were determined by a vote of the League's track and field head coaches.
Wilson, a Fallon, Nev., native, captured two individual titles last weekend in Columbus en route to earning Athlete of the Championships honors. The senior recorded leaps of 24-5.5 and 54-5.25 in the long and triple jumps, respectively. Wilson became only the second student-athlete in League history to claim both the Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships awards during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Michigan's Kevin Sullivan was the first to record the quadruple win in 1995.
Hunt, a native of Roachdale, Ind., was a double-winner at the Championships, winning the 5,000-meter run and the 3,000-meter steeplechase and garnering Athlete of the Championships accolades. The sophomore helped lead Illinois to its fifth team title and first since 1995. The Illini recorded 135 points, besting the total of runner-up Penn State (112.5).
Orr earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors on the men's side, after highlighting the final day of the Championships with two fourth-place finishes for Michigan State. He is the first Spartan to earn Freshman of the Year honors. A native of Detroit, Mich., Orr posted times of 10.49 and 21.25 in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, respectively, and was also part of MSU's 4x100-meter relay squad.
Podominick became the first Gopher to claim the Freshman of the Year award on the women's side after winning the shot put and discus titles at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. A native of Lakeville, Minn., Podominick is the second Gopher to win both the shot put and discus titles at the same outdoor Championships. Rachel Lewis also notched the double win in 1990.
Nuttycombe earned his second straight Big Ten Coach of the Year award, making it his eighth honor in the last 11 seasons. The Badger men claimed their 15th overall Big Ten Outdoor Championships title and their fifth in the last six years. Wisconsin scored a meet record 174 points, and also won its second consecutive Big Ten "Triple Crown" - Conference titles in cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field during the same academic year.
Winckler was recognized by his peers as women's outdoor Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his career. Under his guidance, the Illinois women have captured five outdoor Conference crowns. At this year's Championships, the lllini had three champions, four second-place finishers and six third-place medalists and scored in all but one event that they entered.
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.
These 20 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the Conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.
MEN'S ATHLETE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
MEN'S FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
MEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR
WOMEN'S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
WOMEN'S ATHLETE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
WOMEN'S FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
WOMEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR
BIG TEN SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES