Minnesota’s Plant Earns Big Ten Medal of Honor

MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – Minnesota seniors Jessica Plant (women’s swimming and diving) and Kyle Rau (men’s hockey) have been named recipients of this year’s Big Ten Medal of Honor, given annually to the top male and female student-athlete at each conference institution. This year, the conference is celebrating the 101st anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor.

 Plant, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was a member of the Golden Gophers’ 800 freestyle relay team that won the Big Ten title. She is a three-time First Team All-American and has been named to All-Big Ten First and Second Teams during her career. 

Out of the pool, Plant is a Rhodes Scholarship finalist, a two-time Academic All-American, and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. She received the Big Ten’s Wayne Duke Scholarship award and was announced as the University of Minnesota’s recipients of the Big Ten Conference postgraduate scholarship. She is finishing her final undergraduate academic semester with a 4.0 GPA in her coursework toward her art history and classical civilizations degrees. Plant plans to pursue graduate work in art history and archaeology.

Rau, a native of Eden Prairie, Minn., led Gopher Hockey to four-straight regular-season conference championships for the first time in the modern era as well as four-straight NCAA tournament berths.  The two-time captain and four-year letter winner totaled 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists) as a senior and was named Second Team All-Big Ten for the second-consecutive year. Rau was also named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team as the Gophers won the 2015 Big Ten Tournament title, marking just the fourth time in the program’s 94-year history that the Maroon & Gold swept the conference regular-season and playoff titles.

A Second Team All-American as a junior in 2013-14, Rau tallied 40 or more points in each of his four seasons at Minnesota and closed out his college career with 164 points (67 goals, 97 assists) in 160 career games — 18th all-time at Minnesota in scoring. In his four years with the program, Minnesota led the nation in total wins with 105 and overall winning percentage at .690 while also boasting an NCAA-best 63 wins on home ice and an .801 home winning percentage. A finalist for the Senior CLASS Award this year, Rau was a three-time academic all-conference honoree and graduated from the Carlson School of Management with a degree in marketing.

About the Big Ten Medal of Honor

The Big Ten, the nation’s oldest collegiate conference, commemorates the 101st 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-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.” Big Ten schools currently feature almost 9,500 student-athletes, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 100 years of the Medal of Honor, almost 1,400 student-athletes have earned this distinction.


Swimming news courtesy of Minnesota Athletics.

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9 years ago

Way to go Jessica. You have had quite a college career. It was an honor to help you with the college recruiting process. You are a shining example of all the good things about college athletics.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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