It was another great overall season for all programs across campus at the University of Utah. The football team ended the season with another bowl win and top-25 ranking. The gymnastics program won the Pac-12 and went to another Super Six. The women’s softball team went to the Super Regionals, and were so close to the Women’s College World Series. Those programs, and others had some big names to lead them, and that got me thinking, who was the Athlete of the Year for the school?
Here are some contenders:
Garett Bolles - Football: A first round pick in the NFL Draft after only one season on campus. He was a mauler, and one of the most talented players we’ve ever seen suit up for Utah football. Being named First Team All-Pac-12 is certainly a nice bonus to the resume as well.
Isaac Asiata - Football: One of the fan favorites, and one that truly is a “Utah Man.” He was named Second Team All-Pac-12, was the Morris Trophy winner, and was a 4th round pick to the Miami Dolphins in the NFL Draft - so, yeah, it was a good year for Isaac.
Kyle Kuzma - Men’s Basketball: The basketball struggled down the stretch, but Kuz had a very nice year. He was named First Team All-Pac-12, and averaged 16 points per game for the Utes. To top everything off for him, he was drafted 27th overall to the LA Lakers in the NBA Draft.
Hannah Flippen - Women’s Softball: When it comes to an all-timer, Hannah Flippen is on that list when it comes to all-time greats at the U. She wrapped up her career with a laundry list of awards. She was named: NFCA First Team All-American, Academic All-American, Pac-12 Player of the Year, Pac-12 All First-Team, Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Pac-12 All-Defensive team, and helped lead the Utes to the Super Regionals.
I’m sure I’m forgetting a few names that can go on that list, but there was one name that stood out to me, and was the Athlete of the Year for Utah Athletics.
McKayla Skinner - Gymnastics: Six Pac-12 Freshman Gynmast of the Week Awards, seven Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week Awards, 43 individual titles total (second in school history) and she set the Utah record for all-around wins in a season (11). She also was Utah's first NCAA floor champion in 25 years and came in second in the all-around. Skinner also finished first in the all-around, vault and floor at the Pac-12 Championship and NCAA Regionals. I’m sure I’m even missing some things, but Skinner was incredible... yet, wasn’t voted Gymnast of the Year in the Pac-12, which came as a controversial surprise. Oh, not to mention, she was an alternate for the Olympic team last year, although, she was probably the 4th best gymnast in the world.
So Skinner is my Utah Athlete of the Year, who would you pick?