As we posted earlier today, incoming Gopher Hockey freshman Casey Mittelstadt won a fan vote to be named the 2017 USA TODAY All-USA Male Athlete of the Year. This week the polls are open to vote for the Female All-USA Athlete of the Year and another Gopher is in the running.
Incoming Minnesota Gophers freshman Grace Zumwinkle was named the 2017 USA TODAY Girls Hockey Player of the Year earlier this spring, and is now one of ten athletes up for the national player of the year award. Zumwinkle is an Excelsior native and graduate of the Breck School. In the fall she will be a freshman who will immediately play a large role on Brad Frost’s Gopher squad. She scored 42 goals in the season and brought the Mustangs to the state title game before falling to rival Blake.
Zumwinkle has a cannon for a shot, something the Gophers will use on their power-play next season. She also scored the game winning goal with 2:32 remaining in the third period to push the United Stated ahead of Canada 2-1 in the gold-medal game of the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championships. She would tack on an empty net goal as well to ice the game for the red, white and blue.
Zumwinkle is now competing against nine other athletes for the national athlete of the year award. She is up against notable names including Lexi Sun who was the #1 volleyball recruit in the nation and will play for the Texas Longhorns in the fall, Evina Westbrook who will be playing basketball for the Tennessee Volunteers this season, and most notably 2016 Track and Field Olympian Sydney McLaughlin and the first ever back to back winner of the Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year Award.
It won’t be easy to get a full Gopher Hockey sweep of the awards, but its definitely possible. Voting is open now until Wednesday July 26th at 11:00 AM Central. You can VOTE HERE. Please share and lets get Grace the same honor as Casey!