NCAA champion wrestler Bo Nickal named Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year

Nittany Lion wrestler Bo Nickal is the third Penn State male student to be named the Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year. Credit: Penn State AthleticsAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nittany Lion wrestler Bo Nickal has been named the 2019 Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year. Nickal was honored from a field that featured each of the 14 Big Ten members' Male Athletes of the Year.

Iowa women's basketball player Megan Gustafson was named the 2019 Big Ten Female 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 conference wrestler to win the award. Men's gymnast Luis Vargas was the first Nittany Lion to be honored, earning the award in 2005.

The Allen, Texas, native was the 2019 NCAA champion at 197 pounds and was honored with the 2019 Dan Hodge Trophy as the most outstanding college wrestler of the year. Nickal was named the 2019 Co-Big Ten Wrestler of the Year (with teammate Jason Nolf) following a season in which he claimed his third Big Ten title. Overall, he was 120-3 at Penn State with 59 pins, 12 technical falls and 23 majors. He was 19-1 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, winning three national titles.

Nickal earned the 2019 NCAA Most Dominant Wrestler accolade as he finished his senior season with a perfect 30-0 record. Nickal was part of four consecutive NCAA championship teams with the Nittany Lions.

Nickal was recently voted Penn State Male Student-Athlete of the Year, the seventh Nittany Lion wrestler to be honored as such (and those seven grapplers earned nine total Penn State awards). Six Penn Staters have been named Female Athlete of the Year, the latest being women's volleyball player Megan Hodge in 2010.

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.

Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year award winners

1982 - Jim Spivey, Indiana, track and field/cross country
1983 - Ed Banach, Iowa, wrestling
1984 - Sunder Nix, Indiana, track and field
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, Northwestern, golf
2000 - Ron Dayne, Wisconsin, football
2001 - Ryan Miller, Michigan State, ice hockey
2002 - Jordan Leopold, Minnesota, ice hockey
2003 - Amer Delic, Illinois, tennis (co)
2003 - Matt Lackey, Illinois, wrestling (co)
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, Northwestern, wrestling
2010 - Evan Turner, Ohio State, basketball
2011 - David Boudia, Purdue, diving
2012 - Draymond Green, Michigan State, basketball
2013 - Derek Drouin, Indiana, track and field
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
2019 – Bo Nickal, Penn State, wrestling

Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year award winners

1983 - Judi Brown, Michigan State, track and field

1984 - Lisa Ishikawa, Northwestern, softball
1985 - Cathy Branta, Wisconsin, cross country/track
1986 - Stephanie Herbst, Wisconsin, cross country/track
1987 - Jennifer Averill, Northwestern, field hockey/lacrosse
1988 - Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country
1989 - Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country
1990 - Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country
1991 - Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse, Michigan State, diving (co)
1991 - Joy Holmes, Purdue, basketball (co)
1992 - MaChelle Joseph, Purdue, basketball
1993 - Lara Hooiveld, Michigan, swimming
1994 - Kristy Gleason, Iowa, field hockey
1995 - Laura Davis, Ohio State, volleyball
1996 - Olga Kalinovskaya, Penn State, fencing
1997 - Kathy Butler, Wisconsin, track and field (co)
1997 - Gretchen Hegener, Minnesota, swimming (co)
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, soccer
2003 - Perdita Felicien, Illinois, track and field
2004 - Kelly Mazzante, Penn State, basketball
2005 - Jennie Ritter, Michigan, softball
2006 - Tiffany Weimer, Penn State, soccer
2007 - Jessica Davenport, Ohio State, basketball
2008 - Hannah Nielsen, Northwestern, lacrosse
2009 - Maria Hernandez, Purdue, golf
2010 - Megan Hodge, Penn State, volleyball
2011 - Shannon Smith, Northwestern, lacrosse
2012 - Christina Manning, Ohio State, track and field
2013 - Amanda Kessel, Minnesota, ice hockey
2014 - Dani Bunch, Purdue, track and field
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

Last Updated August 30, 2019