Eckerstrom and Magaludis Selected Penn State’s Big Ten Medal of Honor Recipients

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Seniors Britt Eckerstrom and Nico Megaludis have been selected Penn State’s 2015-16 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients.

(Photo: Nico Megaludis. Photo courtesy of Penn State Atheltics)

The Big Ten, the nation’s oldest collegiate conference, commemorates the 102nd anniversary of a very unique tradition – the Big Ten Medal of Honor. 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 from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.”

In 1982, the award was expanded to include one female student-athlete from each member institution. Big Ten institutions feature more than 9,500 students competing in intercollegiate athletics, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In more than 100 years of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, nearly 1,400 students have earned this distinction.

Eckerstrom and Megaludis join an elite group of previous Penn State Big Ten Medal of Honor award winners, including: Helen Holloway, women’s basketball, 1994; John Amaechi, men’s basketball, 1995; Jeff Hartings, football, 1996; Kim McGreevy, women’s cross country/track and field, 1998; Katie Futcher, women’s golf, 2004; Joanna Lohman, women’s soccer, 2005; Jason Yeisley, men’s soccer, 2010; Petra Januskova, women’s tennis, 2013; John Urschel, football, 2013 and last year’s recipients, Matt Brown (wrestling) and Nia Grant (women’s volleyball).

Earlier this spring, Eckerstrom and Megaludis were named recipients of the 2016 Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award, which is presented annually to one Penn State senior male and one senior female student-athlete who have combined successful athletic participation with academic excellence.

“We are proud of Britt and Nico and their pursuit of academic and competitive excellence and community engagement throughout their careers as Penn State student-athletes,” said Sandy Barbour, Director of Athletics. “They have both been tremendous leaders and represented their teams, Intercollegiate Athletics and the University with abundant passion and made the most of their opportunities at Penn State. We are so pleased to recognize Britt and Nico as our 2016 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients.”

Eckerstrom capped off her Nittany Lion career in net for the 2015 NCAA Champion Penn State women’s soccer team, led by Coach Erica Dambach. During the 2015 season, she started all 27 matches, tallying a record of 22-3-2, which included 15 shutouts. Eckerstrom and the Nittany Lion defense ended the 2015 season with eight consecutive shutouts. The Nittany Lions did not allow a goal over the final 733:32 of the season and during that span, Eckerstrom played all but 19:23 in net. Eckerstrom set the fourth-best solo shutout performance in school history with 12 shutouts and she tied Erin McLeod for wins in a season with 22 (2005).

In her career, Eckerstrom finished with a record of 61-14-3 and her 61 wins rank second all-time at Penn State. She finished her career with 255 saves, 77 starts, 24 solo shutouts, 6,966 minutes played and a goals against average of .80. Her 255 saves rank fourth all-time, her 77 starts and GAA of .80 rank third, her 24 solo shutouts are fourth-best and she ranks eighth in minutes played (6,966).

Eckerstrom’s 2015 honors included: Academic All-Big Ten, NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team, All-Big Ten Tournament Team, Defensive Player of the Big Ten Tournament and CoSIDA Academic All-District. A geography major, Eckerstrom earned a 3.64 grade-point average.

Megaludis became Penn State wrestling’s ninth four-time All-American and won the 125-pound National Championship on March 19 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Megaludis’ first individual title helped spark the Nittany Lion wrestlers to their fifth NCAA team title in the last six years, under the direction of Coach Cael Sanderson.

A finance major, Megaludis was selected a 2016 first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American,
earned three Academic All-Big Ten honors and is a three-time first team NWCA National All-Academic selection. His unbeaten run through nationals capped off a 32-3 season and he closed out his career 11th on Penn State’s all-time wins list with a 119-19 career record.

A four-time All-American, Megaludis placed second, second, third and first nationally during his outstanding career. He is Penn State’s 31st NCAA Champion (24th individual to do so), and Sanderson’s ninth NCAA champion at Penn State. Megaludis is tied for second on Penn State’s all-time NCAA Championship wins list with 18.

Penn State student-athletes won five Big Ten championships, two NCAA titles, seven Big Ten individual crowns and four NCAA individual championships in 2015-16. Four Nittany Lions earned CoSIDA Academic All-America selections, including first-team honoree Megaludis.

Penn State student-athletes have an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 88 percent and have earned 193 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections, the fourth-highest total among Division I programs. The Nittany Lions have won 76 team national championships and 97 Big Ten Conference crowns all-time and their 29 NCAA Championships since 1992-93 are the most of any Big Ten institution.

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