COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second-consecutive year, Chase Buchanan, a member of the third-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team, was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year the conference announced Thursday night at the annual awards banquet. Blaz Rola was recognized as Freshman of the Year and Buckeye head coach Ty Tucker earned Coach of the Year for the sixth-straight season.

The Big Ten awards banquet took place on the University of Wisconsin campus. The Badgers are playing host to the 2011 Big Ten Tournament with first-round action taking place earlier Thursday. The Buckeyes received an opening-round bye and will begin their quest for a sixth-consecutive tournament crown at 11 a.m. ET Friday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. Ohio State won the regular-season conference title after going 10-0. Overall, the Scarlet and Gray have posted a 27-2 record.

Joining Buchanan and Rola on the All-Big Ten First team are Matt Allare, Balazs Novak and Ille Van Engelen. Devin McCarthy earned Second Team honors.

Ranked 10th in the nation, Buchanan has compiled a 29-5 record, including a 10-0 mark in the Big Ten. The junior from New Albany, Ohio, has posted 14-1 and 10-1 ledgers at Nos. 1 and 2 singles, respectively, and currently is riding a 12-match win streak. With one more win, Buchanan can join Rola and Allare as Buckeyes to amass 30 wins on the season. In doubles action, Buchanan is 25-8, mostly pairing with Rola at the Nos. 1 and 2 positions. The duo, which is 10th in the nation, currently owns a 15-6 record backed by a 5-0 mark at No. 2. Buchanan was recognized with Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors four times during the spring season for 10 such laurels in his career.

Rola made an immediate impression when he won the Wilson/ITA Regional championship this past fall. The Ptuj, Slovenia, native, who is ranked third in the nation, paces Ohio State with 33 wins (five losses), which includes an 8-1 Big Ten record and 12-1 tally at No. 2 singles. So far, Rola has compiled a 26-7 doubles record. Of note is his 9-0 mark in conference action, as well as his 6-0 record at the No. 2 position. Earlier in the season, Rola was rewarded with conference athlete of the week accolades.

One of three senior captains, Allare garnered his first-career all-conference recognition Thursday. A native of Mason, Ohio, Allare has had a career season, first winning the doubles title at the Wilson/ITA Regional championship with Peter Kobelt and reaching the final of the singles bracket at the same event vs. Rola this past fall. On a 19-match win streak, Allare earned his 100th career singles win March 21 at Pepperdine. Allare owns a 31-3 overall record that is accompanied with an astonishing 16-0 record at No. 4 singles. Additionally, Allare is 7-1 vs. nationally-ranked competition. Allare has compiled a 30-10 doubles record, mostly teaming with Kobelt to form the No. 18 tandem in the country. Together the pair is 22-8 overall, including 13-5 at No. 1 doubles. In all, Allare’s 213 singles and doubles wins are good for fifth in the Ohio State records book.  Allare also was named Ohio State’s Sportsmanship honoree.

Like Allare, Novak will conclude his Buckeye career as a first-time all-conference recipient. Hailing from Budapest, Hungary, Novak also is a senior captain who will finish in the Top 10 at Ohio State in career singles, doubles and combined wins. Novak’s 223 total victories places him fourth all-time, while his 124 singles triumphs are sixth and his doubles wins are eighth. Currently, Novak is 26-6 overall and is one of six Buckeyes who have collected at least 20 wins. Seeing most of his action at the No. 5 spot, Novak is 12-0 at that position. A 27-7 doubles record by Novak was bolstered by a 10-0 ledger in the conference. Novak mostly paired with Rola during the conference stretch and the duo went 8-0. Novak’s other two conference doubles wins were with Van Engelen.

Traveling to Columbus from the Netherlands, Van Engelen is another freshman who has made an impact during the 2011 season. Overall, Van Engelen is 16-6 and went undefeated in the Big Ten with a 7-0 record. Van Engelen has seen limited doubles action, but has recorded a 5-1 mark.  

Earning his first conference selection, McCarthy boasts a 27-5 record and concluded the Big Ten schedule with a 9-1 tally. Splitting majority of his time between Nos. 5 and 6 singles, McCarthy is 10-2 and 9-0, respectively. With his 17-6 doubles record, McCarthy is 5-0 at No. 2, teaming with Novak most of the season.

A season of continued streaks, the 2011 campaign also has been a season of personal triumphs for Tucker. In the 100th year of Ohio State men’s tennis, Tucker not only led the Buckeyes to their 1,000th victory, but he garnered his 300th career win as head coach. Tucker’s record is 319-53, while the Buckeye overall record is 1,015-694-10.

First Team All-Big Ten*
Santiago Gruter, Indiana
Jeremy Langer, Indiana
JASON JUNG, Michigan
EVAN KING, Michigan
Rok Bonin, Minnesota
Matt Allare, Ohio State
Balazs Novak, Ohio State
BLAZ ROLA, Ohio State
Ille Van Engelen, Ohio State

Second Team All-Big Ten
Johnny Hamui, Illinois
Josh MacTaggart, Indiana
Marc Bruche, Iowa
Josh Graves, Northwestern
Devin McCarthy, Ohio State
Mark Kovacs, Purdue
Szymon Tatarczyk, Purdue

Unanimous selections in CAPS.
* – Additional honorees due to a tie.

Athlete of the Year: Chase Buchanan, Ohio State
Freshman of the Year: Blaz Rola, Ohio State
Coach of the Year: Ty Tucker, Ohio State

Connor Roth, Illinois
Stephen Vogl, Indiana
Will Vasos, Iowa
Shaun Bernstein, Michigan
Clark Richardson, Michigan State
Tobias Wernet, Minnesota
Andrew McCarthy, Northwestern
Matt Allare, Ohio State
Bryan Welnetz, Penn State
Szymon Tatarczyk, Purdue
Marek Michalicka, Wisconsin