BY SPNW Staff 01:03PM 12/03/2012

78th annual Star of Year: The nominees are . . .

Marshawn Lynch, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasey Kahne are among the nominees for the nation’s longest-running sports celebration of its kind Jan. 25 at Benaroya Hall.

1997 Male Star of the Year Gary Payton addresses attendees at the 2010 awards program with  broadcaster Kevin Calabro. / Seattle Sports Commission and Red Box Pictures

The Northwest’s premier celebration of sports, Sports Star of the Year, will offer the 78th annual edition Jan. 25 at Benaroya Hall, honoring the athletes, coaches, executives, media figures and stories in or from Washington state for their achievements in 2012.

Since its creation in 1936 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper, nearly 100 Sports Stars have been honored at this event. They become part of an elite ensemble, grouped with some of most notable sports icons in our region’s history.

Sponsored by transportation company MTR Western, the event is Oscars-style awards ceremony featuring nominees, past winners, special honorees and premium video with pre- and post-receptions.

Nominees were selected by the Sports Star Committee, which includes team executives, local business people, historians, media and others active in the sports industry. Fans can vote for their favorites in the Professional, Male, Female and Sports Story of the Year categories online at www.sportsstaroftheyear.orgThe public is encouraged to vote through Jan. 18.  Winners will be announced during the event on Jan. 25 at Benaroya Hall.

Tickets to the show can be purchased at the Benaroya Hall Box Office, at, or by calling 206-215-4747 Premium tickets are $100, reserved are $80, and include access to the show and the VIP reception. Show-only tickets can be purchased for $35.

To learn more about the MTR Western Sports Star of the Year, visit

Nominees for Professional Sports Star of the Year:

  • Alex Morgan, Sounders Women FC– Forward who won gold as a member of U.S. Women’s National Team at the London Olympics and starred as a newcomer for the Sounders
  • Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks — “Beast Mode” led the Seahawks in rushing in 2011 and again in 2012, his 1,051 yards heading into Sunday’s game ranked third in the NFL
  • Eddie Johnson, Seattle Sounders FC — Newcomer led the Sounders in scoring with 14 goals and was named Major League Soccer Comeback Player of the Year
  • Kasey Kahne, NASCAR driver — Enumclaw native fourth in points standings. Won twice this season and has 14 career wins.
  • Ryan Villopoto, Supercross — Poulsbo native clinched the 2012 AMA Supercross championship and 2012 World Supercross championship, the first repeat champion since 2006

Nominees for Male Sports Star of the Year:

  • Nathan Adrian, USA Swimming — Bremerton native was gold medalist in 100M freestyle in London Olympics after winning a relay gold in the 2008 Games
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins, University of Washington football — The career leading tight-end pass catcher in Huskies history as a sophomore, the Gig Harbor native is among the final three for the John Mackey Award that goes to th nation’s best tight end
  • Chris Williams, University of Washington golf — Most decorated golfer in school history, the Moscow, ID., native was ranked world’s No. 1 amateur
  • Drew Snider, University of Maryland lacrosse — Senior captain led Maryland to NCAA championship game. O’Dea High School grad voted to all-tournament team
  • David DeCastro, Stanford University football — Bellevue High All-State lineman, All-America selection at Stanford and first-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Nominees for Female Sports Star of the Year:

  • Mary Whipple, USA Rowing — Former University of Washington coxswain from Orangevale, CA., led U.S. eight-oared shell to five world championships and past two Olympic golds
  • Ariana Kukors, USA Swimming — Auburn’s Mountainview High grad has world record in 200M individual medley, in which she finished fifth in the London Olympics
  • Katie Flood, University of Washington cross country and track — Des Moines, IA., native won Pac-12 XC title and finished seventh at NCAA championships; ran fourth-fastest indoor mile in NCAA history
  • Marti Malloy, USA Judo — Bronze medalist in London, the Oak Harbor native became the second American woman to win an Olympic judo medal
  • Jennie Reed, USA Cycling — Kirkland resident and University of Washington grad won a silver in team pursuit at the London Olympics

Nominees for Sports Story of the Year:


  • Joe Fan

    I think Russell Wilson would win this hands down if he were nominated.