Courtesy: Michigan Athletics
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan Athletic Department presented the Big Ten Medal of Honor to its 2018-19 recipients at its annual Student-Athlete Recognition Celebration on Monday evening (April 15), with seniors Siobhán Haughey (women’s swimming and diving) and Robbie Mertz (men’s soccer) receiving the honor based on their proficiency in scholarship and athletics.
The Big Ten Medal of Honor is awarded to one male and one female student from the graduating class of each member institution who has demonstrated excellence on and off the field throughout their college career. The highest honor that a student competing in conference athletics can achieve in the Big Ten, the award was established in 1915. During the past century, the Big Ten Medal of Honor has been awarded to more than 1,300 honorees. These individuals have translated their campus experience into success in all walks of life.
Haughey, a native of Hong Kong, is the department’s female recipient. She is the third student-athlete from the women’s swimming and diving program to earn the honor, joining Mindy Gehrs (1993) and Kim Johnson (1998).
Haughey played a huge part in the women’s swimming and diving program’s resurgence over the last few years, helping the Wolverines win three consecutive Big Ten titles from 2016-18 and record back-to-back top-four finishes at the NCAA Championships in 2018-19. During her four-year career, Haughey was a 14-time CSCAA All-American, 11-time CSCAA All-America honorable mention and 15-time Big Ten champion, establishing herself among the program’s all-time greats. She was national runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle as a junior and holds the seventh-fastest time in history in that event (1:40.69).
She holds 10 school records (six individual, four on relays), including the short-course (yards) and long-course (meters) records in the 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley. Representing Hong Kong internationally, Haughey reached the semifinals of the 200-meter freestyle at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and made the finals in the same event at the 2017 World Championships. On Sunday (April 14) in Hong Kong, she qualified for both the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Olympics.
Academically, Haughey was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and will soon be a three-time CSCAA Scholar All-American. She was also a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2018. Outside of her busy training schedule, she volunteers in a conceptual development lab, serves as a health ambassador for Project Healthy Schools and is a mentor in the Michigan Mentorship Program. Haughey will graduate with a degree in psychology and plans train in Ann Arbor through the 2020 Olympics.
Mertz, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the department’s male recipient. He is the first student-athlete from the men’s soccer program to earn the honor.
A three-year starter, Mertz played in 76 matches for the Wolverines and made 55 starts. He served his last two years as co-captain, helping guide the team to its first-ever Big Ten championship in 2017 and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. For his career, Mertz tallied 30 points on nine goals and 12 assists. As a senior, he was a United Soccer Coaches All-North Region (second team) and All-Big Ten (first team) selection.
Off the field, he was voted one of the 10 finalists for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award, given annually to the top student-athlete with high marks in character, community, classroom and competition. He participated in two international trips: one to China in 2018 (as part of the Ross Global Immersion Program) and one to Vietnam in 2017 (with Let’s Go Do). Mertz is a participating member of Athletes in Action and the vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), and he regularly volunteers time with the men’s soccer program’s Team IMPACT player, Aiden Hansen.
Following the college season, Mertz was drafted in the fourth round (No. 76 overall) by the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer. He signed with his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL, and made his professional debut last week.
Enrolled in the Ross School of Business, Mertz will graduate with a degree in business administration. He is an Academic All-Big Ten selection and was the recipient of last year’s Bates/Deskins Award.
The Big Ten Medal of Honor was the first award in intercollegiate athletics to demonstrate support for the educational emphasis placed on athletics. It was acclaimed throughout the nation, and in particular by the NCAA “as one of the significant gestures yet made in college sports.” The Big Ten Medal of Honor was expanded in 1982 to include one female student-athlete from each institution.