ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced the 2018 Big Ten Women’s Indoor Track and Field postseason award winners on Tuesday following the NCAA Championships. Purdue’s Brionna Thomas earned Track Athlete of the Year recognition. Minnesota’s Kaitlyn Long claimed Field Athlete of Year honors and the Buckeyes’ Anavia Battle was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Thomas earned two first-team All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships and was part of two school records. She finished fifth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 51.56 seconds, the third-fastest time in Big Ten history. The senior also ran the second leg of the 4x400-meter relay that finished runner-up with a time of 3:28.82, making Purdue the eighth fastest school in the country all-time in the event and setting a new Big Ten record. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native is the second Purdue student to claim Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year recognition after the Boilermakers’ Devynne Charlton earned the award in 2017.
Long claimed the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships weight throw title with a final throw of 23.30 meters and earned first-team All-America honors. The senior joins Minnesota alumnae Heather Dorniden, the 2006 indoor 800-meter champion, to make up the program’s two national champions. Long is the fourth Minnesota student to claim Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year recognition and the first since Alicia Rue in 2010.
Battle earned a pair of bronze medals at the Big Ten Championships in the 60-meter (7.42) and 200-meter (23.24) dashes. Her 200-meter time set a new school record and was .13 seconds faster than the previous record held by Aaliyah Barnes. Battle is the second Ohio State student to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year plaudits and the first since Barbara Kester in 1989.
The Big Ten previously announced Big Ten Track Athlete of the Championships, Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championships, Coach of the Year and Sportsmanship Award honorees following the Big Ten Championships. The release can be found here.
Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year
Brionna Thomas, Sr., Purdue
Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year
Kaitlyn Long, Sr., Minnesota
Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Anavia Battle, Ohio State