Nebraska student-athletes Sam Griesel and Megan Whittaker captured Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Awards for making significant impacts in their sport and the community in 2022-23. The conference announced its annual honors for each school on Tuesday, June 20.
Griesel (Lincoln, Nebraska), a 6-foot-7 starting guard on the men’s basketball team, averaged 12.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the Huskers. He also earned a Sam Foltz 27 Hero Leadership Award for his outstanding contributions to the community. Griesel’s outreach projects included coordinating a blood drive with the American Red Cross that raised nearly 80 units of blood for the Lincoln community. He was also involved with Landon’s Light Foundation, using portions of his NIL deals to raise money for children battling medical conditions such as cancer while providing financial assistance to organizations benefiting children in similar situations.
Whittaker (Elkhorn, Nebraska) was a five-year starter for the Husker women’s golf team. As a graduate student in 2022-23, Whittaker competed in all 38.5 rounds for a Nebraska squad that advanced to NCAA Regional competition for the second time in three seasons. Whittaker finished second among the Huskers with a 73.48 stroke average, which ranked as the fourth-best season average in school history. She earned six individual top-25 tournament finishes on the year before capturing her fourth consecutive Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award. In the community, Whittaker was named one of Nebraska’s Heart & Soul Award winners presented to the top performers in all areas of the award-winning Husker Life Skills program. She capped her time as a student-athlete at Nebraska by participating in the No Filter Service Trip to Panama in May. Whittaker was the Nebraska women’s golf Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner in both 2021 and 2023, and she also claimed a Sam Foltz 27 Hero Leadership Award in 2021. She was a five-time member of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team.
All Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winners across all sports have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, these honorees must be in good academic standing and must have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Awards (2022-23)
Alex Palczewski, Football
Kendall Bostic, Women’s Basketball
Andrew Capobianco, Men’s Swimming and Diving
Kennedy Reardon, Field Hockey
Kaevon Merriweather, Football
Jordan Amelon, Women’s Golf
Alex Nitzl, Men’s Soccer
Faith Masonius, Women’s Basketball
Tito Flores, Baseball
Erin Neustrom, Women’s Water Polo
Wyatt Rush, Baseball
Mo Jardell, Field Hockey
Tanner Morgan, Football
CC McGraw, Volleyball
Sam Griesel, Men’s Basketball
Megan Whittaker, Women’s Golf
Michael Farinelli, Baseball
Grace Reininga, Volleyball
Kam Babb, Football
Emaly Vatne, Women’s Soccer
Paul DeNaples, Men’s Hockey
Rachel Spilker, Women’s Lacrosse
Matt Ramos, Wrestling
Cassidy Hardin, Women’s Basketball
Noah Vedral, Football
Sofia Chichaikina, Women’s Swimming & Diving
Constantin Bensch, Men’s Swimming & Diving
Ava Markham, Women’s Tennis
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