Lee named finalist for AAU James E. Sullivan Award

The honor is presented to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States.


Nichole Harris

Iowa's 125-pound Spencer Lee grapples with Purdue's Devin Schroder during the final session of the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament in Piscataway, NJ, on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Lee won by major decision 16-2, securing the 125-pound championship, and Iowa won the team title with 157.5 points.

Robert Read, Sports Editor

Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee has been named one of 10 finalists for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States.

The winner is determined by public vote, media vote, and committee vote.

Lee’s 2019 season included a NCAA wrestling championship and a United States Senior Nationals tournament title. He was a 2019 Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a member of the NWCA Academic All-America team.

The 10 finalists include Lee, Evita Griskenas (USA Rhythmic Gymnastics), Grant Holloway (Florida track & field), Markus Howard (Marquette basketball), Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon basketball), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson football), Dana Rettke (Wisconsin volleyball), Kyla Ross (UCLA gymnastics), Megan Taylor (Maryland lacrosse), and Abby Weitzeil (Cal swimming & diving).

Representitives of the AAU created the award with the intent to recognize amateur contributions and achievements from non-professional athletes across the country. The award is presented to the athlete who has demonstrated the most athletic success, as well as leadership, character, and sportsmanship in the past year.

Notable athletes to win the award include Michael Phelps (2003), former UCLA basketball player Bill Walton (1973), and former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997).

ESPNW Player of the Year and NCAA Volleyball National Champion Kathryn Plummer was crowned the 89th James E. Sullivan Award winner for her accomplishments in 2018.

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