Bunch named Big Ten Athlete of the Year

Courtesy: Purdue Sports
Courtesy: Purdue Sports

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – Dani Bunch was named the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, the conference announced during its award show on the Big Ten Network Monday night. Bunch is the sixth Purdue woman to be named the conference’s Female Athlete of the Year.

The athletes of the year were selected from a panel of the conference media.

The fifth-year senior thrower on the track and field team is the first Boilermaker woman to win the award since 2009 when golfer Maria Hernandez claimed the honor.  David Boudia was the last Purdue male athlete to win, as he was honored with the Jesse Owens Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year Award in 2011.

During the 2013-14 school year, Bunch earned three First Team All-American honors, with a third place finish in the weight throw, a fifth place finish in the indoor shot put and a fifth place finish to wrap up her career in the outdoor shot put. Also this year, the Mahomet, Ill., native was named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year for the indoor season, as well as the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships during the outdoor season.

“It’s a huge honor,” Bunch said on the Big Ten Network awards show. “It’s nice to be recognized coming from an Olympic sport. I had some struggles in the past maintaining, but this year I stuck to plan. It’s always a competition within yourself with throws, so I had to get out of my head, but I did that this year. It’s a great honor to win the award.”

She won the weight throw title at the Big Ten indoor meet to become the first woman in conference history to claim three weight throw titles in her career. Bunch also earned a trio of silver medals with runner-up finishes in the indoor and outdoor shot put as well as the hammer throw. Bunch holds the school records in the weight throw and indoor and outdoor shot puts, all throws from this season that broke her previous school records. She is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and leaves Purdue as a nine-time All-American.

Bunch earned all 10 of the Purdue women’s points at the indoor NCAA Championships to give the team a 19th place finish in the country. During the outdoor season, she earned all four of the team’s points to finish 47th in the country. She was also named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week a conference record six-times this year, including a record four in a row. She also earned two outdoor conference field athlete of the week nods.

Bunch joins golfer Hernandez (2009), and basketball stars Katie Douglas (2001), Stephanie White-McCarty (1999), MaChelle Joseph (1992) and Joy Holmes (1991). Bunch is the first track and field athlete from Purdue to win the award, either male or female.

On the men’s side, Penn State wrestler David Taylor was named the Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year.

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