April 30, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Junior wrestler Matt McDonough and junior field hockey player Jessica Barnett have been named the University of Iowa's nominees for 2012 Big Ten Male and Female Athletes of the Year. McDonough will vy for the 2012 Jesse Owens Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year award, while Barnett is in the running for the 2012 Suzy Favor Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year award. Winners will be announced in late June, following a vote by a panel of Big Ten media voters.
McDonough, a native of Marion, Iowa, won the 125-pound title at the Big Ten and NCAA Championships this season. He finished the season with a 28-match winning streak and posted a 36-1 overall record that included a team-best 12 pins. He strung together four straight wins at the conference tournament to earn his second Big Ten title in as many seasons, and he recorded a pair of pins and two major decisions en route to his second national title. His 4-1 win in the NCAA finals was his 100th career victory. He owns a 100-4 career record and has the fourth best career winning percentage (.962) in school history.
Barnett, a native of North Vancouver, Canada, has started every game (56) of her Hawkeye career. As a junior, she earned Iowa's 81st All-America honor in program history, was named a regional All-American, was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team and earned first team All-Big Ten honors. In 2010 as a sophomore, she was named second team All-Big Ten, second team regional All-America and was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team. Barnett ranked second on the team with 24 points and 11 goals and tied for first with three defensive saves in 2011. The communications major also tallied two game-winning goals. Barnett earned three Big Ten Player of the Week awards as a junior, becoming the first Hawkeye to accomplish the feat since former Hawkeye Kristy Gleason in 1992. She served as a team captain in 2011 and helped lead Iowa to the NCAA Tournament.
Seven wrestling and eight field hockey student-athletes have been named Hawkeye nominees for the league athlete of the year awards. The Hawkeyes have produced four Jesse Owens Award winners and three have been wrestlers (Ed Banach - 1983, Barry Davis - 1985, Brent Metcalf - 2008). Field hockey standout Kristy Gleason claimed Iowa's only Suzy Favor Award, winning in 1994.
"There are several Hawkeye student-athletes who have excelled in their respective sports this year," said Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta. "Matt and Jessica lead this outstanding group, and are great representatives of their teams and the University of Iowa."