2017 Minnesota Sports Awards
In true Minnesota sports fashion, a sold-out crowd packed the newly renovated Target Center to celebrate the best moments in Minnesota sports at the first-ever Minnesota Sports Awards. Held on Dec. 13, 2017, the festivities were hosted by FOX Sports North’s Anthony LaPanta and former Vikings great Ahmad Rashad.
Congratulations to the winners:
High School Athletes of the Year
Taylor Anderson, Eagan High School - Anderson is a senior standout on the Eagan High School girls' hockey team. She was both All-Conference and All-State in her junior season. She has also had the opportunity to represent the United States by playing on the Under 18 National team. Off the ice, Anderson is a member of the National Honor Society and a peer-to-peer tutor at Eagan High School. She is also actively involved in the Minnesota Sled Hockey Association, which provides opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in the sport.
Sam Carlson, Burnsville High School - Sam Carlson is a 2017 graduate of Burnsville High School and was one of the most dominant high school pitchers in Minnesota. He led the Blaze to the State Tournament and was named the Class 4A Player of the Year. Additional honors include the Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year for Minnesota award and being named Mr. Baseball in 2017. In June, Carlson was selected in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Seattle Mariners with the 55th overall pick. Away from the diamond, Carlson was an honors student, and in his new job as a professional baseball player, he has been active in his local community by visiting schools and hospitals.
College Athlete of the Year
Temi Ogunrinde, University of Minnesota - Ogunrinde is a junior on the University of Minnesota Track and Field team. She switched from sprints to hammer throw and became the Big Ten champion in that event last season and finished 18th at the NCAA Championships. Ogunrinde also received All-Big 10 and Academic All-Big Ten honors, as well as the Gophers’ Outstanding Sportsmanship award. She has been named Captain of this year’s squad and is working on a degree in Entrepreneurial Management at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Ogunrinde is just as passionate and committed to giving back to her community and recently was involved in an internship working on diversity and inclusion projects to make sure the 2019 Final Four is for all people.
Professional Athlete of the Year (Presented by FOX Sports North)
Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx - In 2017, Fowles was arguably the best player on the Minnesota Lynx roster. She led the team with an average of 19 points and more than 10 rebounds per game. Fowles also achieved a Lynx single-season record for rebounds (354) and shot a career-high 65.5 percent, the fourth-best field goal percentage in league history. Her domination on the court earned her the WNBA Most Valuable Player award and the WNBA Finals MVP award. Fowles is also active in the local community and donated a portion of the award bonus to local nonprofit Cycles for Change in support of giving middle and high school girls access to bicycles.
Minnesota Sports Moment of the Year
Farmington High School softball wins state championship - Farmington Softball was the fifth seed heading into the 4A State Tournament. After knocking off the top seed, they were in a 0-0 battle with Anoka for the championship. With two outs, in the bottom of the 10th inning, Emma Frost delivered a walk-off home run to win the state title for Farmington – the first ever team title for Farmington High School.
Awarded to an athlete or other sports figure who overcame significant challengers on or off the playing field, inspiring others with their courage, perseverance and determination.
Maddie Muelken, Farmington High School - Maddie Muelken was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma just before the start of the softball season in 2017. She took on cancer with the true spirit of an athlete and competitor. Muelken only missed a few games during the season – often times pitching the day of or day after chemotherapy. She was on the mound for Farmington in the 4A State Championship game against Anoka. In that game, Muelken pitched 10 scoreless innings and helped lead her team to the first-ever team title for Farmington High School.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Rod Carew, Minnesota Twins - Minnesota Twins legend Rod Carew is the first-ever recipient of the Minnesota Sports Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award. He’s a seven-time American League batting champion with a lifetime .328 batting average, registered more than 3,000 hits and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Carew is truly the epitome of a Minnesota sports legend. He’s beloved by baseball fans and is generous with his time and talents – particularly with the Heart of 29 Campaign, which helps to raise money and awareness for the prevention of heart disease. He also contributes his time and talents on behalf of charitable organizations and endeavors such as Donor Day, the American Heart Association, and the Twins Community Fund.
Click here to watch the Minnesota Sports Awards