THIS WEEK IN THE BIG 10

(BIG 10 RELEASE)

[ONE // penn state wins fourth straight ncaa championship]

Penn State won the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, capturing the ninth NCAA wrestling title in school history and fourth in a row. The Nittany Lions’ title marked the 13th straight year that a Big Ten school has claimed the NCAA Championship, with eight of Penn State’s crowns coming in the last nine years.  The Nittany Lions’ Jason Nolf earned his third straight 157-pound title, while Bo Nickal claimed the 197-pound championship for his third consecutive NCAA title. Penn State’s Anthony Cassar earned his first national title at 285, defeating Derek White of Oklahoma State by a 10-1 major decision.  Penn State amassed 137.5 points, while fellow Big Ten member Ohio State came in second with 96.5 points. Five other Big Ten schools also finished among the top 10 — Iowa in fourth place (76.0 points), Michigan in fifth (62.5), Minnesota in eighth (53.5), Rutgers in ninth (51.5) and Nebraska in 10th (51.0).  Three other Big Ten wrestlers claimed individual titles at the NCAA Championships. Iowa’s Spencer Lee secured his second straight 125-pound championship title. Rutgers’ Nick Suriano and Anthony Ashnault took home titles at 133- and 149-pounds, respectively, to become the first two wrestlers in Scarlet Knight history to win an NCAA individual title.

 

[TWO // notre dame captures big ten hockey title; joins ohio state in ncaa tournament]

For the second consecutive year, Notre Dame has claimed the Big Ten Hockey Tournament Championship. The Fighting Irish secured the trophy and an NCAA Championship berth with a 3-2 win over Penn State before a record-setting crowd at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Saturday night.  With the win, the Irish (22-13-3) are headed to the NCAA tournament for a program-record fourth consecutive season. Attendance for the tilt with Penn State (21-14-3) was 5,988, the largest crowd to see an Irish hockey game at Compton.  Joining Notre Dame in the NCAA Championship field is Ohio State, which learned its postseason fate Sunday night. Big Ten Champion Ohio State is the No. 3 seed in the West Regional in Fargo, N.D., and will face No. 2 seed Denver on ESPNU at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, March 29 at Scheels Arena. The Fighting Irish will be the No. 3 seed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H., and will face No. 2 seed Clarkson on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, March 29 at SNHU Arena.

 

[THREE // hockey hands out the hardware]

The Big Ten announced the hockey All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners on Tuesday as selected by the conference’s coaches and a media panel.  Michigan State’s Taro Hirose was named Big Ten Player of the Year, while also earning Scoring Champion honors with 34 points in 24 conference games. Ohio State’s Tommy Nappier was named the Goaltender of the Year, while teammate Sasha Larocque was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year, which is awarded to a defenseman or forward. Minnesota’s Sammy Walker collected Freshman of the Year laurels, while Ohio State’s Steve Rohlik was unanimously selected as the Coach of the Year.  The Big Ten also recognized seven Sportsmanship Award honorees.

 

[FOUR // wolverine women earn 25th big ten gymnastics title]

Michigan earned the 2019 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships title on Saturday, securing its 25th overall and sixth-consecutive crown. With the title, Wolverine head coach Bev Plocki earns the most Big Ten titles in conference history across all sports with her 24th Big Ten Championship.  The Wolverines tallied 197.400 points en route to the team title, followed by Illinois in second place with 196.650. Nebraska finished in third with 196.550 points, Minnesota placed fourth with 196.425, Penn State earned fifth with 196.125, while Iowa rounded out the top six with 196.075.  Michigan’s Natalie Wojcik and Olivia Karas and Minnesota’s Lexy Ramler shared the all-around title with a final score of 39.600. Eighteen students were named to the All-Championships Team.

 

[FIVE // michigan, minnesota take home women’s gymnastics honors]

The Big Ten announced its 2019 women’s gymnastics individual honors Friday evening. Minnesota’s Lexy Ramler was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, Michigan’s Natalie Wojcik was tabbed Big Ten Freshman of the Year by unanimous decision and Minnesota’s Jenny Hansen earned Big Ten Coach of the Year plaudits, voted by the ten conference coaches.Ramler earns Gymnast of the Year honors after being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season.  Wojcik claims unanimous Freshman of the Year honors after winning either Big Ten Gymnast or Freshman of the Week in nine of the 11 weeks of competition.  Hansen earns her second Coach of the Year award leading the Gophers to an 8-1 record and a second-place finish in the Big Ten regular season during her fifth year at the helm of Minnesota women’s gymnastics.

 

[SIX // trio shares inaugural men’s gymnastics title]

Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota all earned a share of the inaugural Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championship after finishing the regular season with a 4-2 record following the results of their respective meets on Saturday.  In the first season that the Big Ten is awarding a regular season title in men’s gymnastics, Iowa earned its share of the conference championship after going 1-1 in a tri-meet (406.350) at Minnesota, falling to the host Golden Gophers (410.950), but getting a victory over Penn State (398.200).  Despite its loss at Nebraska (408.700 – 403.800) on Saturday, Michigan still earned a share of the Big Ten title with other results around the conference during the afternoon.  Minnesota secured its portion of the Big Ten title after sweeping Saturday’s home tri-meet against Iowa and Penn State.  The Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championships will be held April 5-6 at Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena and will be televised on BTN at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT.

 

[SEVEN // three men’s programs advance to sweet 16; indiana alive in nit]

Three of the Big Ten’s eight teams competing in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship have advanced to the Sweet 16. No. 3 Purdue will take on No. 2 Tennessee in the South Regional semifinal in Louisville, Kentucky at 7:29 p.m. on TBS on Thursday, March 28.  No. 2 seed Michigan battles No. 3 Texas Tech in the West Region in Anaheim, California at 9:39 p.m. on CBS.  On Friday, March 29, No. 2 Michigan State takes on No. 3 LSU at 7:09 p.m. on CBS during the East Region semifinal in Washington, D.C.  Meanwhile, top-seeded Indiana remains alive in the National Invitation Tournament, and is set to do battle with No. 6 Wichita State at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 26 on ESPN

 

[EIGHT // big ten hoops standouts earn all-america honors]

The 2018-19 Sporting News and USBWA Men’s All-America Teams have been announced with four Big Ten students recognized.  Michigan State’s Cassius Winston has been named a first-team All-American by the Sporting News and a second-team selection by the USBWA.  Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ has been named a second-team All-American by the Sporting News and USBWA.  Purdue’s Carsen Edwards has been named an All-American for the second consecutive year. Edwards was named a second-team All-American by the USBWA and third-teamer by the Sporting News. Maryland’s Bruno Fernando was an honorable mention All-American by the Sporting News. The consensus All-American team will be named prior to the Final Four.

 

[NINE // four women’s basketball teams remain alive in postseason]

Three Big Ten women’s basketball programs remain alive in the NCAA Championship, while Northwestern continues to represent the Conference in the Women’s WNIT.  No. 2 seed Iowa has advanced to the Sweet 16, while No. 3 Maryland and No. 9 Michigan State take on their second-round opponents on Monday.

 

[TEN // four women’s swimming and diving programs finish in top 20 at ncaa meet]

Finally this week, Michigan led all Big Ten programs with a third-place finish at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, held this past weekend at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.  The Wolverines totaled 314 points to finish third, while Indiana (179) placed ninth overall.  Minnesota (158.5) finished 11th, followed by Wisconsin (100) in 16th, Ohio State (43) in 25th, Purdue (31) in 26th, and Northwestern (27) and Penn State (27) tied for 27th.  Nebraska (16) rounded out the Big Ten contingent in 33rd.  For Michigan, it is the second-highest finish in program history, tying the third-place team from 1996 and trailing only the national runner-up team from 1995. The finish marks a one-spot improvement over last year, giving the program back-to-back top-four finishes at the NCAA Championships for just the second time in its history (1995-96). Among the individual highlights, Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson set an NCAA and American record of 49.18 in the 100 Backstroke, an NCAA record in the 200 Back (1:47.24), as well as a pool record of 1:50.79 with a win in the 200 IM.  Indiana’s Lilly King set an NCAA record with a win in the 100 Breaststroke in 55.71 and a pool record of 2:02.90 in the 200 Breaststroke.  Minnesota’s Sarah Bacon earned the NCAA title on the 1-meter board with a meet record 363.20 points, while Penn State’s Allyson McHugh took first in the 1,650 Freestyle in 15:39.22.