COLUMBUS, Ohio - The 2016 Ohio State Scholar-Athlete Dinner will be held Tuesday, March 29 at the Archie Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union, marking the 49th edition of the banquet that recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of Ohio State student-athletes.
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. 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 women's side the finalists are: Rebecca Rings (Track & Field/Cross Country), Catherine Shields (Rowing), Maddy McIntyre (Softball), Celina Merza (Fencing), and Michela Paradiso (Soccer).
Rebecca Rings, track & field/cross country
A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Rebecca Rings has run on both the track and cross country course for the Buckeyes the past three seasons. A middle distance specialist, Rings placed fourth in the 600-meter run at the 2015 Big Ten Indoor Championships, contributing key points to the Buckeyes' second-ever Big Ten indoor title. A native of Delaware, Ohio, Rings has represented Ohio State at four conference championship meets, all while earning top marks in the classroom as a biomedical sciences major.
Catherine Shields, rowing
Catherine 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.
Maddy McIntyre, softball
Maddy McIntyre, a native of San Diego, Calif., is a fifth-year senior on the softball team who has played in over 170 games during her career with the Buckeyes. Last year, she set career highs in nearly every statistical category on her way to earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors at shortstop. In the classroom, she is an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete who earned her bachelor's degree in marketing last May. She is currently enrolled in the Ohio State Sports Management master's program.
Celina Merza, fencing
Celina Merza has played a key role on the Ohio State fencing team throughout her career. Proving her leadership on the squad, Merza totaled 176 wins in competition. Fencing in the sabre weapon, Merza appeared at two NCAA championships and four NCAA Midwest regional championships. The Wayne, N.J., native claimed gold twice at the Midwest Conference Championships. Merza is a four-time OSU Scholar Athlete and three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, earning a degree in Social Work with a minor in Substance Abuse and Misuse.
Michela Paradiso, soccer
Michela Paradiso, a senior co-captain for the women's soccer team, tied for the team lead with six goals while adding three assists in 2015. She finished the year with 15 points and closed her career with 18 assists to tie for fourth on the OSU career list. The Upper Arlington, Ohio, native earned Big Ten Player of the Week and ESPNW National Player of the Week honors as a senior, helping the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16. Paradiso is a neuroscience major, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and 2015 NSCAA All-East Region Scholar.
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