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    Northwestern Honors Student-Athletes at Annual N Club Banquet

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM The N Club grew Thursday night with the induction of Northwestern's 2012 senior class.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    The N Club grew Thursday night with the induction of Northwestern's 2012 senior class.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    June 14, 2012

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern University's N Club held its annual Senior Recognition Banquet Thursday night at the Hilton Orrington Evanston, inducting the senior class into the N Club while honoring several Wildcats for outstanding seasons and careers at Northwestern.

    Following is a list of the awards bestowed at the banquet:

    Northwestern's Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year Nominee
    John Shurna • Men's Basketball

    The Jesse Owens and Suzy Favor awards are given annually to the outstanding male and female athletes in the Big Ten.

    Shurna eclipsed a 35-year-old school record when he became the men's basketball program's all-time leading scorer on February 18 in a victory over Minnesota. His 2,038 career points rank tied for 24th in Big Ten history. He also ranks first in Northwestern history in blocked shots and games played, and is a member of the winningest class in school history.

    Shurna's average of 20 points per game this season ranked first in the Big Ten and helped him earn first-team All-Big Ten honors as well as being recognized as an Associated Press All-American. A three-time all-conference selection, his 661 points this season are a Northwestern single-season record.

    He capped his career by winning the 3-point shootout at the State Farm Championships in New Orleans on Final Four weekend. He is graduating with a double major in sociology as well as learning and organizational change.

    Northwestern's Big Ten Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year Nominee
    Taylor Thornton • Women's Lacrosse

    The Jesse Owens and Suzy Favor awards are given annually to the outstanding male and female athletes in the Big Ten.

    Thornton led Northwestern to its seventh NCAA championship in eight years this spring, dominating at both ends of the field en route to winning the Lacrosse Honda Sports Award as the national player of the year. Thornton more than doubled her previous best total for goals in a single season with 33 -- including the game-winning goal in the championship game win over Syracuse -- while maintaining the level of play on defense that won her National Defender of the Year honors as a sophomore in 2011.

    She tied NU's single-season record with 58 ground balls, collected a career-best 71 draw controls and caused 28 turnovers on the year. Also the Player of the Year in the American Lacrosse Conference, Thornton is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten award winner majoring in communication studies.

    Big Ten Medal of Honor Recipients
    Francis Brooke • baseball
    Chelsea Armstrong • field hockey

    The Big Ten Medal of Honor is given annually to one graduating male and female student-athlete of outstanding academic and athletic talent.

    Brooke ranks ninth all-time at Northwestern with 259.2 career innings pitched while his 97 innings pitched in 2012 are the fourth-highest single-season total in program history. His 2.51 ERA this season ranked fifth in the Big Ten and was the best mark by a Northwestern starting pitcher since the 1996 season. He ranked second in the nation in 2010 with an average of 0.71 walks per nine innings, as he surrendered just seven free passes in 89.1 innings pitched.

    A double major in political science and international studies, Brooke earned Academic All-Big Ten distinction three times and was bestowed a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar each of the last two years, all while serving as a co-president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

    In her three seasons in Evanston, Armstrong has re-written Northwestern's field hockey record book, becoming the Wildcats' leader in both scoring and in points. She was named the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year the past two seasons and in 2011 earned first-team All-America honors and was a finalist for the Honda Sports Award. Armstrong has led the conference in goals each of the last three years and has been in the top 10 nationally in points en route to a trio of first team All-Big Ten and NFHCA All-Region honors.

    Armstrong has done all this while helping Northwestern earn top-20 national rankings the last two seasons. The Wildcats were ranked as high as 14th in the country during the 2011 season, their highest mark since 1996. Armstrong, who returns next year for her final season, was an Academic All-Big Ten selection this past season and is an economics major.

    N Club Performance Awards
    Jeremy Ebert • football
    Oliver Kupe • men's soccer
    Jenny Wilson • women's swimming

    The N Club Performance Award is presented to one male and one female student-athlete in recognition of "spectacular and outstanding" athletic performance by a graduating senior and letter award winner.

    As a senior in 2011, Ebert became just the third Northwestern wide receiver and the first since 1998 to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for a season, catching 75 passes for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns. His prolific senior season included a 147-yard performance in the upset of Nebraska -- which earned him Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honors -- and a career-best 208 yards the following week against Rice, as well as long touchdown catches of 62, 81 and 90 yards.

    Ebert's 173 career catches and 21 career touchdowns each rank third all-time at Northwestern. He is graduating with a degree in learning and organizational change and recently signed a contract with the New England Patriots, who drafted him in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

    Given the moniker "Big Game Ollie" by head coach Tim Lenahan, Kupe lived up to that nickname more than ever in Northwestern's historic 2011 season. Kupe scored eight goals during his senior year and four of them were key in keeping Northwestern's 11-match unbeaten streak alive and helping the team achieve the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. His goal in the 74th minute of the Big Ten Tournament championship match against Penn State proved to be the game-winner, giving Northwestern its first-ever Tournament title.

    Kupe was chosen as a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten First Team in 2011 and was a second-team honoree as a junior. He also was named to the All-Great Lakes First Team during his senior season. Kupe leaves his name in the Northwestern record books as his 22 career goals rank seventh all time and his 55 points rank ninth.

    Kupe was drafted in January by Real Salt Lake of the MLS but has decided to forego that professional opportunity. Instead he already is utilizing his Northwestern degree in his current position as a Wealth Management Advisor at ING Global.

    Wilson, a journalism major, has excelled as Northwestern's top swimmer in the breaststroke during her entire time in Evanston, but she capped her career with a record-shattering senior season to become the best Wildcat ever in the breast events. Wilson earned first-team All-America honors in the 100 breaststroke this year after she broke a 12-year-old school record in the event at the NCAA Championships, becoming just the second woman in school history to break the one-minute barrier in the race.

    At the 2012 Big Ten Championships, Wilson broke the Northwestern 200 breaststroke record -- which had stood since 1999 -- to make the championship heat of that event. WIlson has Olympic Trials cuts in both the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke races and will compete in the meet later this month.

    N Club Achievement Award
    Eric Chun • men's golf
    Adrienne Monka • softball
    Shannon Smith • women's lacrosse

    The N Club Achievement Award is given to the student-athletes who have exhibited the qualities of good citizenship, significant academic achievement and outstanding athletic performance.

    Chun began his career in a big way when he became the first freshman to win the Big Ten individual championship since 1986 when he captured medalist honors in 2009. He went on to earn PING/GCAA All-Region accolades in each of his four years at Northwestern. He saved his best season for last, compiling eight top-10 finishes including five top-2 efforts and a pair of wins as a senior to lead Northwestern to a bid in the NCAA Championship field.

    Away from collegiate competition, Chun qualified for the 2010 British Open where he nearly made the cut in golf's oldest Major Championship. Chun also has been active in the community and as president of Athletes in Action during his time in Evanston. He is graduating tomorrow with a degree in religious studies.

    Monka is a two-time first-team All-American whose prowess at the plate led to her become one of the NCAA's all-time leaders in walks and on-base percentage. She made a big debut by hitting 19 home runs during a Big Ten Freshman of the Year campaign in 2009. Monka finished her career with 55 home runs and 198 RBIs and graduates as NU's school-record holder in walks, slugging and on-base percentage.

    Her power earned her such great respect, she ranks eighth in NCAA history with 190 career bases on balls and once appeared in Sports Illustrated after she reached first base in 25-consecutive plate appearances. Active in community service and SAAC, she was a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award candidate this year and is a member of the Chicago Bandits after being selected in the National Pro Fastpitch Senior Draft this spring. She is graduating tomorrow with a degree in sociology.

    Smith turned in her third consecutive first-team All-America season, leading Northwestern to a seventh NCAA championship in eight years with her remarkable goal-scoring and play-making ability. She finished fifth nationally with 66 goals and seventh with 94 points on the year but once again made her mark in the postseason, earning NCAA Tournament MVP honors for the second year in a row and finishing second all-time with 58 career points in the national tournament.

    Smith, who started all 91 games of her Wildcat career, leaves NU as the school's all-time leading goal-scorer with 254 and is second with 362 points, both of which rank in the top 10 all-time in Division I women's lacrosse history. She will graduate with a degree in economics tomorrow after earning Academic All-Big Ten honors during her career.

    Billy McKinney Award
    Peter O'Neill • men's soccer

    The Billy McKinney Award is presented to the male student-athlete who has exhibited exemplary leadership qualities, constant (110 percent) effort, and a positive attitude that, in his coach's estimation, makes him a "coach's dream." McKinney graduated as Northwestern's all-time leading scorer, netting 1,900 points for the men's basketball team from 1973-77. He went on to play nine years in the NBA.

    A co-captain of the Northwestern men's soccer team, O'Neill provided vocal leadership and motivation in the Wildcats' historical season, which culminated with two Big Ten championships. He scored a goal in Northwestern's 2-1 comeback victory over Penn State, helping the 'Cats win the Big Ten Tournament title for the first time in school history. Northwestern's ironman, O'Neill started all 21 games during the 2011 season and appeared in 79 matches throughout his four years.

    O'Neill finished his NU career with three goals, including two in 2011, and 18 assists. The midfielder from Fairway, Kan., was the 2011 Northwestern Sportsmanship Award winner for men's soccer and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. O'Neill graduated Northwestern with a degree in political science and a minor in business institutions and he will continue his education at John Marshall Law School.

    Lisa Ishikawa Award
    Meghan Cavanaugh • women's swimming

    The Lisa Ishikawa award is presented to a female student-athlete who has exhibited outstanding leadership ability and selfless dedication to team goals; Ishikawa's determination and positive attitude on the softball diamond led her to perform above and beyond the expected. She was the NCAA's single-season strikeout record-holder for nearly a decade, leading Northwestern to four-straight Big Ten titles and three-straight Women's College World Series from 1984-87.

    Cavanaugh served as a captain and leader for Northwestern this season. As the Wildcats' top butterflyer, Cavanaugh set career best times in both the 100 and 200 distances this year, ranking among NU's all-time fastest in the events. In the classroom she is a multiple time Academic All-Big Ten and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honoree.

    She made community service a priority, serving the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as its community service liaison and volunteering her time in several different endeavors. Taking her captainship seriously, Cavanaugh sought out the advice of former team captains and campus leaders such as Coach Fitz to help her lead her squad. Cavanaugh will graduate tomorrow morning with a double major in political science and environmental science.

    Northwestern's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Recipients
    Sam Chien • men's golf
    Devynn Patterson • women's fencing

    The Big Ten Sportsmanship award is given to one male and female student-athlete who displays exemplary sportsmanship and is a key contributor in the community.

    Chien has done outstanding work over his NU career, displaying the attitude and work ethic necessary to grow into a Big Ten-caliber golfer. The senior was in and out of the Wildcats lineup as he started out his career, experiencing an early success with a career-best final-round 64 to win the Navy Fall Classic as a sophomore.

    He continued to work hard and was rewarded with a stellar senior season. Chien was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week for the first time in February after going a perfect 4-0 to lead Northwestern to its third-straight Big Ten Match Play title. He then capped his career with a silver medal effort at the 2012 Big Ten Championships, finishing as one of just two golfers who were under par for the event.

    Not only has he been active on the course, but he also is an Academic All-Big Ten honoree and participated in community service initiatives such as the annual SAAC police versus fire kickball game. Chien will receive his degree in communication studies tomorrow.

    Patterson has been a stalwart in the foil lineup for the Wildcats since arriving on campus in 2008. Her determination and drive to succeed helped Northwestern sustain its tradition of unparalleled success. A leader in both practice and in competition, the Seattle native helped Northwestern to four straight NCAA Championship appearances during her time on the strips. She collected 284 career victories, good enough to graduate in seventh place on Northwestern's all-time list.

    Patterson had her best personal finish at the NCAA Championships in 2009, when as a freshman, she finished 13th overall. She graduates tomorrow with a degree in learning and organizational change.

    Northwestern also announced its 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year candidate at the event. This award recognizes individual excellence in three areas: athletics, academics and community service. Up to two graduating seniors at each institution who participated in the 2009-10 academic year will be recognized as the "NCAA Women of the Year" and will automatically be eligible for state selection.

    Northwestern's nominee is Alex Frank of women's lacrosse. Frank earned second-team All-America honors this season to close her career as a three-time All-American and a team captain of back-to-back NCAA championship-winning squads. A tremendous all-around player, Frank ranks second all-time at NU with 107 caused turnovers after recording a career-best 36 in 2012, the third-highest single-season total in Northwestern history.

    She also ranks in NU's top 10 all-time in draw controls and ground balls. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a leader on NU's Student Athlete Advisory Council, Frank graduates this spring with a degree in radio/television/film.

    Tobias Reitz of men's tennis, Shelby Johnson of women's swimming and Kerry Bickford of women's fencing were honored with the Director's Award, given annually to the male and female graduating student-athlete with the highest GPA.

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