Penn State Names Its Athletes of the Year

Wrestler Aaron Brooks and softball player Bridget Nemeth were the top Nittany Lions in 2023-24.
Penn State Nittany Lions wrestler Aaron Brooks celebrates after winning the 197-pound title at the 2024 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Penn State Nittany Lions wrestler Aaron Brooks celebrates after winning the 197-pound title at the 2024 NCAA Wrestling Championships. / Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State recognized a four-time NCAA wrestling champion and the Big Ten's freshman of the year in softball as its 2023-24 Athletes of the Year. Aaron Brooks capped his final season at Penn State by becoming Penn State wrestling's second four-time NCAA wrestling champion. Freshman Bridget Nemeth continued Brooks' success, becoming Penn State softball's first individual award-winner in more than 30 years.

Brooks punctuated one of the great seasons in Penn State wrestling history by winning the 197-pound title at the 2024 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Kansas City. Brooks followed teammate Carter Starocci in becoming the Nittany Lions' first and second four-time champions.

Brooks won the Hodge Trophy as the nation's top collegiate wrestler after going 22-0 with six pins and 11 technical falls. He won 20 of his 22 bouts with bonus points. Brooks helped the Penn State to a perfect dual-meet season and its 11th NCAA team title in 13 tournament. He was named the most dominant wrestler of the NCAA Championships and the outstanding wrestler of the Big Ten Championships. Brooks punctuated his season by defeating former Penn State star David Taylor at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials to earn a trip to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Nemeth led Penn State softball to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 13 years. She set numerous school records in earning Big Ten freshman-of-the-year honors and was named to two Freshman All-America Teams.

Nemeth became the first Penn State softball player to win a Big Ten individual award and the first to win any conference award since Nan Sichler in 1988. Nemeth was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten pick after compiling a 23-7 record on the mound. She set the program's single-season school record for victories and totaled 202 strikeouts, becoming just the fourth Penn State pitcher with at least 200 strikeouts.

Penn State softball went 35-20 behind Nemeth and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. Penn State went 12-11 in Big Ten play, marking the first time the program has finished above .500 in the conference for three consecutive seasons.

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AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich.

Mark Wogenrich


Mark Wogenrich is Editor and Publisher of AllPennState, the site for Penn State news on SI's FanNation Network. He has covered Penn State sports for more than two decades across three coaching staffs and three Rose Bowls.