HELENA — Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, the Montana Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) executive board has decided to take its annual Little Sullivan Award banquet virtual for the first time.
The banquet, which was originally scheduled for May 9, 2020 at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, will be broadcast virtually via YouTube on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 at 6 p.m., where the eight finalists — four females and four males — will be honored, and the two winners will be announced.
A link to watch the virtual banquet will be provided later this week.
“The Montana AAU Little Sullivan committee hopes everyone enjoys the presentation,” said Mike Ward, chairman of the Montana AAU Little Sullivan committee. “While we would have preferred to hold the event in person, because we truly enjoy getting to meet the finalists, we are excited to be able to honor the finalists that have earned their place.”
The honor is given to the top amateur athletes in Montana who have showcased excellence on and off the playing fields.
The four female finalists are: University of Montana golfer Teigan Avery, former North Dakota State University track and field athlete Paige Harris, former University of Montana basketball player McKenzie Johnston and former Butte state swimming champion Catherine Russo.
The four male finalists are: former University of Montana Western football player Jason Ferris, former Dickinson State wrestler Gresh Jones, former Oregon State basketball player Tres Tinkle and former Carroll College basketball player Dane Warp.
“Thank you for being outstanding ambassadors for the state of Montana,” said Montana AAU District Governor Jeremy Shields. “Your accolades on and off the court are a testament to hard work and perseverance. While congratulating you, I would be remiss in not thanking all the individuals that have supported you along the way – thanks mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, coaches and everyone who has helped shape the individuals being acknowledged today.
“We will continue to root for you and wish you well as you move onto the next phases of your life. We hope to see you back on the fields, courts and gymnasiums in the future, giving back to the next group of Montana athletes.”
One female and one male finalist will be selected for the prestigious award, which has been presented to athletes such as Larry Krystkowiak, Shannon (Cate) Schweyen, Taylor Mims and Dave Dickenson.
Alisha Breen and Brandon Weber were named the 2019 Little Sullivan Award winners.
The Little Sullivan Award was created by the late David and Ella Rivenes of Miles City. David Rivenes served as the national AAU President and held numerous positions within the Montana AAU and Miles City sports communities. The Rivenes created the Little Sullivan Award to honor outstanding male and female athletes in the Treasure State that display qualities of athletic excellence, leadership, character, sportsmanship and ideals of amateurism, according to the Montana Amateur Athletic Union.