The 90th Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award: Meet Your Finalists

The 90th Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award: Meet Your Finalists

Finalist voting for the 90th annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award is open!

Each year, since 1930, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) gives out this award to the nation’s top amateur athlete. Named after its founder, James E. Sullivan, this award recognizes players who not only entertain us but inspire and motivate us.

Scroll down to learn more about each of this year’s finalists, click here to cast your vote, and stay tuned to find out who will win this prestigious award.


Grant Holloway

Track and Field, University of Florida

Holloway became the fifth Gator in history to be named SEC Male Athlete of the Year and the first Gator to sweep the USTFCCCA National Indoor and Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year awards. He also became the first man in history to sweep the NCAA Championship titles for 60 hurdles and 110 hurdles three years in a row. Holloway was the third leg for Florida’s NCAA title-winning and collegiate record-breaking 4×100 relay at NCAA Outdoors (37.97 seconds), and he anchored Florida’s 4×400 relay to a silver medal to set a school record time of 2:59.60 (split 43.75 seconds). Holloway scored 27.5 points at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the second-highest total in meet history; 28 points at SEC Indoor Championships, breaking the meet record of 22.5; and 14 points at SEC Outdoor Championships. He’s a 4x USTFCCCA Outdoor All-American, 4x USTFCCCA Indoor All-American, SEC Indoor Runner of the Year and USTFCCCA South Region Indoor and Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year.


Megan Taylor

Women’s Lacrosse, University of Maryland

Winning her second national championship this past year, Taylor became the first goalie ever to win the prestigious Tewaaraton Award. In addition, Taylor was named the IWLCA National Player of the Year, the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, the University of Maryland Student-Athlete of the Year, the Big Ten Goalie of the Year for the fourth time in four years, and she won the Honda Award for Lacrosse. Taylor started 88 of 91 games over her four-year career, putting together an 84-4 record. She ended her Maryland career with a .512 save percentage and 740 saves, the second highest of any Maryland goalie. The senior won two National Championships, seven Conference Championships and never lost a game at home.


Dana Rettke

Women’s Volleyball, University of Wisconsin

Dana is the youngest member of the 2019 U.S. National Team that won the Volleyball Nations League. She’s been named three-time first-team All-American, 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year, 2019 AVCA Northeast Regional Player of the Year, three-time first-team All-Big Ten, and two-time Academic All-Big Ten. She aided the Badgers to three NCAA tournament appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2019. She holds the UW career record in hitting percentage and ranks among the top Badger players in kills, kills per set, total blocks, blocks per set, points, and points per set. She played in 110 sets and led the team with 3.75 kills per set. She had a season high 22 kills vs. Marquette (September 5) and had a tied season high five digs vs. Penn State (October 2).


Abbey Weitzeil

Women’s Swimming, University of California Berkeley

Last year, Weitzeil broke the American record in the 50-yard free twice, won four national titles at the 2019 NCAA Championships, and earned 2019 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year honors. Not only did she win all three of her individual races at the Pac-12 Championship meet, but she also helped her Cal team win multiple relays. As a result, she was named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet. At the NCAA Championships, she earned a national title in the 50 free and anchored three relays to national championships while helping the 200 medley relay to a runner-up finish. During the final race of the 200 medley relay on the third night of the meet, Weitzel hit the wall hard hyper-extending her elbow. The next day, with her arm heavily taped, she anchored the 400 free relay to a national title breaking the NCAA record in the event.


Trevor Lawrence

Football, Clemson University

Lawrence entered 2020 having completed 527 of his 804 career passes for 6,945 yards with 66 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 1,610 snaps in 30 career games (26 starts). His rushing numbers are just as impressive with 967 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns on 163 career carries. As a freshman in 2018, Lawrence started the final 11 games helping Clemson to go 15-0 and win 10 of those games by 20 points or more. Lawrence became the first true freshman quarterback to lead his team to a national title since 1985. Lawrence was a consensus freshman All-American honoree who earned a bevy of national and conference honors for both his athletic and academic success. Lawrence recorded a 25-game winning streak in his first 25 games as a starter, tied for the sixth-longest winning streak by a starting quarterback at any point of a career.


Kyla Ross

Gymnastics, University of California Los Angeles

Ross has had a historic career at UCLA. She has scored two perfect 10s on uneven bars and one on vault and leads UCLA with 34 individual titles out of a possible 45. Ross has totaled four NCAA individual championships and one team championship. She holds the NCAA career record for perfect 10s on uneven bars with 11 and counting. Ross is the first female gymnast in history to win NCAA, World and Olympic gold. She’s a two-time defending Pac-12 all-around champion and has a total of six Pac-12 individual titles. Ross currently ranks first in the nation on uneven bars, second on balance beam, third in the all-around, fourth on floor exercise, and 11th on vault. The 19-time All-American is a standout off the floor as well, receiving Pac-12 All-Academic honors twice in her career while studying Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology.


Spencer Lee

Men’s Wrestling, University of Iowa

Two-time NCAA Wrestling Champion, Lee, claimed the 2019 US Senior National Championship, qualifying for the US Olympic Trials. Lee outscored his opponents 55-7 in five matches at the NCAA Championships. He posted a 23-3 overall record, including a perfect 7-0 mark in Big Ten duals. For the 2018-19 season, he recorded a team-high seven technical falls and eight pins, ranking second on the team. He became an Academic All-Big Ten and was named the Mike Howard Most Valuable Wrestler. Lee was also named to the NWCA Academic All-American Team and is a two-time letter winner.


Markus Howard

Men’s Basketball, Marquette University

Howard is a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee, one of only two student-athletes in the nation. He was named the BIG EAST Player of the Year, is Marquette’s all-time leading scorer, and is the top scorer in BIG EAST history (1,587 points). Howard was a unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team honoree in 2019-20. He was the only person in 2018-2019 to finish in the top-10 in the nation in scoring and free throw percentage, and he’s already in possession of multiple Marquette single-game, season, and career records.


Evita Griskenas

Rhythmic Gymnastics, USA Rhythmic Gymnastics

Griskenas is a full-time honors/AP student and dedicated athlete. She’s been named the National Junior Champion (June 2015), National ball (July 2018) and ribbon Senior National Champion (July 2019), and three-time all-around second-place Senior National Champion. Griskenas has had much international success as well. In September, she secured a spot in the top 8 in the world at the World Championships in Baku. She was the most decorated athlete of the August 2019 Pan American Games, and in October 2017, she swept all five gold medals at the Pan American Championships.


Sabrina Ionescu

Women’s Basketball, University of Oregon

Ionescu is the first player in NCAA history to surpass 2,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds, and 1,000 career assists. She’s the NCAA all-time triple-double leader with 26 as of February 25, 2020. She’s a Pac-12 all-time leader in assists. She was awarded the 2018-19 Wooden Award and Wade Trophy winner as the national player of the year. Ionescu helped the Ducks to their first ever Final Four playing 1,369 minutes, the most in the NCAA. She graduated from the University of Oregon in just three years with a degree in general social science and is now pursuing her Master’s degree in Advertising and Brand Responsibility.


Don’t forget to vote for who you’d like to win! You can vote once per day until March 30, and the winner will be announced on April 21, 2020.

AAU Sullivan Awards: Plummer Takes Home the Hardware.

AAU Sullivan Awards: Plummer Takes Home the Hardware.

Stanford volleyball player Kathryn Plummer was named the 2019 AAU Sullivan Award winner during a ceremony on Tuesday in New York City.

This adds to the long list of awards Plummer has racked up this season which includes the AVCA Player of the Year, ESPNW Player of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year. To top it all off Plummer helped lead her team to the NCAA National Championship where Stanford defeated Nebraska for their 8th title.

Asked what volleyball means to her Plummer said, “Volleyball shapes my life in almost everything I do. My teammates become my family, and the support I receive from everyone around me makes me appreciate the sport even more. It is a sport that brings new challenges every day and it is always fun to learn and break new barriers.”

Plummer beat out a strong class of finalists which included McKenzie Milton from UCF, Mikaela Foecke from Nebraska, Rachael Garcia from UCLA, Luke Maye from UNC, Aleia Hobbs from LSU, Townley Haas from Texas, and Morgan Hurd who competes as a part of the USA Gymnastics team. All of these finalists were well-deserving and each has made an incredible impact on their sport and their community.

Choose the Next AAU Sullivan Award Winner

Choose the Next AAU Sullivan Award Winner

The final round of voting for the AAU Sullivan Award is now open! You can vote by clicking here. Since 1930, the prestigious award has been given to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States, and some of the biggest names in sports have been honored with the award.

Past winners include Carl Lewis, Peyton Manning, Bill Walton, Michelle Kwan, Michael Phelps, Ezekiel Elliot, Tim Tebow, Shawn Johnson, Missy Franklin, and J.J. Redick.

The final round of voting will close on March 22, so make sure to get your votes in quickly! You can vote once every 24 hours here. And now, let’s meet the finalists! The nominees are some of the best athletes in the world, many with gold medals and national titles to their names.

Ashleigh Johnson, Water Polo

As a two-time semi-finalist, Johnson is no stranger to the AAU Sullivan Award, and for good reason.  She’s already one of the best water polo players in the world, with a stacked résumé that includes a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Johnson also took home Top Goalkeeper honors in Rio and was named 2016 Water Polo Player of the Year by Swimming World magazine and 2016 Women’s Sports Foundation Sports Woman of the Year.

Lauren Carlini, Volleyball

Carlini had one of the most prolific careers in Big 10 volleyball history at Wisconsin. She took home All-Big Ten honors all four years, the first in program history to do so. She also ranks first in Wisconsin history with 74 career double-doubles and second in career assists with 5,599. She was recognized with All-American honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association three straight seasons. Perhaps most impressive, Carlini helped Team USA bring home a bronze medal from the 2016 Pan American Cup.

Ginny Thrasher, Olympic-Style Rifle Shooting

Thrasher’s most recent claim to fame: winning the U.S.’s very first gold medal at the 2016 Olympic games. Winning Olympic gold is impressive enough, but even more impressive at age 19. Not only did Thrasher bring home the gold, she did it convincingly. In the 10m air rifle competition, she defeated her opponent by a full point, which is considered a wide margin in a sport where precision is key. In addition to her gold medal, Thrasher also has a pair of NCAA Championships from her freshman season at West Virginia University.

Kyle Snyder, Freestyle Wrestling

Snyder is one of the biggest names in wrestling today. The 20-year-old has already put his stamp on the record books as the youngest gold medalist in U.S. wrestling history. He took home Olympic Gold in Rio and also owns an NCAA Championship. The Ohio State product has a Freestyle World Cup championship on his résumé, as well.

Kayla Harrison, Judo

Harrison isn’t just one of the best in the world. She is the best in the world. She finished 2016 ranked No. 1 in the world in her weight class after winning her second gold medal. Harrison is the first American judoka to ever win an Olympic gold medal, and she successfully defended her title with another gold medal in Rio last year.

Laurie Hernandez, Gymnastics

Hernandez was a member of the Team USA gynamistic team that took the nation by storm at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. In addition to helping Team USA bring home a gold medal in the team event, Hernandez’s score of 15.333 on the balance beam earned her a silver medal for her individual performance.

Aly Raisman, Gymnastics

As the captain of both the 2012 and 2016 USA gymnastics teams, Raisman is one of the most decorated U.S. gymnasts in history.  She is the first U.S. gynmast to win back-to-back medals in the floor event. The 2016 Olympics cemented her legacy, bringing her medal total to three golds and six career Olympic medals, the second most in U.S. gymnastics history.

Vote For The AAU Sullivan Award

Vote For The AAU Sullivan Award

The semi-final round of voting for the AAU Sullivan Award is open now. Since 1930, the prestigious award has been given to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States, and some of the biggest names in sports have been honored with the award.

Past winners include Carl Lewis, Peyton Manning, Bill Walton, Michelle Kwan, Michael Phelps, Ezekiel Elliot, Tim Tebow, Shawn Johnson, Missy Franklin, and J.J. Redick.

The semi-final voting round will close on March 13, so make sure to get your votes in quickly! You can vote once every 24 hours here. And don’t forget to check back on March 15 when finalist voting begins! Now, let’s get to the semi-finalists.

Make Sports History: Nominate The Next AAU Sullivan Award Winner!

Make Sports History: Nominate The Next AAU Sullivan Award Winner!

AAU provides athletes an opportunity to grow as a player and a person, and a chance to play top-level competition. For many of today’s biggest athletes, like Breanna Stewart, AAU is where they first made a name for themselves.

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“When I played on the local AAU team, you kind of had to prove yourself,” said former UConn standout and current WNBA superstar Breanna Stewart. “No one thought we were going to be good. We would go into the tournament and have that fight in us. I didn’t go to a charter school or a private school or anything like that. I just went to a regular public school. I wanted to kind of make a statement and do what I could to help put my high school team on the map, to help put my AAU team on the map, and I think I did that.”

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She did more than that. She went on win the 86th annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award, alongside fellow recipient Keenan Reynolds, who played for Navy’s football team. The prestigious award has been given to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States since 1930, and includes some of the biggest names in sports history.

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“It really doesn’t matter where you’re from,” Stewart said. “It doesn’t matter the size of your city, but if you have a dream and you really put your mind to it, it’s possible.”

That statement epitomizes the AAU’s goal. It is about providing opportunities for everyone, and giving athletes an opportunity to take advantage of those opportunities. Breanna Stewart took full advantage and is excelling as a professional athlete now, just like a long list of Sullivan Award winners that came before her.

Past winners of the award include some of the most successful athletes in American history, like Carl Lewis, Peyton Manning, Bill Walton, Michelle Kwan, and Michael Phelps. Other past winners like Ezekiel Elliot, Tim Tebow, Shawn Johnson, Missy Franklin, Jim Ryun, and J.J. Redick are some of the biggest names in sports today.

AAU is now taking nominations for the 87th AAU James E. Sullivan Award presented by Eastbay. You can nominate someone for the award here. Nominations close February 21st at 11:59 p.m. eastern, so make sure to get them in while you still can! For more information, visit aausullivan.org.