Three-time NCAA wrestling champion Bo Nickal has been named the 2019 Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year, the third Penn State male to earn the honor.
Iowa women's basketball player Megan Gustafson was named the 2019 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year.
Nickal is the first Penn State student to be named Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year since fellow wrestler David Taylor was honored in 2014. Nickal is the 11th wrestler to win the award and wrestlers have one won five of the last six years. Men's gymnast Luis Vargas was the first Nittany Lion to be honored, earning the award in 2005.
Nickal, from Allen, Texas, finished his Penn State wrestling career at 120-3, winning the Dan Hodge Trophy as the most outstanding college wrestler of the year. Nickal was named the 2019 Co-Big Ten Wrestler of the Year (with teammate Jason Nolf). He finished with 59 pins, 12 technical falls and 23 majors. He was 19-1 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, winning three national titles.
Nickal finished his career with a third-national title, going 30-0 on his way to 197-pound title. Nickal was part of four consecutive NCAA Championship teams with the Nittany Lions, winning the crown in each of his competitive seasons in State College.
Iowa's Gustafson is the first Iowa student since Kristy Gleason (field hockey) in 1994 to be recognized as the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year.