The Big Ten Medal of Honor is the conference's most exclusive award and 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 years of the Medal of Honor, almost 1,400 student-athletes have earned this distinction.
A native of Arnold, Md., Niedermeier spent five seasons at Maryland, guiding the Terps to five consecutive conference tournament titles during that time. He was tagged Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016 after leading Maryland to a remarkable 18-1-2 record on the year, including a program-record 15-game winning streak. Niedermeier was also named an NSCAA Academic All-American during his senior campaign.
“It is such an honor to receive this award from the Big Ten Conference,” Niedermeier said. “I will cherish my time here at Maryland always. I want to thank my coaches, teammates, support staff and professors for helping me achieve this prestigious honor.”
Niedermeier was named Big Ten Most Valuable Defensive Player of the Big Ten Tournament in 2015 and was a two-time Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner. He guided the Terps to a school-record five consecutive shutouts during his final season in College Park.
A two-time captain and Ellicott City, Md., native, Stukenberg has started for the Terps in the midfield since her freshman season. She has helped guide Maryland to three straight NCAA Championship games, two national titles and three conference titles so far. This season, Stukenberg has led Maryland to a 19-0 record and the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. The midfielder was named a Tewaaraton nominee and unanimously All-Big Ten, and in her four seasons at Maryland, the Terps have compiled an 85-3 overall record.
“It's such an incredible honor to be considered alongside the amazing student-athletes who have earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor,” Stukenberg said. “Maryland has given me the opportunity to pursue both science and lacrosse, and I am so thankful to the coaches, professors, teammates and staff who have helped me. I'm so proud to be a Terp and to represent the university I love.”
Stukenberg holds a 4.0 grade-point average as a biological sciences major and has won the last two NCAA Elite 90 Awards. She serves as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee secretary. Last season, she earned IWLCA Second Team All-American and CoSIDA Third Team Academic All-American honors.
“Cody and Zoe are outstanding student-athletes who have made remarkable contributions to our University in the classroom, on the field and in the community,” said director of athletics Kevin Anderson. “Both of them are exceptional leaders who have been tremendous in the classroom and led their teams to unprecedented success. We are extremely proud of Cody and Zoe for receiving the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor and are excited about the bright futures that lie ahead.”
"I would like to congratulate Zoe and Cody on this very prestigious honor,” Dr. Nick Hadley, faculty athletics representative, said. “They have continued to uphold the standard of excellence established in Maryland Athletics.”
The Big Ten, the nation's oldest collegiate conference, is commemorating the 103rd anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2017.