June 7, 2012
Minnesota seniors Anne Schleper (hockey) and David Pachuta (track & field) have been selected as Minnesota’s recipients of the 2012 Big Ten Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is annually awarded to the top senior male and female student-athletes at each of the conference’s 12 institutions.
Anne Schleper (St. Cloud, Minn./Cathedral HS) finished her career as one of the most outstanding defensemen in Gopher women’s hockey history, ranking among the top three all-time in career points, goals and assists by a defenseman. She is the school record holder for career games played with 158, never missing a game during her collegiate career. An All-American and All-WCHA honoree, Schleper is the only defenseman in Gopher history to earn all-conference honors four times. She was the 2010 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year.
The three-time Academic All-WCHA and Academic All-Big Ten honoree served as an assistant captain in 2011-12. A business and marketing major, Schleper will graduate this summer.
Schleper has been a part of the USA Hockey system since being selected to the Under-18 Team in 2007-08. She most recently helped Team USA to a silver medal at the 2012 IIHF Women’s Hockey World Championship in April.
Pachuta (Eagan, Minn./Eastview HS) is currently competing at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Last night, the senior broke his own school record in the 800 meters and tonight he will run as a part of the Gophers 4x400-meter relay team.
A four-time letterwinner, Pachuta has epitomized the word student-athlete during his career at Minnesota. An All-American and All-Big Ten performer, team captain, and school record-holder, the neuroscience major has been as successful in the classroom as he is on the track. Owner of a 3.563 in one of the university’s most rigorous disciplines, Pachuta has earned three Academic All-Big Ten citations during his career and was recently named an NCAA postgraduate scholar. He has plans to attend the University of Minnesota Dental School in the fall of 2012.
Schleper and Pachuta are among 24 student-athletes from 13 different sports that the Big Ten will honor today. One of the most prestigious conference awards in college athletics, 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.”
The 12 institutions of the Big Ten Conference feature nearly 10,000 student-athletes, more than any other conference, and only 24 of those individuals are recognized each year with the Big Ten Medal of Honor. In the 98 years of the Medal of Honor, just over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.