Shannon Smith wins Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year award

Kris Anne Bonifacio

Northwestern student Shannon Smith added another award to her list for 2011 on Monday, when she was announced the winner of the Big Ten Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year Award.

The award, coupled with the Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year, is given to the two standout athletes from the Big Ten by the Big Ten Network. David Boudia from Purdue’s diving team won the male athlete award this year.

Smith led the women’s lacrosse team to their sixth national trophy on May 29, scoring four goals in the championship game against Maryland. The attacker also won the Tewaaraton Award – one of the highest awards in lacrosse and essentially the sport’s Heisman award – and the Lacrosse Honda Sports award earlier this month.

Smith joins the ranks of only three other NU female athletes to win the award. In 1984, softball’s Lisa Ishikawa won the award, and two-sport athlete Jennifer Averill won it in 1987. The most recent winner from NU was lacrosse’s Hannah Nielsen, one of Smith’s former teammates, who won in 2008.

Smith was also named MVP of the NCAA Championship and the MVP of the American Lacrosse Conference Championship this year. The rising senior from West Babylon, N.Y., will return for her senior season next spring.