COLUMBUS, Ohio – This year, five men and four women are finalists for the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor at Ohio State. For the men, Jacob Buchanan (rifle), Robbie Delagrange (pistol), Reese Devilbiss (volleyball), Domenik Koch (fencing) and Kollin Moore (wrestling) are the finalists, and the women’s finalists are Olivia Aepli (gymnastics), Gabriella Cecchini (fencing), Jincy Dunne (ice hockey) and Anjali Fernandes (rowing).
The Big Ten Conference’s most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.” Big Ten schools currently feature almost 9,500 student-athletes, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 100-plus years of the Medal of Honor, almost 1,400 student-athletes have earned this distinction.
A native of Dublin, Ohio, Olivia Aepli was named to the All-Big Ten Championship Team twice and earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors two times. In 2018, she tied for first place on uneven bars at the Big Ten Championships. At the 2019 Championships, she earned a spot on the all-championship team on vault. As a senior, she appeared in all nine meets and won six event titles, including three on uneven bars. The team captain appeared in all 13 meets for the Buckeyes as a junior, winning six event titles, and competed on vault, bars and floor at NCAA Regionals. As a sophomore, Aepli competed in every meet for the Buckeyes and had nine podium finishes. She also competed in all 12 meets as a freshman. Aepli graduated in May with a degree in marketing. She is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete.
A member of the rifle team and sport industry major, Jacob Buchanan, from Spring, Texas, reached All-America status in both air rifle and smallbore. He consistently competed as a member of the ‘counting’ lineup from freshman year on. Buchanan graduated as Ohio State’s all-time three-gun aggregate high scorer after firing a 1,181 on Jan. 21, 2018 at TCU. The sport industry major crushed it in the classroom as well, earning CRCA Scholastic All-America, Academic All-Big Ten and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete recognition on multiple occasions.
Fencer Gabriela Cecchini, from Porto Alegre, Brazil, was a three-time All-American, with two second team accolades, and had two Top 10 finishes at NCAA Championships. She was a three-time NCAA qualifier, posting Top 5 finishes at NCAA Regionals each time she competed. Cecchini finished eighth at the 2018 NCAA Championships and ninth the following year; in 2020, she earned a return trip but was unable to compete when the championships were canceled. The team’s foil captain, she earned First Team All-Midwest Conference honors twice after finishing as runner-up in both 2019 and 2020. She was a member of three MFC team overall championships along with a women’s team title in 2020 when overall teams were not recognized. Cecchini graduated with a double major in economics and political science and a minor in world literatures in Spring 2020. She earned Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Academic All-Big Ten and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete accolades. In addition, Cecchini received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for the Buckeye fencing program in 2019.
A four-year member of the pistol team, Robbie Delagrange, who hails from Hartville, Ohio, was named a Second Team All-American in standard pistol after garnering honorable mention accolades during his junior campaign. He contributed a Top 30 finish in free pistol to aid Ohio State’s national championship performance in 2018. Delagrange followed up the team title by participating in a service-learning trip to Costa Rica collaborated by OSU Athletics and GVI. The Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, majoring in criminology and criminal justice, has routinely been named to the Academic All-Big Ten and OSU Scholar-Athlete lists.
Reese Devilbiss, from Mount Wolf, Pa., was a member of the men’s volleyball team. An All-MIVA First Team honoree, he played 96 matches, logging 274 sets of action during his career. He contributed 519 points as a Buckeye by accumulating 430 kills, 78 blocks (eight solo) and 46 service aces. Devilbiss kept busy, also serving as a primary passer with over 1,000 serves received. The health sciences major added Academic All-Big Ten and MIVA Academic All-Conference accolades in every eligible season as well.
A native of O’Fallon, Mo., and defenseman on the women’s ice hockey team, Jincy Dunne ended her career as a three-time AHCA All-American, with two first team accolades. She is the fourth defensive player in the past decade to be a first or second team All-American three times. She is one of just two Buckeyes to earn First Team All-WCHA honors three times and received the league’s defensive player of the year honor as both a junior and senior. Dunne became the only Buckeye to be named First Team All-USCHO after being selected Second Team and Third Team her junior and sophomore seasons. Dunne finished her career with 99 points, putting her third all-time among Buckeye blueliners. A WCHA Scholar-Athlete, Academic All-Big Ten honoree and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, Dunne earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in Spring 2019 and is enrolled in the sports coaching master’s program.
Perrysburg, Ohio, native Anjali Fernandes is a four-time Ohio State Scholar Athlete, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a 2019 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar as an English major. As the coxswain for the Buckeyes’ 1V8, she helped the boat to a second-place finish at the 2019 Big Ten Championships and a sixth-place finish at the 2019 NCAA Championships. In addition to several Big Ten and Ohio State academic awards, she also was named a 2019 Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Scholar Athlete and her efforts on the water earned her CRCA Pocock Second Team All-America recognition.
Domenik Koch, a fencer from Dormagen, Germany, ended his Buckeye career as a four-time All-American, with two first team honors (2018, 2019) and as the eighth Ohio State men’s fencer to earn four All-America laurels. He posted three Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, winning two bronze medals, and was headed for a fourth NCAA appearance when the 2020 championships were canceled. As a senior, he was a First Team All-Midwest Fencing Conference selection after placing third at the conference championships. He earned Second Team All-Midwest Region accolades with a third place finish at NCAA Regionals. He was part of three MFC team overall championships along with a men’s team title in 2020 when overall teams were not recognized. The men’s saber squad won the weapon title all four of his years as well. The team’s saber captain, Koch earned his bachelor’s degree in finance in Spring 2019 and enrolled in graduate school in corporate finance, earning his master’s degree in Spring 2020. He was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Wrestler Kollin Moore, a native of Burbank, Ohio, finished as the Dan Hodge Trophy runner-up in his final season after sitting atop the 197-pound national rankings from start to finish. He garnered a 27-0 season record and was the NCAA Championships top seed. Moore ranks eighth in Ohio State history with a .909 career winning percentage (110-11). He is a three-time Big Ten champion and reached the NCAA finals in 2019. In the classroom, Moore earned a bachelor’s degree in business operations management and is closing in on completion of a kinesiology master’s degree during his five years as a Buckeye. He picked up Academic All-Big Ten and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete honors as well.