WCIA — Tristyn Nowlin and Mike Carr won the 2021 Big Ten Medal of Honor for Illinois Tuesday night. The conference’s most prestigious honor is awarded to one graduating male athlete and one graduating female athlete from each league school every year.
Nowlin finished her career with a 73.40 scoring average, the best career mark in Fighting Illini history. She was a five-time All-Big Ten selection – highlighted by first-team honors in 2020 when she recorded the second-lowest single-season stroke average in school history (72.58) – along with four second-team accolades. Nowlin won two tournaments as an Illini, capturing medalist honors at the 2018 Cardinal Cup and 2019 Schooner Fall Classic.
Nowlin is a four-time academic All-Big Ten selection, WGCA All-American Scholar and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Nowlin graduated with a kinesiology degree and minor in psychology, and is on track to earn a master’s degree in recreation, sport and tourism in August.
“I am immensely honored to be included with some of the most astonishing and talented athletes in Illinois and Big Ten history,” Nowlin said. “I want to thank every person who has been a part of this journey, directly and indirectly. I have an enormous amount of pride for the University of Illinois, and I’m grateful for the platform it has provided to share and inspire others.”
Carr is a two-time team captain and two-time NCAA qualifier, wrestling at 141 pounds at the national meet in both 2018 and 2019. He was second on the team with 20 wins in 2018 and placed runner-up at the Big Ten championships at 141 pounds as the only freshman to make the conference title match. Carr has recorded a total of 39 career victories and will return to the Fighting Illini next season, taking advantage of the additional year of eligibility due to COVID-19.
Carr is a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, NWCA Academic All-American and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Carr has already earned two degrees: a bachelor’s in chemistry and master’s in bioengineering. He is now pursuing a second master’s degree in nuclear, plasma and radiological engineering with plans to enroll in medical school after concluding his wrestling career.
“This is a great honor, but it’s not the time for me to reflect because I’ve got more that I want to accomplish. That’s been my mindset since deciding to come back next year,” Carr said. “I have goals I want to achieve in wrestling, and I take my academic coursework seriously and still need to finish my nuclear engineering degree. The point of balancing all this is to one day be a successful surgeon. But it’s all about setting goals, and then putting in the work each day to achieve them. The University of Illinois has given me the opportunity to do that.”