June 14, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- Following a season filled with outstanding performances, University of Wisconsin Athletics has named senior football player Montee Ball as its Male Athlete of the Year and junior softball player Cassandra Darrah as its Female Athlete of the Year.
The 2012 Doak Walker Award winner, Ball was a catalyst in Wisconsin’s run to a third-straight Big Ten championship in football and was named UW's top athlete for the second-consecutive year. He finished third in the country and led the Big Ten in rushing yards with 1,830 en route to becoming a consensus first-team All-American and the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year. Ball finished his career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in touchdowns with 83.
Darrah led the Badger softball team to its first-ever Big Ten tournament crown and the program’s first NCAA appearance since 2005. She finished the season with a UW single-season record .791 winning percentage after going 27-7 in the circle for the Badgers.
The duo will now be considered for the Big Ten Conference's top athlete honors. Ball is UW's candidate for Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year, while Darrah is a candidate for Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year.
Montee Ball (Football)
The NCAA all-time leader in career touchdowns, Ball capped off his historic Wisconsin career by becoming the first player in school history to earn consensus first-team All-America honors in two separate seasons.
Rushing for at least 100 yards in 10 games, the senior ran for a Big Ten-best 1,830 yards, which ranked third in the nation. Ball also paced the conference with 22 touchdowns, the ninth-best total in the country.
For his efforts, Ball won the 2012 Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back, and was named the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year.
Ball propelled the Badgers to their school-record third-straight Big Ten title and became the first player in Rose Bowl history to rush for at least 100 yards in three consecutive Rose Bowls. He also became first player ever to score TDs in three different Rose Bowl contests.
He also was named MVP of the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game after rushing for 202 yards and three touchdowns in a 70-31 win over then-No. 14 Nebraska.
Ball wrapped up his career with 5,140 rushing yards, second in UW history behind only Ron Dayne.
Cassandra Darrah (Softball)
In a season to remember for the Wisconsin softball team, Darrah was a critical part of the Badger squad that won its first-ever Big Ten tournament title, made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005 and set a school record for wins with 44 victories.
Darrah earned Big Ten tournament MVP accolades after earning a 3-0 record in the tournament, working all 21 innings for the Badgers and recording a 1.67 ERA. In the title game against Minnesota, Darrah pitched a gem, allowing only two hits while striking out eight.
In the Badgers first NCAA appearance in eight years, Darrah was named to the NCAA tournament All-Region team after posting a 1.67 ERA with 13 strikeouts during the tournament.
A first-team All-Big Ten and a second-team NFCA Great Lakes All-Region honoree, Darrah finished the season with a UW single-season record .791 winning percentage while earning a 27-7 ledger. Her 27 victories were second in school history, and her 231.1 innings pitched were the fifth-most in a single season at Wisconsin. Darrah tossed 27 complete games in 2013, which ranks fourth in school history, and her nine Big Ten wins ranks second all-time at UW.
Darrah, a native of Corydon, Iowa, earned Big Ten Pitcher of the Week twice this season, and tossed UW’s first no-hitter in 12 seasons. She pitched a complete game shutout in Wisconsin’s 8-0 win over No. 16 Stanford, and tossed a complete game in a triumph over No. 6 Michigan. She tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts in a 6-4 win over Notre Dame. Darrah also earned UW’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in her career.
In only her third year, Darrah is tied for second in program history with 65 career victories, and her 2.17 career ERA ranks second. Her .684 winning percentage is the best in UW history, and her 19 shutouts rank second. Darrah has punched out 424 batters in her career, which is Wisconsin’s sixth-best mark, and her 67 complete games rank third all-time.