ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference celebrated its 106th class of recipients who earned the esteemed Big Ten Medal of Honor earlier this year. Twenty-eight students from 18 different sports were honored with the prestigious award, which was established in 1915 and was the first award in intercollegiate athletics to demonstrate support for the educational emphasis placed on athletics.
The Big Ten Medal of Honor is awarded to one male and one female student from the graduating class of each member institution who has demonstrated excellence on and off the field throughout their college career.
Big Ten schools currently feature more than 9,800 students competing in intercollegiate athletics, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In more than 100 years of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, more than 1,500 students have earned this distinction.
This year’s honorees claimed national and conference academic and athletic accolades, along with numerous Big Ten team and individual championships. Every recipient claimed Academic All-Big Ten or All-Big Ten recognition at least once in their career, while pursuing diverse fields of study with a list of majors that includes accounting, advertising management, aerospace engineering, biochemistry, biological sciences, business and marketing education, business operations management, communication, criminology and criminal justice, early childhood education and exceptional needs, economics, electrical engineering, finance, human physiology, journalism, kinesiology, management, physical therapy, political science, psychology, recreation, sport and tourism, Spanish, sport management and others.
The 2020 Big Ten Medal of Honor class of recipients boasts three Academic All-Americans in Michigan’s Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort (field hockey) and Thomas Cope (swimming & diving), as well as Nebraska’s Luke Siedhoff (track & field). The class also includes six 2019-20 Academic All-District honorees — Illinois’ Michael Paradise (gymnastics), Minnesota’s Ivy Lu (gymnastics) and Penn State’s Kaleigh Riehl (soccer), in addition to Cope, Fernandez Lacort and Siedhoff.
Three members of the 2020 Big Ten Medal of Honor class also earned Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award honors in 2020: Purdue’s Jaret Carpenter (cross country/track & field), Nebraska’s Sierra Hassel (gymnastics) and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston (basketball). The trio was joined by Iowa’s Nate Stanley (football), Northwestern’s Jared Thomas (football), Northwestern’s Kirsten Mansfield (field hockey), Ohio State’s Jincy Dunne (ice hockey) and Rutgers’ Jordan Pagano (wrestling), who were named Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees in their respective sports during the academic year.
Cope, Paradise and Siedhoff were also recipients of the Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship.
Several students were national or Big Ten individual and/or team champions in 2019-20. Maryland’s Kaila Charles helped lead the Terrapins women’s basketball team to its fifth Big Ten title and fourth Big Ten Tournament title; Cope served as a team captain for Michigan’s swimming and diving team and helped the Wolverines capture a Big Ten Championship, while also winning individual Big Ten titles in the 200-yard breaststroke and 800-yard freestyle relay; Winston led the Michigan State men’s basketball team to a share of the Big Ten regular-season title; Dunne served as a captain for the Ohio State women’s ice hockey team and helped lead the Buckeyes to the first WCHA Championship in program history; Riehl became the NCAA Division I women’s soccer all-time leader in minutes played by a position player as a senior in 2019 and led Penn State to a Big Ten Championship; Ohio State’s Kollin Moore won the 2020 Big Ten Wrestling Championship title at 197 pounds, marking the third time in his career that he captured a Big Ten crown; Purdue’s Janae’ Moffitt won a Big Ten Championship in the indoor high jump, marking the fourth-overall high jump crown of her career; Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson won her third-straight Big Ten title in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, captured her second-consecutive 200-yard individual medley title, and also contributed to a first-place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay; Zach Lorbeck of Wisconsin’s track and field team won the 2020 Big Ten indoor title in the heptathlon, scoring a personal best 5,833 points.
Numerous members of the 2020 Big Ten Medal of Honor Class also earned conference individual awards during the 2019-20 academic year. Hernandez Lacort was named the Big Ten Field Hockey Player of the Year and Carpenter was selected as the 2019 Big Ten Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Additionally, Dunne was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season.
2019-20 Big Ten Medal of Honor Class
Men: Michael Paradise, Gymnastics
Women:Taylor Edwards, Basketball/Softball
Men: Jake Kleimola, Wrestling
Women: Emily Powell, Water Polo
Men: Nate Stanley, Football
Women: Hannah Greenlee, Rowing
Men: Jared Bernhardt, Lacrosse
Women: Kaila Charles, Basketball
Men: Thomas Cope, Swimming & Diving
Women: Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort, Field Hockey
Michigan State
Men: Cassius Winston, Basketball
Women: Gabriella Douglas, Gymnastics
Men: Carter Coughlin, Football
Women: Ivy Lu, Gymnastics
Men: Luke Siedhoff, Track & Field
Women: Sierra Hassel, Gymnastics
Men: Jared Thomas, Football
Women: Kirsten Mansfield, Field Hockey
Ohio State
Men: Kollin Moore, Wrestling
Women: Jincy Dunne, Ice Hockey
Penn State
Men: Stephen Nedoroscik, Gymnastics
Women: Kaleigh Riehl, Soccer
Men: Jaret Carpenter, Cross Country/Track & Field
Women: Janae’ Moffitt, Track & Field
Men: Jordan Pagano, Wrestling
Women: Amanda Visco, Soccer
Men: Zach Lorbeck, Track & Field
Women: Beata Nelson, Swimming & Diving