NewsUSA WrestlingCollegeUSAW

Wrestler Nick Lee is Penn State's Male Athlete of the Year

by Pat Donghia, Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Athletics announced senior wrestler Nick Lee and softball senior pitcher Bailey Parshall have been selected as the 2021-22 Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Lee and Parshall will represent Penn State on the ballot for Big Ten Male and Female Athletes of the Year with honorees from the other 13 conference institutions.

Lee joins a group of nine Nittany Lion wrestlers who have been named Penn State's Male Athlete of the Year a total of 11 times. David Taylor (2013-14) and Bo Nickal (2018-19) went on to win Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year. Parshall is the first softball student-athlete to collect Female Athlete of the Year accolades. Penn State began awarding Athlete of the Year honors in 1991-92.

Nick Lee

Lee became Penn State's first five-time All-American in 2021-22, winning a second-straight individual championship at 141 pounds while leading the Nittany Lions to their ninth NCAA Championship in the last 11 contested years. Lee posted a perfect 22-0 record during his senior+ campaign, grabbing six majors, four technical falls and two pins along the way. He also won his first Big Ten Championship.

A total of 16 of Lee's 22 wins last season were over ranked wrestlers, a remarkable number and testimony to the strength of schedule the Nittany Lion wrestler. He posted six wins over top 10 wrestlers, including two victories over Iowa's Jaydin Eierman (one in Penn State's dual meet victory in Iowa City and one for the Big Ten Championship) and Stanford's Real Woods in the NCAA semifinals. Lee dominated North Carolina's Kizhan Clarke in the NCAA title bout at 141, posting a 10-3 victory. He was one of five Nittany Lions to win NCAA individual titles as Penn State went a perfect 5-0 in the tournament's crowing session.

Lee's 2021-22 accolades are extensive: NCAA Champion (141), Big Ten Champion (141), first-team All-American, first-team All-Big Ten, 2022 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree, 2022 Hodge Trophy finalist, first-team Academic All-Big Ten and first-team NWCA National All-Academic team. Lee helped lead Penn State to yet another Big Ten dual meet championship and a perfect 17-0 record during the season (8-0 in B1G duals).

The Evansville, Indiana native leaves Penn State with a 118-13 career record, including a 55-2 mark in dual meets. He collected 40 majors, 27 tech falls, 18 pins and 226 dual meet points during his five years as a starter for head coach Cael Sanderson. Lee's 188 wins are tied for 14th all-time at Penn State and his 55 dual meet victories is tied for 10th. He also leaves Happy Valley with a 90.8 win percentage (118-13) to rank 10th all-time in school history.

Lee ended his career as a five-time All-American, two-time NCAA Champion, Big Ten Champion, four-time NWCA first-team National All-Academic honoree, four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American (second team in 2021; third team in 2022). Lee also earned a spot on USA Wrestling's national team in 2021 with a third place performance at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the spring of 2021. Lee leaves Penn State with a political science degree but remains in Happy Valley as a part of Penn State's Olympic Regional Training Center and the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club.

Bailey Parshall

Parshall became the first Penn State pitcher to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors since Ashley Esparza in 2005. She was dominant in the circle for the Nittany Lions this season, posting a 22-9 record with a 1.68 ERA and nine shutouts in 212.1 innings. She held opponents to a paltry .199 batting average. She ranks seventh in Division I in innings pitched and shutouts, 16th in wins and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.59), 25th in walks per seven innings (1.05), 30th in strikeouts (211) and 34th in ERA.

Parshall name is sprinkled throughout the Penn State record books after her tremendous season. She tied the school record for wins in a season, equaling the mark set by Kelly McCann in 2001. She also became the third player (fifth occurrence) in Penn State history to have 200 strikeouts in a season, she finished ranked tied for third with Jackie Hill's 2010 performance. Parshall's nine shutouts are tied for third in school history and her 212.1 innings pitched are fourth in season history.

From a career perspective, Parshall is tied for eighth in wins (41), third in strikeouts (607), fifth in shutouts (14), ninth in complete games (44), eighth in innings pitched (559.0), fifth in appearances (125), eighth in starts (79) and third in saves (7) in Penn State history.

The gem of Parshall's season is her perfect game against FIU Feb. 18. The perfect game was the fifth in program history and second to be a seven-inning perfect game. Parshall's perfect effort is the first for Penn State since Missy Beseres had a five-inning perfect game against St. Francis (Pa.) in 2005. In addition, Parshall was named Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week on March 21 after going 4-0 with two complete game shutouts. It was the second Big Ten weekly award of her career with her other honor coming in March 2020. Parshall was also named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team for her efforts. She was the only member of the team to be from a team that did not reach the semifinals.

Parshall graduated in May with her degree in health policy and administration, and will be returning for her COVID year next year while pursuing her master's degree in organizational leadership. She is a member of ADLI and SAAB.

Roman Bravo-Young (wrestling) and Ally Schlegel (women's soccer) were Penn State's 2020-21 honorees.