The Medal of Honor is the conference’s most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence
The University of Minnesota announced that Bethany Hasz (women’s cross country and track) and Gable Steveson (wrestling) are the school’s recipients of the Big Ten Media of Honor. The announcement was made this evening at the Golden Goldys, which is an annual banquet that celebrates Minnesota student-athlete success.
The Big Ten Medal of Honor is awarded annually to the top female and male student-athletes at each conference institution, with this year’s honor marking the 108th anniversary of the award. The conference’s most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.” Big Ten schools feature thousands of student-athletes, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 100-plus years of the Medal of Honor, more than 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.
Among her accolades this season with cross country, Hasz was named All-American, USTFCCCA All-Region, First Team All-Big Ten, and Big Ten Athlete of the Year. She led the Gophers in six of her seven races, including at the NCAA Championships where she posted the fastest 6K time in Gophers’ history (19:36.40) en route to finishing seventh and tying for the highest individual finish by a Gopher at the national meet in program history. With outdoor track, Hasz was named a First Team All-American in the 5,000m after finishing third at the NCAA Championships. In addition, she earned All-Big Ten First Team honors as the Big Ten champion in the 10,000m and All-Big Ten Second Team honors as the conference’s runner-up in the 5,000m. For indoor track, Hasz repeated as Big Ten champion in the 3k and helped lead the Gophers to their second consecutive B1G indoor team title.
Steveson, who won gold at the Tokyo Olympics this past summer, wrapped up one of the most dominant careers in NCAA history this past season as he repeated as national champion and Big Ten champ (third career) in the heavyweight division. He posted an 18-0 record on the season with an 83% bonus rate and finished his career on a 52-match win streak. As a result, he ended with the highest win percentage in program history at .977 (85-2). In addition to being a national champion for the second straight year, Steveson also won his second consecutive WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy winner, an award given to the nation’s most dominant wrestler each season. He’s the first to win the award more than once and the only heavyweight to ever claim the honor.
Minnesota had previously announced its three female and male finalists for the award. Joining Hasz and Steveson as finalists were Lexy Ramler (gymnastics), Stephanie Samedy (volleyball), Blaise Andries (football), and Alec Basten (men’s cross country and outdoor track).