Recent IU graduates Emily Powell, who starred on the water polo team, and Jake Kleimola, who competed on the wrestling mat for the Hoosiers, were awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor last week.
The distinction is given to one man and one woman student-athlete at each Big Ten school every year for demonstrating academic achievement along with athletic prowess.
With its introduction in 1915, it became the first honor in intercollegiate competitions to place emphasis on academic success.
After joining the water polo team three weeks before the start of the season in her freshman year, Powell established herself in the program as a two-time captain. She concluded her career at IU with 37 goals, 59 assists and 69 steals.
In her senior campaign, Powell helped lead the Hoosiers to a 13-5 overall record, including a 10-game winning streak to end the season. She netted three goals while notching nine assists and adding eight steals in her senior year.
Powell was awarded Outstanding All-Academic honors in 2017 and 2018 by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches. One year later, she was named to the All-Big Ten Academic team.
Powell was a member of the Hutton Honor College as well as Chi Alpha Sigma, the national college athlete honor society. She was also involved in monthly meetings with IU athletic director Fred Glass as a part of the Athletic Director’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion.
Powell, a Brisbane, Australia, native was planning to return home after graduation and start law schoolthere.
Kleimola, who wrestled at both 197 pounds and heavyweight last season for the Hoosiers, racked up 23 wins over the last two years. In his senior season, Kleimola notched three major decisions along with two pins. He placed on the podium as a runner-up in the Journeyman Classic last year.
Off of the mat, Kleimola made the All-Big Ten Academic team three times. He also volunteered his time as a Hoosier Hero Peer Mentor and was involved with Habitat for Humanity, St. Mark’s, Everybody Plays and Read Across America.
Kleimola, who is from Schererville, Indiana, studied finance at IU and is currently working in that field in Colorado.
More than 1,500 students have earned the award in its history. In 2019, diver Jessica Parratto and basketball player Juwan Morgan were the award recipients for IU.