2 IU student athletes receive Big Ten honors

With the 2007-2008 IU athletics season nearing completion, two IU student athletes received the Big Ten’s Medal of Honor, rewarding achievement in athletics as well as in the classroom.

Senior tennis player Thomas Richter and senior field hockey player Haley Exner received the award, which is given to one male and one female senior from each Big Ten school.

“Thomas worked extremely hard on and off the court,” IU tennis coach Randy Bloemendaal said. “It’s great to see someone who puts in that kind of effort get recognized.”

Richter, who was the No. 1 singles player for IU this season, compiled a 25-14 singles record this year along with a 28-6 doubles record. Richter cruised through the Big Ten season with a 10-0 mark in doubles and won the last 12 doubles matches of his career.

Bloemendaal said the men’s tennis team improved their GPA across the board and should be number one or two in the team GPA competition this year for IU athletics.

”Thomas is a big reason for our improvement,” Bloemendaal said. “He was a real leader and he set a high standard for our student-athletes.”

Richter is currently in his native Germany, where he just won a tournament last week, Bloemendaal said. Richter plans on returning to IU next year to work on his master’s degree in sports marketing and management before pursuing a professional tennis career.

Exner added the Big Ten Medal of Honor to a growing list of accomplishments. She was a three time all-Big Ten goalkeeper and was a first-team National Field Hockey Coaches Assosciation All-West region honoree her junior and senior seasons. She is also IU’s career leader in wins and goals against average.

“She really deserves this recognition for her contributions as a student and on the field hockey field,” IU field hockey coach Amy Robertson said. “I’m very proud of her and I can’t think of anyone who better represents the field hockey program.”

Robertson said Exner is the first field hockey player to win the award in the eight years of the program.

“A girl like Haley doesn’t come around too often,” Robertson said. “She has shown great character to go along with her great performance on the field. She has really helped this program grow to an elite level.”

Robertson said Exner, who is currently vacationing in Europe, plans to return as a graduate assistant next year.

“She will have a lot to offer to our team and eventually she could be a great college coach,” Robertson said.

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