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May 20, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the strength of a season-best throw in the shot put at the Big Ten Championships, Penn State's Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) earned Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championships. Nittany Lion Head Coach and Director of Track and Field Beth Alford-Sullivan was named Big Ten Women's Coach of the Year for the second straight year after leading Penn State to back-to-back outdoor titles.
Hill won the 2014 Big Ten shot put title after a throw of 20.57 meters (67-6), which is second all-time at Penn State. His throw is also currently second in the NCAA. Hill becomes just the second Nittany Lion to be tabbed Athlete of the Year, joining Joe Kovacs in 2012, and the first to be honored as Athlete of the Championships.
Alford-Sullivan's Coach of the Year honor is the fifth of her career and comes after leading Penn State to its fifth Big Ten title in the last seven years. Alford-Sullivan helped Penn State to five Big Ten titles, including Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pennsylvania) in the heptathlon, Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, New York) in the hammer throw, Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) in the 200-meter dash, Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) in the 400-meter hurdles, and the 4x400-meter relay team comprised of Jones, Seymour, Dynasty McGee (Flint, Michigan) and Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).
Senior Laura Loht (McClure, Pennsylvania) and Russell Hedrick (Schwenksville, Pennsylvania) were named Penn State's Sportsmanship Award Honorees. The Big Ten Conference office recognizes student-athletes from each team as Sportsmanship Award Honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. These student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.
The Nittany Lions have a week off before heading to NCAA East Regionals on May 29-31 in Jacksonville, Florida.