Jessica Ring, a senior defender on the Wisconsin women's soccer team, has been named the 2006 Woody Hayes National Scholar Athlete. The award goes to one female student-athlete in all of Division I sports. There are six awards, one each for males and females competing in Division I, II and III athletics, for demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics and community service. Ring is the first Wisconsin athlete to receive the award, which is named for former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes. The award will be presented by the University and Northwest Setoma Club of Columbus (Ohio) Jan. 27 at a Columbus restaurant.
The fifth-year senior and two-time team captain helped lead the Badgers to the second Big Ten tournament title in school history and was named the tournament's most valuable defensive player. While at Wisconsin, she maintained a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point average in legal studies and was named a first-team Academic All-American in 2005 and a three-time academic All-Big Ten honoree. She completed her undergraduate degree at Wisconsin in May of 2005 and began law school at UW in August.
Off the field, Ring visits the UW Children's Hospital, cooks and serves food to children at the Ronald McDonald House, teaches soccer to a Girl Scout troop and participates in other volunteer camps.
Mason keeps job
Incoming Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema announced Wednesday that he has hired Henry Mason as his receivers coach. Mason, who has been with the Badgers since 1995, had to re-apply for his job due to the departure of head coach Barry Alvarez following the 2005 season. Alvarez is retaining his duties as UW's athletics director.
"The Wisconsin football program is very fortunate to have a quality coach, as well as a tremendous person, like Henry," Bielema said in a press release. "He's a terrific coach and excellent recruiter. I am very pleased to have him on our staff."
Women's basketball: Badgers get two verbals
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Ericka Engen and Kelsey Hendrickson will join the Wisconsin women's basketball team. Engen, a senior guard at McFarland who is averaging 23.3 points per game this season, will walk on in the fall of 2006.
Hendrickson, a 2005 Monroe High School graduate, is in the process of transferring from North Dakota State University, where she had a scholarship with the women's basketball team, according to the State Journal. She will walk on at UW. The 5-foot-7 point guard is enrolling in classes at UW this spring but will not be eligible to play until December of 2006 or January of 2007.
Men's soccer: Diaz named team offensive MVP
The Wisconsin men's soccer team held its annual end-of-season banquet in the new Camp Randall Suites recently.
Redshirt freshman forward Victor Diaz was named the team offensive most valuable player after he led the Badgers with seven goals and two assists for 16 points. The unanimous all-freshman Big Ten and second-team all-conference pick scored a goal in each of the last six games.
Junior defender Aaron Hohlbein was named the defensive MVP for the second straight year. The team captain played almost every minute and scored two goals and two assists.
The most improved player was freshman midfielder/forward Scott Lorenz, who redshirted his inaugural year as a Badger. Midfielder Kenny Dix earned freshman of the year honors while senior forward Pat Cronan received the William G. Reddan Spirit of Soccer award.
Ten Badgers earned academic All-Big Ten honors, including sophomore Christopher Ede, who was named to the College of Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District V team. The other nine Badgers are: junior Hamid Afsari, junior Andrew Cardona, Jr., sophomore Nick Caronna, Diaz, sophomore Sho Fujita, junior Frank Iaizzo, junior Reid Johnson, sophomore Erik Ortega, and junior Jake Settle.