Danielle Zymkowitz Named a Finalist for the Dike Eddleman Award
May 4, 2011
May 3, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Volleyball star Hillary Haen (Crystal Lake, Ill.) and golf national champion Scott Langley (Manchester, Mo.) took home the prestigious Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor Tuesday night at the Fighting Illini Scholar-Athlete Awards Reception, held at the Colonnades Club at Memorial Stadium. The Scholar-Athlete Reception is an annual event that recognizes graduating student-athletes and others who have excelled both athletically and academically.
The Medal of Honor is awarded annually at each conference school to a male and female senior student-athlete who demonstrates proficiency in scholarship and athletics. The award was first endowed in 1914 and has become the top annual award the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics bestows. Haen and Langley were just two of more than 120 Fighting Illini student-athletes, managers and athletic trainers recognized at the 21st annual event that honors the best and the brightest that Illinois athletics has to offer.
Langley, who won the 2010 NCAA national title and earned Ping! First Team All-America honors, is on pace to become Illinois' career leader in stroke average, surpassing the mark of former Illini great Steve Stricker. He has been the leader in the greatest era of Illinois golf. In his four years, the Illini have won 21 tournament titles, including the last three Big Ten Championships. Individually, he has won three individual tournament titles and earned a pair of top-five Big Ten finishes.
Langley was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2008 after a fourth-place finish and has earned three straight all-Big Ten honors and three academic all-Big Ten accolades. He has emerged on the national and international golf scene, representing the United States at the Palmer Cup, where he won the clinching match for the U.S. in the victory over the European contingent. He was one of three men to play on the American team in the 2010 World Amateur Team Golf Championship in Buenos Aries, Argentina. Langley not only qualified for the U.S. Open, but finished 16th and the low amateur at the event at Pebble Beach. Along the way, he moved into the top five in the world amateur golf rankings.
Off the course, Langley is majoring in accounting and has been involved in Hometown Heroes, Big Brothers Big Sisters and elementary school reading nights.
"Scott makes those around him better people," golf coach Mike Small said. "He believes in living his life through a lot of the characteristics that champions and leaders live by, and that is very contagious in a team atmosphere."
Haen has been the leader on a team that has made three straight trips to the Sweet 16. The two time All-Big Ten performer earned Honorable Mention All-America as a junior and Third Team All-America as a senior. Statistically, she ends her career fourth on the Illini's career assists list and eighth on the single-season assists list after a Big Ten-leading 1,471 in 2010. She has earned four all-tournament honors, including being named Most Valuable Player of this season's State Farm Illini Classic.
Haen has challenged herself academically with a double in major in finance and accounting, two of the most rigorous programs at the University of Illinois. Her performance in the classroom has earned her Academic All-Big Ten and Academic All-District accolades. She has taken on a leadership role in team events such as volleyball family Funfest and the Angel Tree project and in Hometown Heroes projects, which include events with one of the volleyball team's school partners, Westview Elementary School.
"Hillary was a leader the minute she walked on campus and just grew every week she was here in that regard," volleyball coach Kevin Hambly said. "She will go down as one of the best leaders in the history of Illinois and is a huge reason for the turnaround in the program over the last four years that she was here."
The Fighting Illini Spirit Awards, which are given to the male and female athletes who best exemplify the spirit, courage, effort and dedication of the Fighting Illini, also were handed out at the Colonnades Club. Redshirt senior gymnast Chad Wiest (Butler, Pa.) won the male Spirit Award, while senior soccer player Krystin Miller (Berkey, Ohio) took home the female Spirit Award this year.
The men's tennis team and women's swimming & diving team were recognized for having the top team GPAs among Illinois' 19 varsity sports, and six individuals were honored for having the top GPA in their respective classes. Tennis player Bruno Abdelnour (Aleppo, Syria) and swimmer Keri Eberhardt (Tinley Park, Ill.) had the top GPAs among sophomores, while Phil Pompei (Los Altos, Calif.) of track and field and swimmer April McKee (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) were best among juniors, and tennis player Abe Souza (St. Louis, Mo.) and swimmer Ann Miller (Columbia, Md.) were the senior GPA honorees.
In addition to the awards handed out, finalists for Dike Eddleman Male and Female Athlete of the Year and Newcomer of the Year also were announced. The Eddleman and Newcomer winners will not be announced until the conclusion of the spring sports seasons in June. See below for a full list of nominees and award winners from the evening.
Dike Eddleman Athlete of the Year Finalists
Fighting Illini Newcomer of the Year
Fighting Illini Spirit Award
Fighting Illini Outstanding Team GPA Awards
Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award Winners