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June 12, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nittany Lion standouts Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) and David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) have been selected Penn State Athletes of the Year for 2011-12. The student-athletes are eligible for the Big Ten's highest honor as the Jesse Owens Men's Athlete of the Year and Suzy Favor Women's Athlete of the Year.
Taylor captured his first national championship at 165 pounds going a perfect 32-0 to lead Penn State to its second consecutive NCAA team title in 2012. Taylor was unstoppable, earning numerous accolades during the season including the 2012 Hodge Trophy winner as national collegiate wrestler of the year. Capping his tremendous national championship performance, Taylor won his first four matches at NCAAs by falls before winning the title bout with a technical fall score of 22-7 against Lehigh's Brandon Hatchett.
The redshirt-sophomore was also named the NCAA's most dominant wrestler, NCAA Championship's Most Outstanding Wrestler, NCAA Championship Gorriaran Award winner and Big Ten Wrestler of the Year. In his two years on the mat, Taylor has accumulated a 70-1 overall record with 23 pins, 24 technical falls and 17 major wins en route to two All-America honors. Taylor has also earned two Academic All-Big Ten nods during his career in Happy Valley and was a first-team national All-Academic honoree by the NWCA.
Hayes was the nation's most prolific scorer in soccer this season and was a finalist for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, soccer's highest honor. Hayes led the nation with 31 goals and 70 points, while breaking numerous Penn State and Big Ten records in helping the Nittany Lions win their 14th consecutive Big Ten Championship. The sophomore phenom broke single-season records at Penn State for goals and points as well as breaking the school sophomore record for goals in a season by 10 and points record by 19. She also tallied nine game-winning goals, second at Penn State and the most for a sophomore in a season.
The New Jersey product earned NSCAA All-America First Team, NSCAA All-Great Lakes First Team, Big Ten Forward of the Year and All-Big Ten First Team accolades for her tremendous year. Hayes was also excellent in the classroom earning Capital One/CoSIDA Third-team Academic All-America and Academic All-Big Ten honors. Hayes has her sights set this August on the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup where she'll represent the United States.
Taylor and Hayes will be on the ballot for Big Ten Athletes of the Year with 22 other nominees. Selected members of the media who regularly cover each Big Ten institution will vote for the winners of the Jesse Owens and Suzy Favor Awards. The winners will be announced on BTN's Big Ten Awards Show at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 18.