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Wisconsin athletics: Dana Rettke named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year; Johnny Davis and Rettke named UW Athletes of the Year

This is Rettke’s second time winning the prestigious conference award.

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Wisconsin athletics had a hell of a year and they just received one final award as the cherry on top. UW volleyball legend Dana Rettke was named the 2021-22 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year on Wednesday morning. This is the second time that Rettke has won the award, having also taken home the trophy in the 2019-20 season.

She also makes history as the first Big Ten student-athlete, male or female, ever chosen Big Ten Athlete of the Year in non-consecutive seasons. Rettke is the third two-time recipient of the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year Award and first since Indiana swimmer Lilly King (2017, 2018).

Rettke is the eighth Badgers woman to win the award, joining cross country/track & field runners: Kathy Butler (co-winner in 1997), Suzy Favor (1988, 1989, 1990), Stephanie Herbst (1986) and Cathy Branta (1985). Minnesota wrestler, and US Olympic hero, Gable Steveson won the men’s award this year.

In another announcement that most Wisconsin fans could have predicted, Badgers stars Johnny Davis (men’s basketball) and Rettke (volleyball) were named the 2021-22 Wisconsin Athletes of the Year earlier this week. Davis earned his first athlete of the year award while Rettke picked up her second honor after being named the UW Female Athlete of the Year in 2019-20.

Per a release from UW:

Davis, a 6-foot-5 guard from La Crosse, Wisconsin, had one of the greatest single-season performances in school history, bursting onto the scene his sophomore season as one of the best players in college basketball. A consensus first-team All-American, Davis filled up his trophy case winning the Lute Olson National Player of the Year, Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year, and Big Ten Player of the Year awards.

Davis led the Badgers to a share of the 2022 Big Ten regular-season championship, averaging 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Davis was recently selected 10th overall in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards.

A 6-foot-8 middle blocker, Rettke wrapped up her career by leading the Badgers to their first NCAA national championship in program history and third-straight Big Ten championship in 2021. She was named the 2021 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Player of the Year, the first UW player to receive the award. Rettke also became the first five-time, first-team All-American in AVCA history and wrapped up her career as a five-time, first-team All-Big Ten selection, racking up a school-record 11 Big Ten Player of the Week awards.

As a senior, the Riverside, Illinois, native ranked sixth nationally with a .430 hitting percentage. She led the Badgers with 3.41 kills per set and 1.43 blocks per set, which ranked fifth nationally. For her career, Rettke set UW records for hitting percentage (.422), blocks (751) and points (2,333.0).

“This is a very prestigious honor when you think of how many elite athletes there are in the Big Ten,” volleyball head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “Dana had a season and career that will be remembered for a long time.”

Congratulations to Davis and Rettke on the impressive honors!