Jason Nolf celebrates after a semifinal victory at the Big Ten Championships (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Jason Nolf has concluded his athletic career at Penn State with three individual NCAA wrestling titles ... and being named the Nittany Lions' male recipient of the 2019 Big Ten Medal of Honor, the school announced Monday.
Ally McHugh, Penn State's first woman swimmer to earn an individual NCAA title in her sport for the Nittany Lions, is the school's female recipient of this year's Big Ten Medal of Honor.
For just over a century, the Big Ten -- the nation's oldest collegiate conference -- has awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The award was first presented in 1915 to one student from the graduating class of each university in the conference 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.
While nearly 10,000 students compete in intercollegiate athletics in the Big Ten each year, only 28 earn a Big Ten Medal of Honor each year. In the 105-year history of the award, just over 1,000 student-athletes have been presented with this honor.
Jason Nolf concluded his successful collegiate mat career in March by winning his third consecutive NCAA Championship at 157 pounds. He ended a stellar 2018-19 season with a perfect 31-0 record, including 15 pins, five technical falls and six major decision ... helping lead Penn State to its fourth straight NCAA team title and eighth in nine years. Nolf, a Yatesboro, Pennsylvania native who graduated with a degree in kinesiology last month, wrapped up an incredible overall record of 117-3, including 60 falls ... the most pins for one wrestler in an entire college career in the 100-plus year history of Penn State wrestling.
In addition to receiving the 2019 Big Ten Medal of Honor, Nolf has earned other distinctions in his academic and athletic career. He was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree; three-time NWCA First Team National All-Academic and a 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-American (second team). Nolf also received Penn State Athletics' 2018-19 Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award (with women's soccer's Emily Ogle), presented to one female and one male student-athlete who have combined successful athletic participation with academic excellence.