Reprinted with permission from mgoblue.com
The University of Michigan Athletic Department presented the Big Ten Medal of Honor to its 2015-16 recipients at its annual Student-Athlete Recognition Celebration on Tuesday evening (April 12), with seniors Mason Ferlic (St. Paul, Minn./Mounds Park Academy) and Shannon Scavelli (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Lakeland Shrub Oak) receiving the honor based on their proficiency in scholarship and athletics.
The 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 more than 100 years of the Medal of Honor, almost 1,400 student-athletes have earned this distinction.
Men's track and field member Ferlic is the male recipient of the prestigious award. He is the 20th men's track and field athlete at Michigan to receive the honor with the last being Jack Greenlee in 2013.
Ferlic, an aerospace engineering master's student, was a USTFCCCA Academic All-American in 2014 and a Capital One Academic All-America second team (2015) and third team (2014) honoree. In 2015, he was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. He has earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors during the cross country (2014-15) and track and field seasons (2013-14-15) and has accumulated six total Academic All-Big Ten accolades.
On the track, Ferlic is a four-time USTFCCCA All-American, including first team honors in 2016 as a member of Michigan's first All-America distance medley relay (DMR) team in nearly a decade (2007). Earlier this year, Ferlic ran the anchor leg of the DMR group that broke U-M's 12-year-old program record long held by the 2004 national champion relay team. He owns a pair of Big Ten titles in the indoor 5,000-meter run (2015-16) and another in the outdoor 3,000-meter steeplechase (2015), to go with six Big Ten Athlete of the Week awards, one national Athlete of the Week accolade, three All-Great Lakes Region honors (2013-14-15) and three All-Big Ten recognitions (first team; 2014-15, second team; 2013). Last fall, he helped the team to its most successful season in nearly 20 years by leading the Wolverines to their first Big Ten Title since 1998 and the program's first Big Ten Regional title sweep since 1997, led by his individual title at the Great Lakes Regional.
The female recipient of the award is Scavelli from field hockey. She is the first field hockey player to earn the award and joins her head coach Marcia Pankratz (Iowa, 1986) on the prestigious list. A team captain and four-year starter for the Wolverines, Scavelli is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten and NFHCA Academic Squad honoree and two two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Scavelli will graduate with a bachelor's degree in psychology this month and has earned a postgraduate scholarship.
On the field, Scavelli ranked among U-M's leading scorers this season with a career-best nine goals, three assists and 22 assists. She boasted three game-winners, including the lone goal against No. 9 Stanford, as well as the late game-tying tally at No. 16 Northwestern. She was named to the NHFCA All-West Region first team, adding to her 2014 second team nod, and All-Big Ten first team. She played in 84 games over her four-year career, starting 71 on the forward line, and compiled 24 career goals, 10 assists and 58 points.
The Big Ten Medal of Honor was the first award in intercollegiate athletics to demonstrate support for the educational emphasis placed on athletics. It was acclaimed throughout the nation, and in particular by the NCAA "as one of the significant gestures yet made in college sports." The Big Ten Medal of Honor was expanded in 1982 to include one female student-athlete from each institution.