For the first time in 20 years, Wisconsin Badgers athlete was named Big Ten athlete of the year when the conference awarded Rettke the female athlete honor on Thursday. The 6’8 middle blocker is the first UW female athlete to win the award since 1997 and the first UW athlete overall since Ron Dayne was recognized in 2000.
Rettke, who has another year of eligibility left at Wisconsin, led the Badgers to the NCAA championship match and the Big Ten title last fall.
Wisconsin’s last recipient of the Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year was Ron Dayne (football) in 2000, while the Badgers’ last female honoree was Kathy Butler (cross country and track and field) in 1997. In total, Badgers have won the honor seven times overall (once for men, six for women) with five individuals claiming the honor.
Additionally, Rettke is the first Big Ten volleyball student-athlete to win this honor since 2010 and only the fifth all-time.
Rettke competed with the U.S. National Team during the summer of 2019, winning the Volleyball Nations League and qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She was a finalist for both the 2020 AAU James E. Sullivan Award and a 2019 Honda Award.
Ohio State’s Chase Young was honored as the Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year. Young is the fourth Ohio State student in the past six years to capture the honor.