Northwestern’s athletic stars to watch in 2022-23


Graphic by Angeli Mittal

Northwestern athletes rank not only among the best in the Big Ten, but also the best in the world.

Charlotte Varnes, Managing Editor

Northwestern athletics is coming off one of its most prolific years in recent history. 

Softball reached the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2007. Lacrosse played in its third-consecutive NCAA semifinal. Field hockey won its first NCAA championship.

With so many dominant programs, many of the Wildcats’ best players aren’t just stars in the Big Ten, but are well-known on the national and international scale as well. Here’s a breakdown of some of NU’s top athletes.

Senior Federico Burdisso, swimming & diving

Few can say they’ve won an Olympic medal and world championship prior to graduating college. Well, Burdisso can. A swimmer for Team Italy, in 2021 Burdisso became the first athlete to medal at the Olympics while enrolled at NU since 1956. He burst onto the Big Ten scene as a freshman, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors and setting multiple school records. Burdisso remained busy this summer, winning a world championship in the 400-meter medley relay. 

Junior Justin Weiss, men’s soccer

A transfer from Colgate, Weiss was an important offensive spark for the Wildcats in 2021. The forward started in all 17 games and led NU in goals and points. His efforts powered the Cats to one of its best finishes in recent years at 6-9-3 — a marked improvement from its 2-8-1 record in the abbreviated spring 2021 campaign. As NU finds its footing under second-year coach Russell Payne, Weiss will certainly play an important role leading the program to new heights in 2022. 

Graduate student Izzy Scane, lacrosse

Few have had a lacrosse season as dominant as Scane’s 2021 run. Scane led the country in goals per game, set the Cats’ single-season and single-game goal records and was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, the highest award in college lacrosse. She spent the fall after the season training with the U.S. national team. After sitting out 2022 with an ACL injury, there’s no doubt Scane will return to ruling the field this season. 

Senior Boo Buie, men’s basketball 

In a program marked by numerous departures, Buie will provide a steady veteran presence. The New York native started in all but one game in 2021-22, averaging 14.1 points and 4.3 assists per game. Buie is especially sharp at the free-throw line, leading the team and ranking fifth in the Big Ten at 79.6%. 

Graduate student Courtney Shaw, women’s basketball

Shaw has been an impact player for NU since the 2019-20 season, when the Wildcats claimed the Big Ten regular-season crown. The forward ranked second on the team in points, points per game and field-goal percentage. Shaw will play an important role as a veteran leader following Veronica Burton’s decision to enter the WNBA Draft.

Junior Peter Skoronski, football

Skoronski has started every game of his NU career, playing a key role on the offensive line. An All-Big Ten pick in 2020 and 2021, Skoronski was the highest-graded freshman in the Big Ten among all positions during the shortened 2020 season. He took over at left tackle from Rashawn Slater — an NFL first-round draft pick who has been a source of advice for Skoronski. The Park Ridge, Illinois, native is widely viewed as a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Junior Maddie Zimmer, field hockey

The Most Outstanding Player of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Zimmer will be a force to reckon with this fall. The midfielder made an instant impact upon arriving in Evanston, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and All-Big Ten honors during the abbreviated spring 2021 season. Hailing from field hockey hotbed Hershey, Pennsylvania, Zimmer has played for Team USA for several years. She captained the USA U-17 field hockey team and now competes for the senior women’s national team.

Graduate student Danielle Williams, softball

Williams was central to the Cats’ return to the Women’s College World Series. The Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Williams recorded 19 strikeouts across 23.1 innings at the Tempe Super Regional to power NU to Oklahoma City. She posted a 2.09 ERA during the 2022 campaign and led the Big Ten in wins, strikeouts and ERA. The California native has been prolific since her arrival in Evanston in 2019 and will be an important veteran leader in 2023.  

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @charvarnes11

Related Stories: 

Cats Corner: It’s Izzy Scane’s world and we’re all just living in it

Field Hockey: Maddie Zimmer and Alia Marshall compete for Team USA

How Northwestern junior Federico Burdisso became an Olympic medalist