When there were 12 finalists for the prestigious 2010 Sullivan Award, given by the Amateur Athletic Union each year to the person who exemplifies “outstanding athletic abilities and accomplishments, as well as their qualities of sportsmanship, leadership & character evident in his/her lifestyle,” as stated on the AAU site, Tahnee Robison was certainly qualified. The 2010 Sullivan Award applies to accomplishments from the 2010 season, and what a season Robinson had. As a star on the University of Nevada women’s basketball team,  she finished 2010 as the eighth-best scorer in the country with 22.7 points per game and 15th in the nation with 3.1 three-pointers per game. She was twice named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week and named MVP of the Caribbean Classic after averaging 24.5 points in two games, shooting 47.2 percent, 17-36 from the field and a total of seven three-pointers, a University of Nevada press release stated.  Not only that, Robinson excelled in her classes despite carrying a significant academic load after transferring from Sheridan College last season.

As the only American Indian among the group, (Robinson grew up on the Wind River Reservation in Fort Washakie, Wyo. where she was a McDonald’s and Gatorade All-American) Robinson’s selection as a semi-finalist excited many in both Indian Country and among those who follow the award.  Yet becoming a finalist may have seemed like a long shot because she was facing off against well known stars such as UConn women’s basketball player Maya Moore, Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton and BYU basketball player Jimmer Fredette.

Now Robinson is a finalist, having beaten out the stellar athletes mentioned above., making her a part of the 81st annual award which is given to the nation’s top amateur athlete.  The top 12 nominees were selected by the AAU Sullivan Executive Committee, but the process for selecting the final five was a bit different. America voted for their favorite athlete online through USA Today, then that vote was combined with the national governing bodies of sports and NCAA Division I sports information directors’ ballots to pare the list down to the top five, according to the University of Nevada press release.

Robinson joins the final group along with Arkansas football player DJ Williams, gold medal figure skater Evan Lysacek, water skier Regina Jaquess and baton twirler Karrissaa Wimberley.

We can’t wait to see what happens on March 14 at the New York Athletic Club on Central Park South.  The includes and a buffett and autograph session, and anyone interested in attending can find more information on the Amateur Athletic Union’s official website.