Big Ten Announces Women's Outdoor Track & Field Individual Honors
May 20, 2014
Rosemont, Ill. -
The Big Ten Conference announced the 2014 Big Ten women’s outdoor track & field individual award winners on Tuesday. Michigan’s Erin Finn was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year, Track Athlete of the Championships and Freshman of the Year, while Purdue’s Dani Bunch was tabbed Field Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships. Penn State head coach Beth Alford-Sullivan was named Coach of the Year by her peers.
After a record-setting first season, Finn becomes the first women’s track & field athlete to be named Track Athlete of the Year, Track Athlete of the Championships and Freshman of the Year in the same season. Last weekend, the newcomer broke two meet records at the Big Ten Championships en route to titles in both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs. Finn’s time of 32:41.65 in the 10,000-meter run broke a 31-year old Wolverine record and 28-year old meet standard, while her mark of 15:48.90 broke a mark that had stood since 2009. This season, the West Bloomfield, Mich., native holds the nation’s third and sixth best times in the 10,000- and 5,000-meter runs, respectively. She becomes the third Wolverine to be named Athlete of the Year and Freshman of the Year and the fourth to be tabbed Athlete of the Championships.
Bunch was named Field Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete of the Championships after helping Purdue to a third-place finish at the Big Ten Championships last weekend, the Boilermakers’ best effort in 13 years. The senior posted second-place finishes in both the hammer throw and shot put, tallying her 10th and 11th Big Ten career medals. The Mahomet, Ill., native has won five gold and six silver medals at conference championship events. She is Purdue’s third Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships and the first Boilermaker to win both awards in the same season since Kara Patterson in 2008.
Alford-Sullivan earned her second-consecutive Coach of the Year honor after leading the Nittany Lions to back-to-back Big Ten titles and the program’s fifth crown in the last seven years. The accolade is the fifth of her career. She helped Penn State to five event titles at the Big Ten Championships, as Brittney Howell (heptathlon), Melissa Kurzdorfer (hammer throw), Mahagony Jones (200-meter dash), Kiah Seymour (400-meter hurdles) and the 4x400-meter relay team comprised of Jones, Seymour, Dynasty McGee and Tichina Rhoades claimed conference crowns.
The Big Ten Conference office recognizes student-athletes from each team as Sportsmanship Award Honorees. 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 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.
Track Athlete of the Year
Erin Finn, Michigan
Field Athlete of the Year
Dani Bunch, Purdue
Freshman of the Year