SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC received the Sports Story of the Year Award at the 82nd Annual MTRWestern Sports Star of the Year ceremony, held by the Seattle Sports Commission at the Paramount Theatre on Wednesday evening. The club’s dramatic turnaround – surging from nearly the bottom of the table in September to claiming its first MLS Cup trophy two months later – beat out five other regional storylines, as nominated by the Sports Star Committee. Forward Jordan Morris was also honored as a nominee for the Male Sports Star of the Year Award, which was won by Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner.
“On behalf of my fellow owners Joe Roth, Paul Allen and Drew Carey, it is an incredible honor to be selected as Sports Story of the Year, especially given the accomplishments of our fellow Seattle sports teams over the past season,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. “Our club is humbled to have added to Seattle’s illustrious sports history by bringing home our first MLS Cup. This award, like the Cup itself, belongs not only to our club’s talented players, coaches and staff, but also to this city, region and all of our incredible fans.”
SPORTS STORY OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
- WINNER: Sounders FC wins MLS Cup
- University of Washington Women’s Basketball reaches Final Four
- University of Washington Women’s Golf wins NCAA title
- University of Washington Football makes College Football Playoffs
- Former Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. enters Baseball Hall of Fame
- Seattle Seahawks win the NFC West title for third time in four years
MALE SPORTS STAR OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
- WINNER: Bobby Wagner – Seattle Seahawks
- Jordan Morris – Seattle Sounders FC
- Jake Browning – University of Washington Football
- Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
- Gabe Marks – Washington State Football
In addition, Kelsey Plum was named the Female Sports Star of the Year after leading the University of Washington basketball team to the Final Four and earning All-American honors last season. The Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer currently leads the nation with 30.9 points per game for the eight-ranked Huskies in the 2016-2017 campaign.
The evening’s program was also headlined by several honorees for various achievement awards. Gary Payton, a nine-time NBA All-Star and member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, was honored with the Royal Brougham Award for lifetime achievement for his prolific career with Seattle SuperSonics from 1990-2003.
Rick Rizzs, the longtime Seattle Mariners broadcaster, was the honoree for the Keith Jackson Award, which is given to a member of the media who demonstrated excellence. The Paul Allen Award, which is given to an individual who has made a compelling philanthropic contribution, honored former Seahawks standout Jacob Green, who has been a steadfast leader in the fight against cancer.
The Wayne Gittinger Inspirational Youth Award, given to a young athlete who has overcome major medical obstacles to inspire others was this year given to honoree Riley Sorenson, an offensive lineman at Washington State. Sorenson, a three-year starter at center, lost both of his parents prior to his senior season, before being diagnosed with cancer himself. Following a successful surgery, he was able to decide to continue playing and supporting his team.
The Seattle Sports Commission, which is now in its 82nd year, honors inspiring and iconic individuals, legends, media members and philanthropists in Seattle’s sports scene. The Sports Star Committee includes local sports historians, members of the media and other members of the sports industry.