COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State Department of Athletics held the 49th-annual Scholar-Athlete Dinner Tuesday in the Archie M. Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union to honor its student-athletes for their academic and athletic accomplishments. At the event, a record 561 Ohio State Scholar-Athletes were recognized and a number of senior awards were given out.
The Big Ten, the nation's oldest collegiate conference, commemorates the 102nd anniversary of a very unique tradition - the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The conference's most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work." Big Ten schools currently feature almost 9,500 student-athletes, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 100 years of the Medal of Honor, almost 1,400 student-athletes have earned this distinction.
The other finalists for the Big Ten Medal of Honor were Chris Diaz (tennis), Bryce Haynes (football), Remington Lyman (rifle) and Zach Mason (soccer) on the men's side and Maddy McIntyre (softball), Celina Merza (fencing), Michela Paradiso (soccer) and Rebecca Rings (track & field/CC) on the women's side.
Boren played in 42 consecutive games for the football Buckeyes over the last three seasons and started 28 consecutive times at center, including in all 15 games during Ohio State's 2014 College Football Playoff national championship season. He is Ohio State's 21st National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete and a two-time College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American, including first-team honors in 2015. Boren is also a two-time Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference honoree and a four- time OSU Scholar-Athlete as a sustainable plant systems major.
Shields has helped the women's rowing team to three consecutive NCAA and Big Ten championships. Shields, a native of Rangiora, New Zealand, has won three NCAA event titles and three Big Ten event titles in addition to team championships, and she enters her senior season unbeaten with a race record of 105-0. Along the way, Shields has been named Ohio State Female Athlete of the Year, Big Ten Rower of the Year, First Team All-America and All-Big Ten. An air transportation major, she is a three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten selection.
“I’m ecstatic to have received this honor," Shields said after her win. "To even know that I was a finalist was amazing, and then to receive it is beyond what I thought it could be. Over the past four years at the scholar athlete banquet I’ve seen the finalists and recipients, so to be amongst the caliber of student-athletes who have won is just amazing.”
Sheilds was quick to give credit to her fellow rowers for helping her during her collegiate journey: “All of my individual achievements wouldn’t mean anything without my team. They’re the women who push me when I don’t think I can go any further and they’re the reason I can do all of this.”
The Corwin A. Fergus Memorial Award was given to DJ MacDonald of the men's swimming team and Rebecca Rings, Sakiko Minagawa, and Jill Kanney of the women's track & field/cross country programs. Fergus scholars are male or female student-athletes who have excelled in athletics, achieved academically (3.00 GPA minimum), demonstrated positive qualities of character and citizenship and shown potential for success in a graduate or professional program. Established in 1967, the award is given in memory of Corwin A. Fergus, a member of the Ohio State football team (1912-14), a graduate of the Ohio State School of Law and later a successful businessman. The award reflects his strong commitment to the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence and his positive contributions to society. The $5,000 postgraduate scholarships, which each are renewable for up to three years, can be utilized for graduate study or professional programs at Ohio State.
Kanney was also the recipient of the Pierce Phoenix Award, which is given to a student-athlete who has excelled in academics, athletics and personal growth attained through perseverance and hard work. The award is to be used to attend graduate or professional school at Ohio State, with preference given to someone who intends to enroll in the Fisher College of Business.
In addition to being a Medal of Honor finalist, Haynes was also the recipient of the Men's Varsity O Scholarship Award. The Men's Varsity O award provides a male scholar-athlete with a one-time stipend of $4,000 for postgraduate studies at Ohio State. The ideal candidate maintained a 3.0 GPA or higher during undergraduate studies, earned a varsity letter and performed community service.
Katie Mitchell of the women's volleyball team received the Leann Grimes-Davidge Award, which is a tribute to Grimes-Davidge's contributions to athletics at Ohio State. The honor is given annually to a female athlete who reflects Grimes-Davidge's outstanding qualities of athletic performance, scholarship, character, campus or community involvement and leadership. A member of the Ohio State women's tennis team, Grimes-Davidge won four state and Big Ten titles. She graduated from Ohio State summa cum laude and received her master's degree from Miami University where she served as the head women's tennis coach.
Rings and track teammate Ivy Horn both received the M/I Homes Foundation Award, which has been awarded annually since 1976. The award was one of the first designed specifically to recognize and promote women's achievements in intercollegiate athletics at Ohio State. It provides an outstanding female scholar-athlete $5,000 for postgraduate studies at Ohio State. The award is based on demonstrated athletic and academic success as well as community contributions through involvement in civic or university organizations.
Selections for The Woody and Anne Hayes Scholarship Fund were rifle student-athlete Lyman, Paradiso, rower Sarah Asad and wrestler Jacob Bresciani. The award, established in 1979, provides one or more varsity athletes with financial assistance for postgraduate studies.The recipients of this scholarship are student-athletes who have demonstrated academic achievement (3.00 GPA minimum) and leadership qualities.
Caitlin Craft of the women's basketball team was honored with The John Dana Cole Fund. This award, established in 1966 by a gift through the Development Fund from John D. Cole, provides a one-time stipend for post-graduate studies at Ohio State. The recipient of this scholarship is a student-athlete who shows the promise of success in his/her chosen field and has demonstrated academic achievement (3.00 GPA minimum).
The recipients of Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarships were Diaz of the men's tennis team and Minori Minagawa of the women's track & field/cross country teams. The scholarships are awarded to 28 student-athletes every academic year, as each Big Ten institution annually presents two student-athletes (one male and one female) with one-time postgraduate scholarships of $7,500 each. The applicants are evaluated based primarily on their achievements in academics.
The men's gymnastics team was honored by Men's Varsity O for having the most improved team grade-point average and the men's tennis team was recognized for having the top team GPA among the men's programs. On the women's side, volleyball earned the most improved team GPA award, with the cross country program lauded for having the top team GPA among all women's teams.
The following Ohio State student-athletes recorded perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point averages:
Joseph Bonanno: Men's Gymnastics
Stacy Danczak: Women's Ice Hockey
Christi DiPaolo: Women's Swimming
Chase Farris: Football
Nicole Flower: Women's Tennis
Rachel Gaines: Field Hockey
Sasha Larocque: Men's Ice Hockey
Reed McGraw: Men's Swimming
Minori Minagawa: Women's Cross Country
Sarah Myers: Cheer
Madison Riley: Dance
Grant Weaver: Men's Golf
Kaitlyn Willette: Women's Cross Country
Jack Willoughby: Football
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