MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – Volleyball’s Sarah Wilhite and men’s hockey’s Tyler Sheehy have been nominated for Big Ten Athlete of the Year honors after posting nationally heralded seasons at the University of Minnesota in 2016-17.
Wilhite and Sheehy are among 28 nominees representing each Big Ten Conference institution. The Big Ten Athletes of the Year will be announced on Monday, June 19.
A native of Eden Prairie, Minn., Wilhite was tabbed as the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and ESPNW National Player of the Year in 2016 – the first Gopher to receive either award. An outside hitter for the Maroon & Gold, she was named a First Team All-American by the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine and was also selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year after leading the Gophers to the 2016 NCAA Final Four and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. A unanimous All-Big Ten pick as well as an NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team member and the NCAA Minneapolis Region Most Outstanding Player, Wilhite led the Big Ten in kills per set at 4.26 and led the Gophers with 537 kills and 1,385 attempts. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Wilhite is set to graduate in December 2017 with a degree in physiology. She’ll also begin her professional volleyball career this fall as a member of Busto Arsizio in the Italian A1 league.
A native of Burnsville, Minn., Sheehy was named a First Team All-American and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as a sophomore forward for the Gophers in 2016-17. He also honored as the Big Ten Player of the Year, a First Team All-Big Ten selection and the Co-Big Ten Scoring Champion. Sheehy tallied career highs with 53 points, 20 goals and 33 assists while playing in all 38 games for the Maroon & Gold. His 53 points ranked eighth in the nation and were the most points in a single season by a Gophers since 2005-06. Sheehy will serve as Minnesota’s captain in 2017-18 after helping the program to a pair of NCAA records last season, winning its sixth-straight regular-season conference championship and earning its 37th NCAA tournament berth.
Previous Big Ten Athletes of the Year from the ‘U’
1993 – John Roethlisberger, gymnastics
2002 – Jordan Leopold, hockey
2004 – Damion Hahn, wrestling
2007 – Cole Konrad, wrestling
1997 – Gretchen Hegener, swimming
2013 – Amanda Kessel, hockey
2016 – Rachel Banham, basketball
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