ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced today (Thursday, June 18) that senior wrestler Steve Luke (Massillon, Ohio/Perry HS) and women’s track and field senior Tiffany Ofili (Ypsilanti, Mich./Ypsilanti HS) have been selected as the 2008-09 Male and Female Athletes of the Year. The pair was also nominated for the Big Ten Conference Suzy Favor Female and Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year awards.
The first Michigan wrestler to earn the school’s prestigious Athlete of the Year honor, Luke was perfect in his final collegiate season, posting a flawless 32-0 record en route to the NCAA 174-pound title. The Wolverine captain, who held the nation’s No. 1 ranking at 174 pounds for the entirety of the 2008-09 season, became the 20th NCAA champion in program history with an 8-4 decision over Central Michigan’s seventh-seeded Mike Miller in the championship finale at the NCAA Tournament. The victory netted Luke his third consecutive All-America citation at 174 pounds; he placed second as a junior (2008) and sixth as a sophomore (2007).
Luke became the seventh Wolverine wrestler to post a perfect season en route to an NCAA title and first to accomplish the feat since two-time champion Jarrett Hubbard (1971-74) did so in 1974. The effort improved Luke’s career record to 117-24, placing him 22nd among Michigan’s all-time winningest wrestlers.
Named the Wolverines’ male recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Luke captured three straight conference 174-pound titles, becoming the ninth U-M wrestler in program history to achieve the feat. Luke ended his career with a 14-2 career record at the Big Ten Championships, including a 10-0 mark over his last three seasons. His 14 wins are the most for a Michigan wrestler at the conference tournament in the history of the program.
A Biology major off the mat, Luke was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten and three-time NWCA All-Academic selection and five-time recipient of the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award. He will begin pharmacy school later this summer.
A repeat selection as Michigan’s Female Athlete of the Year, Ofili capped her extraordinary U-M career by winning her third straight 100-meter hurdles title, helping lead the Wolverines to their third consecutive top-10 finish (seventh) at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The national championship was the fifth overall crown for Ofili, who also captured titles in the 60-meter hurdles during the past two seasons indoors. In addition, Ofili also earned four Big Ten titles during her senior season — indoor 60-meter hurdles and outdoor 100-meter hurdles, long jump and 4×100-meter relay — giving her nine total conference crowns in her career.
Michigan’s first-ever Honda Sports Award nominee for women’s track and field, Ofili was named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Great Lakes Region Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season. She is also a two-time Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Year honoree (2008-09) and earned All-Big Ten first team honors six times. She was named Michigan’s female recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2009.
The school-record holder in the 60-meter dash, 60-meter hurdles and 100-meter hurdles, Ofili will be competing at the USA Track and Field Championships (Thu-Sun., June 25-28) in Eugene, Ore., attempting to claim a spot on the U.S. team for the Track and Field World Championships in Berlin, Germany, held Aug. 15-23.
A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and four-time recipient of the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award, Ofili recently completed her first year in U-M’s prestigious School of Pharmacy.