Hawkeyes’ Megan Gustafson named Big Ten Athlete of the Year

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Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, top left, embraces teammates during a win over North Carolina State in the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday, March 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Iowa women’s basketball center Megan Gustafson was honored as the 2018-19 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, the conference announced Wednesday.

Gustafson is the first Iowa winner since field hockey student-athlete Kristy Gleason was recognized in 1994. She is the eighth basketball player to claim the honor.

Gustafson was the first Big Ten athlete to be named consensus national player of the year and also was named the Honda Sport Award winner for basketball. She broke 16 Iowa school records, including career marks for points (2,804) and rebounds (1,460).

Gustafson was named the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Player of the Year and Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player after leading the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten Tournament title.

Gustafson led the nation in five categories as a senior, including points per game (27.8), field goal percentage (69.6), total points (1,001) and double-doubles (33). She also holds the conference career records for rebounds (1,460), field goal percentage (.657) and double-doubles (88).

Penn State wrestler Bo Nickal was recognized as the 2018-19 Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year

Nickal is the first Penn State student to be named Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year since fellow wrestler David Taylor was honored in 2014. He is the third Penn State male student to be recognized and 11th wrestler to win the award. Nickal was the 2019 NCAA champion at 197 pounds.

Gustafson and Nickal were among a field of nominees that included 11 national champions, 25 All-Americans, 16 Big Ten champions, 14 individuals who won Big Ten Player of the Year honors and six who collected a national player of the year accolade.

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

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