Rick May

Sports Star of the Year Award Winners (2000-2017)

Male Athlete of the Year


SSY2010_Apolo Ohno


Apolo Ohno
Olympic Speed Skater

At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Ohno claimed three speed skating medals to bring his career total to eight — the most ever by an American in the Winter Olympics. A Seattle native, Ohno appeared in three Olympics over a career that spanned 14 years. He has since been heavily involved with a number of philanthropies, including the Special Olympics.


SSY2011_Chris Polk


Chris Polk
UW Running Back

One of the most accomplished running backs ever to play at UW , Polk remains the second leading career rusher in program history with over 4,000 yards. His career was highlighted by a 284 yard, two touchdown performance against Washington State in 2010. He went on to play in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans.




Nathan Adrian
USA Olympic Swimmer

A Bremerton native, Adrian burst onto the international swimming scene with a gold medal relay performance in his 2008 Olympic debut. He earned Sports Star of the Year for a three-medal showing at thew 2012 London Games, and also became the first American in 24 years to win the 100-meter freestyle.


SSY2013_Russell Wilson


Russell Wilson
Seahawks Quarterback and Leader

Wilson set an NFL record for most wins in his first two seasons, culminating in Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII victory over Denver. The four-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in season touchdowns and season passer rating, and continues to compete for the Seahawks in the NFC West.


SSY2014_Earl Thomas III


Earl Thomas III
Seahawks Defensive Leader

An original member of Seattle Legion of Boom, Thomas evolved into one of the hardest-hitting safeties the NFL had ever seen. He was a major part of the Seahawks defense that led to a Super Bowl win and has now made six Pro Bowls in his career. He still leads the Seattle secondary at age 28.



Michael Bennett
Seahawks Defensive Lineman

Bennett led the defensive front of a consistently solid Seahawks unit. His 2015 season finished with 10 sacks, followed by five sacks and 34 tackles in just 11 games in 2016. The three-time Pro Bowler was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.



Bobby Wagner
Seahawks Linebacker

Quickly becoming one of the best young linebackers in the NFL, Wagner led another defensively-sound Seattle Seahawks team to the playoffs in 2016-17. He finished the year as the team’s leading tackler for the third straight season, and led the entire league in tackles. The First-Team All-Pro also set the new franchise mark for single-season tackles.



Dante Pettis
Electric UW Receiver and Punt Returner

In his senior season with Washington football, Pettis broke away for a punt return touchdown against Oregon to earn the NCAA record for punt return scores with nine in his career. He was also the top target for the UW passing attack, and led the Huskies to a 10-2 regular season record and second consecutive New Year’s Six bowl.

Female Athlete of the Year


SSY2010_Jessica Pixler


Jessica Pixler
SPU XC/Track Runner

Pixler was a dominant force in collegiate track and cross-countryu during her four-year career at Seattle Pacific University. By the end of her senior season, she had accumulated 12 individual national titles across indoor and outdoor track and cross country.


SSY2011_Courtney Vandersloot


Courtney Vandersloot
Gonzaga Basketball

Vandersloot earned Sports Star of the Year after leading Gonzaga to a 31-5 record and an Elite 8 appearance. The point guard is the only women’s player in West Coast Conference history to win conference player of the year three times, and the Kent native continues to play in the WNBA for the Chicago Sky.


SSY2012_Mary Whipple


Mary Whipple
USA Rowing

Whipple won her second Olympic gold medal in rowing at the 2012 London Games after the UW varsity eight to back-to-back national titles during her collegiate career. She also collected five golds at the world championships.


UW- Volleyball (Photo by Rob Sumner / Red Box Pictures)


Krista Vansant
UW Volleyball

Vansant’s 2013 season ended with Pac-12 Player of the Year honors and a volleyball conference title for UW. The All-American was also awarded ESPNW National Player of the Year in 2014 and is now an outside hitter for Team USA. Her No. 16 was retired at Washington last fall.


SSY2014_Stephanie Verdoia


Stephanie Verdoia
Seattle U Soccer

Verdoia was named the nation’s top women’s soccer scholar-athlete and a third-team All American after a record-breaking senior season. The two-time WAC Offensive Player of the Year set Seattle U career and season scoring marks and finished nationally in goals and points.



Megan Rapinoe
Seattle Reign and USA Soccer

The most well-known play of Rapinoe’s soccer career is her assist in the 122nd minute of the 2011 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals to Abby Wambach — the latest goal ever scored in a match in the tournament. She has a World Cup gold and an Olympic gold, and has played for Seattle Reign FC since 2013.



Kelsey Plum
All-American UW Basketball Player

In February of 2017, Plum scored a career-high 57 points on senior night for the Huskies, breaking the all-time women’s NCAA Division I basketball scoring record with 3,397 points. She was named the AP, Naismith, and espnW Player of the Year after carrying UW to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. She was drafted first overall by the San Antonio Stars and made the WNBA All-Rookie Team.



All-American UW Softball Infielder

An All-American and three-time All-Pac-12 selection, Aguilar led UW softball to the College World Series semifinals in her senior season. She batted .352 and hit 14 home runs in 2017, moving on after graduation to play for Team USA softball.

Sports Story of the Year


SSY2010_Tim Linceum


Tim Lincecum
SF Giants All-Star Pitcher

Lincecum led the San Francisco Giants to a World Series championship in 2010, the first of three rings in the Bellevue native’s career. He won back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009, and pitched for UW collegiately. He won the 2006 Golden Spikes Award while at Washington, awarded annually to the nation’s top amateur baseball player.


SSY2011_Kasey Keller


Kasey Keller
Sounders FC Goalkeeper

Keller played a long career in the MLS and as the goalkeeper for the U.S. Men’s National Team. In 2011, his final season of professional soccer, the Olympia native led Sounders FC to its third consecutive U.S. Open Cup. He now works as a color commentator for Sounders soccer.


SSY2012_Marshawn Lynch


Marshawn Lynch
Seattle Seahawks

Lynch was a dominant running back for the Seahawks for six seasons, racking up 57 scores during his time in Seattle. His bruising running style and sense of humor made him a must-watch performer. He now plays for the Oakland Raiders.




Super Bowl Victory
Seattle Seahawks

The story of 2014 in Seattle sports was undoubtedly the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. A defensive-minded team led by head coach Pete Carroll finished the regular season 13-3, routing the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, 43-8. An estimated 700,000 filled the city streets during the ensuing victory parade.



Collegiate National Champions
University of Washington Men’s Crew

The 2016 UW men’s crew team accomplished a feat that had never been done in collegiate rowing — becoming the first team in history to win five consecutive Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships. Head coach Michael Callahan earned his sixth title in eight years.



MLS Cup Champions
Seattle Sounders FC

Sounders FC’s magical 2016 run culminated in the franchise’s first MLS Cup, defeating Toronto FC in penalty kicks to secure the title. Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei earned MVP honors, making a crucial save in extra time to keep the match tied.



Final Four Run
Gonzaga University Men’s Basketball

Gonzaga men’s basketball, a perennial powerhouse in the Pacific Northwest, advanced to its first Final Four and first national championship game in school history in March 2017. At 32-1 entering the tournament, the Bulldogs earned a 1-seed and beat South Carolina in the Final Four to advance and play for a national title. North Carolina edged out Gonzaga in the title game, 71-65.

More Past Winners

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