Ohio State’s Athletes of the Year: Football’s Justin Fields; Track & Field champion Adelaide Aquilla

June 17, 2021

They will now be in the running for Big Ten Male and Female Athlete of the Year honors

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Record-setting quarterback Justin Fields (football) and NCAA and Big Ten shot put champion Adelaide Aquilla (track and field) are Ohio State’s 2021 Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Both will now be placed on the ballots for Big Ten Athlete of the Year awards, with the winners to be announced by the league on July 13.

Fields is the 12th football player to win Ohio State’s Male Athlete of the Year and the third in the last three years (Dwayne Haskins won the award in 2018-19 and Chase Young in 2019-20). Aquilla is the seventh women’s track and field athlete to be named Ohio State’s Female Athlete of the Year. Her teammate, Sade Olatoye, was the last one in 2018-19.

Aquilla has been the dominant shot put thrower in the Big Ten Conference and nationally in 2021. The junior communications and hospitality management major won her second consecutive Big Ten Conference indoor shot put championship in March. She then won the national championship at the NCAA indoor championships. The Rocky River, Ohio, native sent the shot a school-record 18.12m / 59-5 ½ to win the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, which were held in Fayetteville, Ark.

Those efforts earned Aquilla the Big Ten Conference’s indoor field athlete of the championships and its field athlete of the year honors.

She repeated outdoors. First, Aquilla won the Big Ten outdoor shot put championship, breaking the Big Ten championships record twice with her final winning throw of 19.12m / 62-8 3/4 topping her own school mark and personal best by nearly three feet. Two weeks ago she won the NCAA national championship, launching her final throw of the competition 18.98m / 62-3 ¼ to secure her second national championship.

And once again, Aquilla earned the Big Ten’s top honors, being named its outdoor field athlete of the championships and its field athlete of the year honors.

Aquilla is currently in Eugene, Ore., prepping and training for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Fields, who led Ohio State to a 20-2 record and back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances, capped off his Buckeye career by being named the Big Ten Conference Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year in 2020.

After guiding the Buckeyes to their fourth consecutive Big Ten championship, he saved his most memorable performance for the Allstate Sugar Bowl and College Football Playoff semifinal vs. Clemson. He completed 22 of 28 passes for 385 yards and a Sugar Bowl-record six touchdown passes – all while playing through an injury suffered in the second quarter – as Ohio State topped the second-ranked Tigers 49-28 to earn a spot in the CFP National Championship Game.

Over his 22-game career, Fields threw for 5,373 yards with 63 touchdowns compared to only nine interceptions. His 70.2 completion percentage in 2020 was a school record and he has the school record in passing efficiency (179.1) as well as the top two single season efficiency marks: 181.4 in 2019 and 175.6 in 2020.

Fields became Ohio State’s 22nd winner of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football in 2020, which is voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches and is awarded to the conference’s best player. He also finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting. In May, Fields was selected 11th overall in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

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