April 15, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Senior student-athletes Jillian Smith (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) and John Wojciechowski (Scottsdale, Ariz./Phoenix Brophy Prep) were named the 2013-14 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients for the University of Michigan Athletic Department on Tuesday evening (April 15) at the Academic Awards Banquet held at Crisler Center. Smith is a member of the women's cross country and track and field teams, and Wojciechowski swam on the men's swimming and diving squad.
The highlight of the annual banquet is the announcement of the male and female recipients of the Big Ten Medal of Honor. This year's honor took on significant meaning as the conference commemorates the 100th anniversary of this prestigious award. Former Michigan women's basketball player and the Chief Communications Officer for the Big Ten Conference Diane Dietz presented Smith and Wojciechowski with their awards. Dietz was U-M's first female recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor.
The conference's most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. 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."
Big Ten schools currently feature more than 8,200 student-athletes, but only 24 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 99 years of the Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.
Jillian Smith, Women's Track and Field
Smith's top collegiate accomplishment came during the 2013 indoor track and field season, when she was a member of Michigan's NCAA champion distance medley relay that set a new school record of 10:56.46. She is a six-time USTFCCCA All-American, earning first team All-America recognition as a member of the 2013 national champion DMR and twice in 2011 -- in the indoor 800-meter run and DMR. At the conference level, she is a six-time indoor Big Ten champion, clinching four straight titles as a member of U-M's DMR (2010-13) and back-to-back crowns in the 800-meter run in 2010 and 2011. Following her pair of Big Ten indoor championships in 2010, she was rewarded by the conference, earning selection as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. In cross country, Smith helped lead Michigan to back-to-back NCAA Great Lakes Regional titles in 2011 and 2012, as well as the 2012 Big Ten team crown. Individually, she was a four-time All-Great Lakes Region selection (2009-12) and three-time All-Big Ten second team member (2010-12). An environment major in Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts, Smith is a two-time Capital One Academic All-District V selection, being named to the first team in 2013 and second team in 2012. Earning better than a 3.7 cumulative grade-point average, she is also a three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2011-13).
John Wojciechowski, Men's Swimming & Diving
Wojciechowski departs Michigan as a two-time NCAA All-American, two-time NCAA All-America honorable mention and three-time Big Ten champion, but it was his contributions to the team's success that carries the most weight. Over his four years, Wojciechowski contributed to four Big Ten team championships -- the last of which came in March inside his home pool of Canham Natatorium -- and three top-five team finishes at the NCAA Championships, including the program's 12th NCAA title during his junior year in 2013. For his leadership efforts in and out of the pool, Wojciechowski was chosen as one of the team's captains this season. He is also a fantastic student (majoring in business administration in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business), earning Academic All-Big Ten honors three times in addition to being a two-time CSCAA Scholar All-American.
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