FAIRMONT — Montana State University athletes Kola Bad Bear and Duncan Hamilton on Saturday were named the winners of the 2023 Montana AAU Little Sullivan awards.
Bad Bear and Hamilton were honored at Fairmont Hot Springs during the annual Sullivan awards banquet.
Bad Bear, a 6-foot-2 forward and a graduate of Billings Senior High School, played basketball at MSU. She averaged 10.9 points per game in 2021-22 and 9.8 this past season. Bad Bear averaged 5.0 rebounds per game in each of those campaigns.
In 2021-22, she was named the team's co-MVP with guard Darian White while helping the Bobcats advance to the NCAA tournament. In 2022-23, her final season in Bozeman before entering her name in the NCAA transfer portal, Bad Bear was named second-team All-Big Sky. In four seasons, she appeared in 114 games, starting 78, while averaging 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting .438 from the field.
Off the court, Bad Bear, a member of the Crow Tribe, was active in raising awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) causes.
Hamilton is a standout cross country and track and field athlete for the Bobcats. In April, Hamilton established the nation's top time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (8:25.17). He was the NCAA runner-up in the event at the 2022 NCAA outdoor championships.
He was a 2022 first-team All-American. Hamilton's 8:18.88 in the national championship race made him the fastest American collegian in the 3,000 steeplechase, the third-fastest collegian ever, and gave him the Big Sky Conference and school records.
Hamilton, a Bozeman High graduate, qualified for the NCAA cross country championships three times in his career.
The other male finalists for the award were University of Montana football players Robby Hauck and Patrick O'Connell, and Jacob Morgan, a University of Mary wrestler from Billings. Other female finalists were Rocky Mountain College volleyball player Ayla Embry, Montana State Billings softball player Brittanee Fisher, and Sophia Stiles, a Florida Gulf Coast basketball player who previously played at Montana.