|Steven Holcomb, Gene Fullmer, and Utah’s athletes, Olympians and Paralympians honored with a celebration including
special guest Shaun White
|Salt Lake City, UT, April 19, 2018 – Eleven of Utah’s most accomplished athletes and coaches for the 2017 calendar year were honored Wednesday evening at the 2018 Governor’s State of Sport Awards, hosted by the Utah Sports Commission and presented by Zions Bank.
"This is one of my favorite nights of the year because I am an avid sports fan," said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. "I’m consistently impressed by the athleticism and dedication to excellence shown by athletes who compete all across the globe and who call Utah home."
The event also paid tribute to two respected Utah athletes: American bobsledder Steven Holcomb and boxer Gene Fullmer, both posthumously honored with a Legends Award. Special recognition was also given to long time Utah Sports Commission board member, David B. Winder.
This year’s event featured the Lewis Feild Bareback Riding Award, a tribute to the late PRCA Hall of Famer Lewis Feild. The award was presented to Tim O’Connell, who was the highest-point bareback winner in Utah’s three main rodeos – the Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Rodeo, the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo and the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo.
The second half of the program celebrated over 50 Utah connected Olympic and Paralympic athletes, past and present, including an intimate conversation with Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. Nearly 100 athletes with Utah ties took part in the recent Games in PyeongChang.
2018 Governor’s State of Sport Awards Winners
HIGH SCHOOL FEMALE- HEATHER GNEITING
HIGH SCHOOL MALE- CAMMON COOPER
COLLEGIATE FEMALE- HANNAH FLIPPEN
COLLEGIATE MALE- MATT GAY
ADAPTIVE FEMALE OF THE YEAR – SAYLOR O’BRIEN
ADAPTIVE MALE OF THE YEAR – CADEN HALVERNSON
PRO FEMALE – JORDAN WILLIS
Jordan Willis led her team to its second National Championship for the Independent Women’s Football League with 47 tackles, 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery. As running back, Jordan had 23 carries for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. She was named the Defensive Player of the year for the Utah Falconz in 2017 and earned MVP in the All-Star game. Jordan has been voted as Captain for the Utah Falconz for the 2018 season.
PRO MALE – DONOVAN MITCHELL
Donovan Mitchell led all rookies in scoring average in 2017 at 18.2 points per game. He totaled a Jazz rookie-record 41 points against New Orleans on Dec. 1, the first 40-plus point game by a rookie since Blake Griffin in 2010-11. The Greenwich Conn., native was the only rookie to total over 600 points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists in 2017. The 21-year-old made 76 three-pointers in 35 games played through December, which is tied for the second most by a rookie in their first 35 games played in NBA history. His 636 points through December were the second most by a Jazz rookie in team history.
COACH OF THE YEAR – JAY HILL
Jay Hill led Weber State to its best season in school history with a school record of 11 wins and a 7-1 conference record, marking only the fifth time the Wildcats have won the Big Sky Conference. 17 of Hill’s players earned All-Big Sky honors including Defensive Player of the Year Taron Johnson. Weber State won two games in the FCS Playoffs making the quarterfinals for the first time ever. Hill and his team finished the season ranking fifth in the nation, the highest national ranking in school history.
TEAM OF THE YEAR – UNIVERSITY OF UTAH SKIING
The University of Utah Ski Team placed 1st overall with 541.5 points at the 2017 NCAA National Championship meet, their first title since 2003. This marked Utah’s 11th NCAA title, ranking them third all-time in skiing. Nordic Coach of the Martin Bergstroem’s became the 2017 NCAA National Individual Champion in the Men’s 10km Classic and Men’s 20km Skate, bringing Utah’s Ski Team’s 2017 Championship Podium appearances to 6.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR– ETHAN NELL
20-year-old rookie, Ethan Nell stepped onto the podium as the youngest competitor amongst 21 of the world’s greatest freeride mountain bikers at the 12th edition of Red Bull Rampage. Nell’s run down Virgin, Utah’s terrain, featured tons of speed, fluidity, landing two flat spins, a backflip, and a suicide-no-hander placing him 3rd with a score of 90.00.
For more information about the Governor’s State of Sport Awards, please visit www.stateofsportawards.com
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