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Iowas Garza, Minnesota’s Bacon Named Big Ten Athletes of the Year

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ROSEMONT, ill. University of Iowa Senior Men’s Basketball Center Luka Garzahas been selected as the Big Ten Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year 2020-21 and University of Minnesota Senior DiverSarah Bacon was recognized as the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year 2020-21, the conference announced on Wednesday.

Garza is the fifth Hawkeye student athlete to be chosen as the Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year, and the second in the past 35 years (wrestler Brent Metcalf earned the award in 2008). Garza is also the seventh outstanding basketball player to claim the honor and the first since Michigan state guard Denzel Valentine in 2016 not a single Iowa men’s basketball player has received the award before.

Garza won all major post-season awards (Wooden, Naismith, Associated Press, Oscar Robertson, NABC, Lute Olson, Sporting News) and became the 2021 Consensus National Player of the Year, the eighth in Big Ten history and the first since Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky in 2015.

Iowas first two-time unanimous consensus first-team All-American accelerated the nationally-ranked Hawkeyes to 22 wins and a third-place Big Ten finish in 2021. The Washington, D.C. native led the nation in total points (747), player efficiency score ( 35.84), 30 point games (8), field goals scored (281) and 20 point games (22). Garza also placed second nationally in points per game (24.1), fifth in free-throw attempts (199), 10th in free-throw makes (141) and 11th in double-doubles (13). His 747 points extended last season’s school record (740).

Garza, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, surpassed Roy Marble as Iowas’ all-time leading scorer on February 21, 2021, finishing his career with Hawkeye with 2,306 points, which is seventh in Big Ten history. In addition to ranking first in school history in career scores, Garza tops Iowa in 30-point games (13), conference scoring (1,399), field goals scored (870), field goals (1,594) and 40-point games (2); second in rebounds (931); fourth in double-doubles (34); fifth in blocked shots (154); sixth in free throw (446) and tries (636); and 16th in 3-pointers made (120). He is the only men’s basketball player in Big Ten history to rack up 2,250 points and 900 rebounds.

Garza received his economics degree in Iowa in May. He is currently preparing for the 2021 NBA Draft, which will take place on July 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, and will be broadcast live on ABC and ESPN.

Bacon is the second diver to be named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year and Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse, the first to do so in Michigan, shared the award with Purdue basketball player Joy Holmes in 1991. Bacon is also Minnesota’s fourth. student athlete selected for Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year and first since basketball standout Rachel Banham in 2016.

Since winning an Olympic red shirt season in 2020, Bacon has been on a tear in diving at both the collegiate and international level. Most recently, Bacon earned a silver medal in the synchronized three-meter event and a bronze medal in the individual three-meter springboard competition at the US Olympic Trials in Indianapolis last month.

In May, she earned an individual silver medal and two Olympic quota places for Team USA at the FINA Diving World Cup in both the individual and synchronized three-meter springboard events, making her the first American woman to medal on the three-meter board since two times. Olympian Kelly McCormick did so in 1989. International success came just after Bacon capped off her historically successful collegiate career with a pair of NCAA Championship titles at both springboard events during the 2021 NCAA Championships in late March.

The pair of titles brought the Indianapolis native’s number of NCAA titles to a remarkable four, making her the winning female student athlete in any sport in Minnesota school history. Her national championship at one meter in 2021 marked an even more incredible third straight NCAA title in the event, a feat of only one other diver since the NCAA Championships debuted in 1982 (Floridas Megan Neyer from 1982-84).

Even more remarkable, the awards and accolades didn’t stop there for Bacon, as she was awarded the Honda Sport Award for Swimming and Diving, the first Gopher woman in a sport and only diver from any institution to receive the award in her 45 – years of history. She also received the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Division I Women’s Diver of the Year Award, becoming the fourth Gopher diver since 2011 to receive the award, along with former NCAA two-time Olympian Kelci Bryant (2011). champion Yu Zhou (2015) and four-time All-American Lexi Tenenbaum (2017).

Bacon is a two-time Big Ten Diver of the Year, a 2021 Big Ten Medal of Honor winner, and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. She graduated from Minnesota in May with her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology.

Garza and Bacon were among a strong field of 28 nominees (one man and one woman per Big Ten school), including seven National Champions, 24 All-Americans, 17 Big Ten Champions, 14 Conference Players of the Year and eight who collected a national player of the year award.

The Big Ten Conference has recognized Jesse Owens’ Male Athlete of the Year since 1982 and awarded a Female Athlete of the Year for the first time in 1983. The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.

The full list of nominations for Athlete of the Year 2020-21, as well as the list of all-time winners for each award, can be found below.

2020-21 BIG TEN ATHLETE OF THE YEAR NOMINATES

SCHOOLMALE NOMINATEFEMALE NOMINATE
IllinoisCome on your Dosun, basketballOlivia Howell, Athletics & Field
IndianaAndrew Capobianco, divingGrace Berger, basketball
IowaLuka Garza, basketballCity Year, track & field
MarylandJared Bernhardt, lacrosseLizzie Colson, lacrosse
MichiganAyden Owens, Athletics & FieldNaz Hillmon, basketball
Michigan stateMorgan Beadlescomb, cross country/track & fieldJenna Magness, cross country/track & field
MinnesotaGable Steveson, wrestlingSarah Bacon, diving
NebraskaSpencer threshold brook, baseballAbigail Knapton Diving
northwestRyan Deakin, wrestlingIzzy Scane, lacrosse
Ohio StateJustin Fields, footballAdelaide Aquilla, Athletics and Field
Penn StateRoman Bravo-Young, wrestlingAlly Schlegel, football
PurdueBrandon Loschiavo, divingGrace Cleveland, volleyball
RutgersAdam Charalambides, lacrosseAmirah Ali, football
WisconsinCole Caufield, ice hockeyDaryl Watts, ice hockey

BIG TEN JESSE OWENS MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS

1982 – Jim Spivey, Indiana, cross country/track & field
1983 – Ed Banach, Iowa, wrestling
1984 – Sunder Nix, Indiana, athletics
1985 – Barry Davis, Iowa, wrestling
1986 – Chuck Long, Iowa, football
1987 – Steve Alford, Indiana, basketball
1988 – Jim Abbott, Michigan, baseball
1989 – Glen Rice, Michigan, basketball
1990 – Anthony Thompson, Indiana, football
1991 – Mike Barrowman, Michigan, swimming
1992 – Desmond Howard, Michigan, football
1993 – John Roethlisberger, Minnesota, gymnastics
1994 – Glenn Robinson, Purdue, basketball
1995 – Tom Dolan, Michigan, swimming
1996 – Eddie George, Ohio State, football
1997 – Blaine Wilson, Ohio State, gymnastics
1998 – Charles Woodson, Michigan, football
1999 – Luke Donald, Northwest, golf
2000 – Ron Dayne, Wisconsin, soccer
2001 – Ryan Miller, Michigan State, ice hockey
2002 – Jordan Leopold, Minnesota, ice hockey
2003 – Amer Delic, Illinois, tennis/Matt Lackey, Illinois, wrestling
2004 – Damion Hahn, Minnesota, wrestling
2005 – Luis Vargas, Penn State, gymnastics
2006 – Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan, swimming
2007 – Cole Konrad, Minnesota, wrestling
2008 – Brent Metcalf, Iowa, wrestling
2009 – Jake Herbert, Northwest, wrestling
2010 – Evan Turner, Ohio State, basketball
2011 – David Boudia, Purdue, Diving
2012 – Draymond Green, Michigan State, basketball
2013 – Derek Drouin, Indiana, Athletics
2014 – David Taylor, Penn State, wrestling
2015 – Logan Stieber, Ohio State, wrestling
2016 – Denzel Valentine, Michigan State, basketball
2017 – Kyle Snyder, Ohio State, wrestling
2018 – Kyle Snyder, Ohio State, wrestling w
2019 – Bo Nickal, Penn State, wrestling
2020 – Chase Young, Ohio State, football
2021 – Luka Garza, Iowa, basketball

BIG TEN FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS

1983 – Judi Brown, Michigan State, Athletics
1984 – Lisa Ishikawa, Northwest, softball
1985 – Cathy Branta, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1986 – Stephanie Herbst, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1987 – Jennifer Averill, Northwestern, hockey/lacrosse
1988 – Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1989 – Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1990 – Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1991 – Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse, Michigan State, diving/Joy Holmes, Purdue, basketball
1992 – Machelle Joseph, Purdue, basketball
1993 – Lara Hayfield, Michigan, swimming
1994 – Kristy Gleason, Iowa, hockey
1995 – Laura Davis, Ohio State, volleyball
1996 – Olga Kalinovskaya, Penn State, fencing
1997 – Kathy Butler, Wisconsin, Athletics/Gretchen Hegener, Minnesota, Swimming
1998 – Sara Griffin, Michigan, softball
1999 – Stephanie White-McCarty, Purdue, basketball
2000 – Lauren Cacciamani, Penn State, volleyball
2001 – Katie Douglas, Purdue, basketball
2002 – Christie Welsh, Penn State, football
2003 – Perdita Felicien, Illinois, Athletics
2004 – Kelly Mazzante, Penn State, basketball
2005 – Jennie Ritter, Michigan, softball
2006 – Tiffany Weimer, Penn State, football
2007 – Jessica Davenport, Ohio State, basketball
2008 – Hannah Nielsen, Northwest, lacrosse
2009 – Maria Hernandez, Purdue, golf
2010 – Megan Hodge, Penn State, volleyball
2011 – Shannon Smith, Northwest, lacrosse
2012 – Christina Manning, Ohio State, Athletics
2013 – Amanda Kessel, Minnesota, ice hockey
2014 – Dani Bunch, Purdue, Athletics
2015 – Taylor Cummings, Maryland, lacrosse
2016 – Rachel Banham, Minnesota, basketball
2017 – Lilly King, Indiana, swimming
2018 – Lilly King, Indiana, swimming
2019 – Megan Gustafson, Iowa, basketball
2020 – Dana Rettke, Wisconsin, Volleyball
2021 – Sarah Bacon, Minnesota, diving

Sources

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2/ https://bigten.org/news/2021/7/21/general-iowas-garza-minnesotas-bacon-named-big-ten-athletes-of-the-year.aspx

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