UW names Ball, Decker Athletes of the Year

MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin athletics department has named football player Montee Ball as its Male Athlete of the Year and hockey player Brianna Decker as its Female Athlete of the Year, the school announced Friday.

Ball, a running back, helped guide the Badgers to a second straight Big Ten championship during his junior season. He led the nation in rushing with 1,923 yards and tied the single-season FBS record with 39 total touchdowns scored. Ball finished the season with 33 rushing touchdowns, which shattered the previous Big Ten record of 26.

Ball was a unanimous, consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, as well as the Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the top running back in college football. He won the Archie Griffin Award and Jim Brown Award from the Touchdown Club of Columbus.

Decker was named the top player in collegiate women’s hockey, winning the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. She led the country in goals with 37.

Decker ranks fifth in career points at Wisconsin with 189 (86 goals, 103 assists). Last season as a junior, she set the school record for longest point streak at 32 games.

The pair will now be considered for the Big Ten’s top athlete honors. Ball is Wisconsin’s candidate for Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year, and Decker will vie for Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year.

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