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Seven Ohio State student-athletes picked up Freshman of the Year conference honors in the 2008-09 season

COLUMBUS, Ohio In the 2008-09 season, Ohio State rookies showed they were up to the task of transitioning their game to the college level. In all, seven Buckeyes not only garnered the trust of their own coaches but claimed the respect of coaches from around their respective leagues as they earned freshman of the year honors.

Headlining the string of outstanding first-year Ohio State student-athletes were quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the Big Ten Conference’s 2009 Freshman of the Year in football, and guards William Buford and Samantha Prahalis, Big Ten Rookies of the Year in men’s and women’s basketball, respectively.

Take a look at the credentials these young Bucks have collected in just one year as we all look forward to what they bring to the table next season.

William Buford, Men’s basketball
William Buford was selected as the 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year in men’s basketball, the second Buckeye to earn the award in the last three years. Buford averaged 11.3 points a game as a rookie just behind Evan Turner’s team leading 17.3 ppg. Buford led all Big Ten freshmen with 12.6 points per game in conference games and was No. 13 overall in league-game scoring. Among Ohio State freshmen all-time, Buford rates No. 3 in 3-point field goals made (43), 3-point field goal percentage (.361/43-119) and No. 8 in both points scored (372) and field goals made (142) as a rookie.

Along with classmate B.J. Mullens, Buford was selected to the 2009 Big Ten All-Freshman team as well.

Samantha Prahalis, Women’s basketball
Samantha Prahalis
brought passion, enthusiasm and energy to the floor every night for the Buckeyes in leading Ohio State to a record-tying fifth-consecutive Big Ten championship, a tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16. The Commack, N.Y., native started all 35 games and led the Big Ten in assists with 5.8 assists-per-game to rank 15th among all NCAA Division I players. She led all Big Ten freshmen in scoring, averaging 10.2 points per game and set an Ohio State freshman record with 203 assists, which included a season-high 13 against North Carolina.

Prahalis saved her best for last when she scored a season-high 23 points and added seven assists in the NCAA tournament first round win over Sacred Heart. She averaged 16.6 points in three NCAA tournament games overall and was named to the Berkeley Regional All-Tournament team.

Terrelle Pryor, Football
Terrelle Pryor
sprang on to the national stage in year one, helping the Buckeyes to a fourth-consecutive Big Ten championship, a win over Michigan and a BSC bowl appearance. He became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Buckeyes since Art Schlichter in 1978. The Jeannette, Pa., native was 8-1 as a starter, completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,311 yards and 12 touchdowns with an efficiency rating of 146.50 that led the Big Ten. He also used his dynamic athletic ability on the ground, rushing for 631 yards and six scores.

In his first start against Troy, he threw four touchdown passes (an Ohio State freshman record) and rushed for 66 yards. But his defining moment came on the road at Wisconsin in front of a hostile crowd in primetime when he marched the Buckeyes on a game-winning 80-yard drive in the final six minutes, capped off by his 11-yard touchdown run that sealed the win. He also caught a touchdown pass in the Fiesta Bowl against Texas.

Vicky Villanueva, Women’s golf
In April, Vicky Villanueva, a native of Chacabuco, Argentina, became the first Ohio State Big Ten Freshman of the Year award winner since Kristen White received the award 2002 and the sixth Buckeye golfer to earn the award overall. She had a 77.59 stroke average in 27 rounds this season and three finishes in the Top 15, including two in the Top 10. Villanueva concluded the Big Ten championships in a tie for 12th and followed with a season-low round of 72 during the NCAA Central Regional at the Scarlet Course.

She missed just one event during her rookie year, instead traveling to Australia to represent her home country while playing in the 2008 World Amateur Team Championship.

Philip Onorato, Men’s gymnastics
Coming in as one of the nation’s top recruits, Philip Onorato was voted the 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year in April after turning in the best all-around performance by a rookie at the conference championships. The Plano, Texas, native finished sixth in the all-around to earn First Team All-Big Ten honors, as well as becoming just the sixth Buckeye to earn the rookie of the year award and the first since senior teammateJake Bateman was the honoree in 2006.

At the league event finals, Onorato only narrowly missed capturing the rings and vault event titles, finishing second on both.

Taylor Jones, Women’s gymnastics
At the conference championships in March, Taylor Jones was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-Big Ten selection after posting a 39.100 to finish second for Ohio State in the all-around. On floor, Jones notched her event high for the night with a 9.875. She claimed a 9.80 on vault, a 9.725 on beam and a 9.70 on bars. Throughout the 2009 season, Jones had led the Buckeyes on floor, vault and in the all-around.

Alayna Markwordt, Women’s lacrosse
Woodbine, Md., native Alayna Markwordt was selected as the American Lacrosse Conference Rookie of the Year and second-team all-conference honoree in April, becoming the second-consecutive Buckeye to earn the honor after Maghan Beaudrault nabbed the award in 2008. In her first season, Markwordt helped Ohio State to its best start in program history, a 9-1 ledger, scoring two or more points the first nine wins, including a record-tying 11 points vs. conference-foe Johns Hopkins March 7. For her effort, against the Blue Jays, Markwordt was featured in the “Faces In a Crowd” section of Sports Illustrated.

On the season, she started all 17 Buckeye contests and finished second on the squad in scoring with 45 goals and 28 assists for 73 points. Markwordt finished ranked fifth in the league scoring, averaging 4.42 points a game and fourth in assists per game (1.59). She was a three-time ALC Rookie of the Week selection while also earning ALC Offensive Player of the Week once.

Additional Ohio State 2008-09 rookie honors of note:
Field hockey
After sitting out last season with an injury, Aisling Coyle came out strong in her rookie year to earn Second Team All-Big Ten honors in 2008. The midfielder from Renfrewshire, Scotland, started all 19 games and totaled 17 points on five goals and seven assists. On the year, she scored three gamewinning goals to tie for second overall in the Big Ten.

Football
Center Michael Brewster was named a 2009 consensus Freshman All-American after just one year on the job.

Men’s hockey
Defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Zac Dalpe were voted to the CCHA All-Rookie Team in March, while forward Ian Boots was an honorable mention choice. Bartkowski and Dalpe became the first Buckeyes to earn a spot on the all-rookie first team since Tom Fritsche in 2005. Bartkowski, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., played in 41-of-42 games in his first year, with five goals, 15 assists and 20 points, along with a +12 mark. Three of his goals came on the power play while one stood as the gamewinner. Bartkowski was a two-time CCHA Rookie of the Week (Oct. 26, Jan. 19).

Dalpe, a native of Paris, Ontario, was a finalist for the conference rookie of the year honor after tallying 13 goals, 12 assists and 25 points in 37 games this year. In CCHA games only, Dalpe had nine goals, nine assists and 18 points, ranking third in the league in rookie goals and fourth in freshman points and 20th in goals among all players. He was named CCHA Rookie of the Week three times (Oct. 19, Nov. 10, Feb. 9). Dalpe had a point in 19 games, with a +1 or better mark in 14, including six-consecutive.

Akwesasne, Ontario, native Boots had a 9-16-25 line, along with a +13 mark this season while playing in 32 games.

Women’s Soccer
Paige Maxwell, a forward from Medina, Ohio, was voted onto the Big Ten All-Freshman squad in November, becoming the fifth Buckeye rookie to make the team is as many seasons. Maxwell also picked up a national honor as one of two Big Ten freshmen to be named a TopDrawerSoccer.com all-rookie second-team selection. In 2008, she led the Buckeyes with eight goals and 18 points and she tied for the team lead with 19 shots on goal. Maxwell scored gamewinning goals this season against Northwestern and Iowa. In the Ohio State-Iowa contest at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium (Oct. 17), Maxwell tied the program record with three goals in the 3-2 Buckeye win.

Men’s soccer
The Big Ten Conference named Joshua Breto and Dave Tiemstra unanimous selections to the All-Freshman Team in November. Breto, a forward from Delray Beach, Fla., saw action in all 21 Ohio State games while earning four starts. On the season, Breto chipped in two goals, both gamewinners, and three assists for seven points while placing 16 shots on goal.

Tiemstra, a native of Clarendon Hills, Ill., started for the Scarlet and Gray on defense in all 21 games. The 6-foot-2 rookie notched two goals off of corner kicks, including one gamewinner. In 2008, he helped man the Buckeye defense that gave up more than one goal in only four contests and recorded seven shutouts.

Softball
Alicia Herron
was named a second-team All-Big Ten honoree in May. As a freshman, Herron has snapped the rookie homer mark with 14 this season and stands in fifth with a team-leading 48 RBI, including a seven-run performance against Indiana earlier this year that tied the single-game record. After knocking in two homeruns during NCAA Regional tournament play, the California native earned a spot on the All-Midwest team and is now eligible for All-America consideration.

Men’s track and field
Running a torrid final leg of the victorious Ohio State 4x400m rely, Thomas Murdaugh earned first-team All-Big Ten honors May 17 at home in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The freshman from Dublin, Ohio, overtook Illinois All-American Gakologelwang Masheto to give the Buckeyes the victory in a regional qualifying time of 3:09.61. The Illini finished second in 3:09.68.

Also running in the 400m dash, Murdaugh finished second at the Big Ten championships, crossing the line in a personal-record time of 46.26. The Buckeye freshman battled Masheto throughout the race, as the two pulled away from the rest of the field over the final 100. Masheto had just enough in the tank to hold off Murdaugh, as the UI senior won the race with a Big Ten season best time of 46.24.

Women’s track and field
Freshman Shaniqua McGinnis ran a spirited final leg to win the league title for Ohio State in the 4x400m relay and earn first-team All-Big Ten honors May 17 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The win was Ohio State’s only title on the weekend, as the Buckeyes squeaked by Illinois at the wire with a regional qualifying time of 3:38.33.

Men’s volleyball
Mik Berzins
, a libero from Brinklow, Md., was the lone freshman from Ohio State to make the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association second-team all-conference selection. Berzins finished second in the conference in digs per game with a 2.85 average while posting a .989 serve reception percentage in conference play.

Fantastic Freshmen By State
U.S.
California

Alicia Herron, softball

Florida
Michael Brewster, football
Joshua Breto, men’s soccer

Illinois
Dave Tiemstra, men’s soccer

Maryland
Mik Berzins, men’s volleyball
Alayna Markwordt, women’s lacrosse

New York
Samantha Prahalis, women’s basketball

Ohio
William Buford, men’s basketball
Paige Maxwell, women’s soccer
Thomas Murdaugh, men’s track and field
Shaniqua McGinnis, women’s track and field

Oklahoma
Taylor Jones, women’s gymnastics

Pennsylvania
Terrelle Pryor, football
Matt Bartkowski, men’s hockey

Texas
Philip Onorato, men’s gymnastics

Argentina
Vicky Villanueva, women’s golf

Canada
Ontario

Ian Boots, men’s hockey
Zac Dalpe, men’s hockey

Scotland
Aisling Coyle, field hockey