WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Concordia High School graduate Symone Black was named the women’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year for the indoor season, the conference office announced on Tuesday evening. Black is Purdue’s first winner since 2011 when Dani Bunch picked up the honor. The award is voted on by the conference head coaches.
“It’s a great feeling to be named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year,” Black said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all, it’s a real surprise. I knew I did well at the meet, but I never imagined this. It’s great to see that all of the hard workouts and training we have done are paying off.If you would have told me back in August that I would be Big Ten Freshman of the Year, I would have told you that you were crazy. I was crying trying to get through our hill workouts and (head) Coach (Lonnie) Greene wiped away my tears and promised that I would get through it and that I would be okay. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my mom, dad, sister and Coach Greene.”
Black wrapped up her indoor season with a pair of medals at the Big Ten Championships over the weekend. The freshman from Ft. Wayne, Ind., qualified for the 400-meter dash finals with a time of 54.50 seconds, the fifth-fastest time in the preliminary round. In the finals, despite being boxed in until the home stretch, Black found a small gap along the rail and motored across the finish line shattering the school record along the way. Her time of 53.47 seconds bested the previous record by 0.76 of a second, as she became the first Boilermaker in school history to run a sub-54 second time indoors.
Black’s time was the third-best by a freshman in the country for the season and ranks 35th overall. She was the only freshman in the Big Ten to make the 400m final, and was one of just three underclassmen. Black also tied for the highest individual finish in an event by a freshman woman at the championships. She was one of just three rookies to pick up an individual silver medal.