The Minneapolis Star Tribune revealed the list of fourteen nominees for the fan vote for the 2017 Minnesota Sportsperson of the Year. The Star Tribune will name their own award winner on Christmas Day, but for the first time have added a fan vote to give a second honor. The list of fourteen nominees will be cut and the top vote-getters will complete in a second vote for the honor the week between Christmas and New Years Day.
Five of the fourteen nominees have significant ties to the University of Minnesota. They include:
Grunewald is a professional distance runner, graduate of the University of Minnesota and cancer fighter. Grunewald has been very open with her battle with cancer while trying to maintain her running career. Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated did a great profile on Grunewald this summer.
The junior star of the Gopher Basketball team leads the team with a 20.2 points per game average and a 13 rebounds per game average. Murphy has recorded a double-double in all 12 games this season and was named the Big Ten Player of the Week three consecutive weeks to start the season.
Lynx Starting Five
One member of the Lynx starting five is Gopher great Lindsay Whalen. Whalen missed a chunk of last season with a broken wrist but returned with a vengeance in the playoffs and helped lead the Lynx to their fourth WNBA championship in eight seasons.
The Minnesota Twins manager played for the Gophers from 1975 through 1977 before being selected by the Milwaukee Brewers with the third pick in the 1977 MLB Draft. Molitor won the 2017 American League Manager of the Year Award this season in leading the Twins to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Groenewegen was a two-time All-American softball player for the Gophers who led Minnesota to the NCAA Super Regional this spring before falling at Alabama. Groenwegen holds the Gophers career record for wins and strikeouts and graduated this past spring. She now plays professionally and for the Canadian National Team.
The other nominees include:
Vikings WR Adam Thielen
Twins 2B Brian Dozier
The Caledonia High School Football Team
Vikings QB Case Keenum
Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve
Wild F Jason Zucker
Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer
The Minneapolis North High School Boys Basketball Team
Lynx F Sylvia Fowles
You can vote in the first round of voting HERE