2014 Ohio State Big Ten Medal of Honor Finalists Announced
April 10, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The 2014 Ohio State Scholar-Athlete Dinner will be held Monday at the Archie Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union, marking the 47th edition of the banquet that recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of Ohio State student-athletes. This year, 511 Buckeyes will be recognized as Ohio State Scholar-Athletes. The complete list is here.
Each year, the Scholar-Athlete Dinner is capped with the presentation of the Big Ten Medal of Honor. Each member institution in the conference gives the award annually to the male and female student-athletes in the graduating class who have attained the greatest proficiency in both academics and athletics. This is the 100th anniversary of the honor, as the Big Ten Conference office established the award in 1914 for men and an additional award for the top female was instituted in 1982. The award includes a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship.
This year, five women and five men are finalists for the Big Ten Medal of Honor. On the men's side, the finalists are Aaron Craft (basketball), Peter Kobelt (tennis), Michael Newburger (gymnastics), Logan Schuss (lacrosse) and Korbin Smith (track and field). Chelsea Aton (synchronized swimming), Allison Elber (rowing), Alexandra Norris (swimming), Berta-Naoko Queralt O'Callaghan (field hockey) and Melanie Shaffer (gymnastics) are the female finalists.
Aaron Craft will leave Ohio State as one of the most successful student-athletes of all-time in men's basketball. The Findlay, Ohio, native completed a decorated career with 119 wins, an average of nearly 30 victories per year. He, along with classmate Lenzelle Smith Jr., led the Buckeyes to four NCAA tournaments, three "Sweet 16s," two "Elite Eights" and the 2012 Final Four. Individually, Craft is the all-time steals leader in Ohio State and Big Ten history with 337. His 694 career assists tops the Ohio State chart and rates No. 5 in Big Ten history. Craft was equally, if not more accomplished, in the classroom. A three-time academic All-American, Ohio State's first three-time honoree and just the fourth in Big Ten history, Craft also was named the academic All-American of the year in Division I Men's Basketball, twice, one of just three to be so honored all-time. At the 2014 Final Four in Dallas, Craft was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year and is a 2014 Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American.
Peter Kobelt, a native of New Albany, Ohio, was the 2014 National Indoor Most Outstanding Player, leading Ohio State men's tennis to its first national title in program history. A two-time All-American and five-time regional champion, Kobelt has guided the Buckeyes to three consecutive Big Ten regular-season titles, two B1G tournament wins and two NCAA Final Four appearances. A four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Kobelt is in the Top 10 on the OSU career singles and doubles wins list, collecting more than 240 combined wins at Ohio State. He also has garnered back-to-back first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2012 and 2013, helping the Buckeyes break the NCAA all-time home win streak record of 185 consecutive matches, which dates back to the 2003 season. In the rankings, Kobelt has been in the Top 10 in doubles with three different partners the last three seasons, while being ranked in the Top 10 in the singles poll in 2014. A consumer and family financial services major, Kobelt plans to pursue a professional tennis career after graduation and would also like to attend graduate school at Ohio State.
A native of Austin, Texas, Michael Newburger is a four-time Distinguished Merit Scholar as well as a four-time National Buckeye Scholar and three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. The 2013 NCAA Champion and a two-time All-American on pommel horse, Newburger holds the NCAA and Ohio State record on the event (16.25), which he set at the 2014 Windy City Invitational, earning Big Ten Gymnast of the Week and CGA National Gymnast of the Week honors for his performance. A team captain, Newburger is also the 2013 Winter Cup Champion and the 2013 U.S. Bronze Medalist on pommel horse, and was named the 2013 Ohio State Men's Gymnast of the Year. Academically, Newburger has earned Capital One Academic At-Large First Team (2013) and Capital One Academic All-District Team (2012-13) honors as well as being four-time Academic All-Big Ten and a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete. A double major in physics and mathematics, Newburger plans to continue his undergraduate research and will begin a physics PhD program in the fall with a research focus on experimental condensed matter.
Logan Schuss, from Ladner, British Columbia, is the first three-time USILA All-American and four-time all-conference selection in Ohio State history. He ended his career as the team's all-time leader in goals (146, 20 more than second place) and is second all-time with 237 points. The ECAC Offensive Player of the Year in both 2012 and '13 and the league's 2010 Rookie of the Year, he captained the Buckeyes to the ECAC tournament title and a spot in the NCAA quarterfinals as a senior captain in 2013. As a senior, he was named a second team All-American, becoming the first Buckeye to be named to the first or second team more than once, after posting a career-high 44 goals, 28 assists and 72 points. Schuss has gone on to play professionally both in the indoor NLL, where he was the No. 1 overall draft pick, and in the outdoor MLL, where he was the Ohio Machine Rookie of the Year. A USILA Scholar All-American, Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, Academic All-Big Ten and ECAC All-Academic Team honoree, Schuss is planning a career teaching at the secondary level.
Korbin Smith, a native of Delta, Ohio, competed four years for the Ohio State men's track and field team in a plethora of events for the Buckeyes. By the time his career as a student-athlete was over Korbin racked up six All-America honors and four Big Ten titles. He is a two-time First Team All-American in the 4x400-meter relay and Distance Medley, a four-time Second Team All-American in the 4x400-meter relay and long jump, as well as a four-time Big Ten champion in the long jump and 4x400-meter relay. Korbin is a member of two indoor record-holding relay teams including the 4x400-meter team (3:06.15) and Distance Medley team (9:31.17). Off the track Korbin has had just as an impressive career. A three-time Ohio State Scholar Athlete, in 2013 he received recognition as an Academic All-Big Ten selection, a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and was also a USTFCCCA All-Academic selection. Korbin is currently serving as an undergraduate student coach for the 2014 track and field season.
Chelsea Aton is a four-year letterwinner on the Ohio State synchronized swimming team. The Noblesville, Ind., native has excelled in every aspect of being a student-athlete at Ohio State. Academically, Aton is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten, two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and was named to the U.S. Collegiate Academic Team in 2012 and 2013. Athletically, the U.S. Collegiate All-American led the Buckeyes to two overall U.S. Collegiate Championship titles (2011-12), three North Regional Championships (2011-13) and the 2011 U.S. Senior National Championship title. Aton has accepted a job with State Farm Insurance working as an actuary in the Property and Casualty department. After graduation she is moving to Bloomington, Ill., and will begin work in July.
A native of Brunswick, Ohio, senior Allison Elber is a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, three-time Academic All-Big Ten and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. A team captain, Elber set program history as part of the first women's team at Ohio State to win an NCAA Championship. As a member of the first varsity eight, Elber won a bronze medal at the 2013 NCAA Championships and a gold medal at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, earning CRCA First Team All-Central Region, Pocock First Team All-America and First Team All-Big Ten honors. Throughout her four-year collegiate career, Elber was a member of the 2013 and 2011 Big Ten Championship winning teams, guiding the Buckeyes to their third and fourth conference titles, respectively. A psychology major, Elber will be attending graduate school at the University of Denver to study sport and performance psychology.
Alex Norris, a Cincinnati native, is a four-time NCAA qualifier for the women's swimming and diving team. During her senior year, she broke five pool records at the Kenyon Winter Invite on her way to earning Big Ten and National Division I Swimmer of the Week honors. A 13-time Big Ten finalist and 2011 Honorable Mention All-America, Norris is a diverse swimmer who competes in freestyle, individual medley and butterfly events. A 2012 U.S. Olympic Trails qualifier, Norris plans to continue swimming to train for the U.S. Nationals, with the goal of qualifying for the World University Games team. An exercise science major, she is a four-time OSU and CSCAA Scholar-Athlete and member of Ohio State's honors program. This summer, she will begin work on a doctorate in physical therapy.
Berta-Naoko Queralt O'Callaghan had a standout career on the field hockey team, leading the Buckeyes to three-consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including the program's first trip to the Final Four (2009). A two-time NFHCA All-America choice, she was the first player in program history to be selected as a freshman (2009). Queralt earned All-Big Ten honors four times in her career and ranks in the Top 5 in several statistical categories, including assists (second, 48), points (third, 146) and goals (fifth, 49). An architecture major with a minor in math, Queralt was selected to the NFHCA National Academic Squad and OSU Scholar-Athlete lists four times in her career. She is also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
Melanie Shaffer, who has 11 career all-around victories, is a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete, two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and was named an NACGC/W Scholastic All-American as a sophomore. The 2014 first team All-Big Ten selection who previously was a two-time second team All-Big Ten pick, posted a career-high 39.425 in the all-around at the Big Ten Championships earlier this season and has five all-around wins in 2014. Shaffer, who finished 14th with a 39.025 in the all-around at the NCAA Championships a season ago, won the floor exercise title four times this season, uneven bars twice and balance beam once.