June 17, 2014
The Badgers enjoyed their share of success in 2013-14 and now UWBadgers.com is honoring the best student-athletes, teams and performances of the year. Over the next few weeks, we'll unveil the best of the Badgers in five categories: Big Ten Medal of Honor (June 16), Athletes of the Year (June 17-21), Team Achievements of the Year (June 22-27), Games of the Year (June 28-July 5) and Freshmen of the Year (July 13-18).
Today we unveil the Athletes of the Year, Michael Lihrman of men’s track and field and Alex Rigsby of women’s hockey.
• 2013-14 Year in Review
MADISON, Wis. -- After a season filled with spectacular achievements, the University of Wisconsin has named junior men’s track and field athlete Michael Lihrman as the school’s Male Athlete of the Year and senior women’s hockey goaltender Alex Rigsby as its Female Athlete of the Year.
In his first season competing for the Badgers, Lihrman rewrote not only the Wisconsin record books, but the conference and national record books. He set the NCAA Division I record in the indoor weight throw and he broke the Big Ten record in the hammer throw twice during the outdoor season. He finished no lower than third in an event this season, and went undefeated during the indoor season, winning all eight competitions.
A 2014 first-team All-American, Rigsby led the women’s hockey squad to its seventh Frozen Four appearance and set the program record for career wins with 100, which is tied for the second most in NCAA history. The senior finished the year ranked third in the nation in goals-against average (1.32) and tied for the nation’s lead in save percentage (.945).
The duo will now be considered for the Big Ten Conference's top athlete honors. Lihrman is UW's candidate for Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year, while Rigsby is a candidate for Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year.
Michael Lihrman (Men's Track & Field)
The 2014 NCAA champion in the indoor weight throw, Lihrman was dominant in the ring as the Rice Lake, Wisconsin, native won 10 events and only lost to collegiate competition three times during the indoor and outdoor seasons.
During the indoor season, Lihrman broke his own school record twice before setting the Division I record in the weight throw with a heave of 79 feet, 7 1/2 inches at the Red & White Open on Feb. 21.
Lihrman went on to win the Big Ten title in the weight throw, helping the Badgers win their second-straight indoor conference crown. At the NCAA indoor championships, he posted five of the top six overall marks to win the competition, becoming the first Badger to win an individual NCAA title since Chris Solinsky in 2007.
During the outdoor campaign, Lihrman broke the Big Ten record in the hammer throw at the Wisconsin Open with a heave of 233-1. He finished runner-up in the hammer at the Big Ten outdoor championships, but his eight points helped the Badgers sweep the indoor and outdoor conference crowns for the first time since 2007.
At the NCAA outdoor championships, Lihrman again broke the Big Ten record in the hammer with a toss of 233-9 and finished third to earn All-America honors. He became the first Badger to earn All-America laurels in the hammer since Arthur Frisch in 1931.
Lihrman will wrap up his season June 26-29 at the 2014 USA Outdoor Championships, as he looks to build on a 12th-place finish a year ago.
Alex Rigsby (Women's Hockey)
In her final season between the pipes for the women’s hockey team, Rigsby made history while helping the Badgers to their seventh Frozen Four appearance in program history.
A 2014 AHCA first-team All-American, Rigsby set the UW record for career wins, leaving Wisconsin with 100 triumphs, which is tied for the second most in NCAA history.
The Delafield native enjoyed a 17-7-2 record this season, with five of her wins coming against ranked foes. Rigsby was named a first-team All-WCHA selection and earned a spot on the All-USCHO first team.
She passed UW legend Jessie Vetter for the most wins in program history with a 3-1 win over Bemidji State to earn her 92nd career victory. Rigsby also set the school record for most minutes played with 7,881 minutes and 9 seconds.
Rigsby’s best game of the year came against Harvard in the NCAA quarterfinals, as the senior stopped 23 of the 24 shots she faced and made a few spectacular saves to propel Wisconsin to a 2-1 victory.
During her Wisconsin career, Rigsby paced the Badgers to a national title in 2011 and helped the Cardinal and White appear in three Frozen Fours. She also led Wisconsin to the 2011 WCHA regular season title and helped UW win two WCHA Final Face-Off tournaments.
Her 3,126 career saves are the most in school history, while her career save percentage of .941 is tied for the program’s best mark. She also was drafted by the Chicago Steel in 2009, becoming the first female ever drafted into the USHL.
Rigsby excelled in the classroom and was named a 2014 WCHA Scholar-Athlete and earned a spot on the All-WCHA Academic team for the second-straight season. She also was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.