Monday, June 17, 2013

Montee Ball named Wisconsin Athlete of the Year

Athlete of the Year Awards

June 14, 2013


MADISON - Wisconsin Athletics named Montee Ball (Football) and Cassandra Darrah (Softball) as their Male and Female athletes of the year for the 2012-2013 seasons.

Both players were vital in their teams’ success, both bringing Big Ten conference championships back to Madison.

Darrah led the softball program to their first ever Big Ten tournament title and an appearance in the NCAA tournament – the teams’ first since 2005. In the Big Ten tournament Darrah had a 3-0 record and was named tournament MVP.

Ball won the 2012 Doak Walker award and was named the Big Ten’s running back of the year. He led the Badgers to a third straight Rose Bowl appearance. This past April he was drafted by the Denver Broncos.

With this honor the two athletes are nominated for the Big Ten Conference’s top athlete award. Ball, eligible for the Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year Award would join Ron Dayne as the only other Badgers to bring home this honor. Darrah, competing for the Suzy Favor Hamilton Female Athlete of the Year award would join Cathy Branta (1985, Cross Country, Track and Field) Kathy Butler (1997, Track and Field) and Suzy Favor Hamilton (1988,1989,1990 Track and Field and Cross Country) as Badgers to win the award.

Montee Ball, Cassandra Darrah named Wisconsin Athletes of the Year

By Mike Fiammetta

June 15, 2013

Wisconsin has a deep well of athletic talent, but its athletic department pegged the football and softball standouts as the Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Now, Ball and Darrah will enter the pool of candidates for the Big Ten's top athlete honors.

Among the pool of candidates selected as finalists for Wisconsin's Athletes of the Year honors, Montee Ball and Cassandra Darrah were arguably the two most accomplished.

Friday afternoon, the university announced the former running back and right-handed softball ace were the winners of the male and female athlete awards, respectively.

Ball finished his senior season as the 2012 Doak Walker Award winner after finishing with 1,830 rushing yards, third-most in the country. He also finished his career as Wisconsin's all-time leader in touchdowns with 83, and was named a consensus first-team All-American. Drafted by the Denver Broncos with the 58th overall pick in June's NFL Draft, Ball signed his rookie contract on Thursday and could very well be the starting running back there.

Darrah, meanwhile, led Wisconsin's softball program to its first-ever Big Ten tournament title, earning MVP honors as she pitched all 21 innings of the three games and notched a 1.67 ERA. Her contributions culminated in the Badgers' first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005. In finishing 27-7, her .791 winning percentage was a single-season UW record.

Ball and Darrah will now be considered for the Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year and the Suzy Favor. The former was established in 1982 with the latter coming a year later. Wisconsin's only winner was former running back Ron Dayne in 2000, after he rushed for 2,034 yards and 20 touchdowns en route to winning the Heisman Trophy.

The Suzy Favor award has faced a murky future of late after Favor was revealed in December to have lived a double life as an escort. Favor, a three-time Olympian, won 23 conference titles with the Badgers and graduated from UW in 1991.

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