homepage logo

BYU women’s soccer team, other local athletes honored at Governor’s State of Sport Awards

By Utah Sports Commission - | Apr 11, 2024

Courtesy BYU Photo

BYU players prepare to take the field for the College Cup semifinal match against Stanford at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023.

Utah’s sports community gathered at the Delta Center on Wednesday for the 12th annual Governor’s State of Sport Awards, presented by Intermountain Health and Zions Bank and hosted by Utah Sports Commission, to celebrate The State of Sport and its incredible athletes.

“Sport is the lifeblood of our communities,” said Governor Spencer J. Cox. “The State of Sport Awards showcase the athletes, teams, coaches, events, and icons who have contributed to the culture of sport in Utah, and I applaud this year’s honorees.”

A number of athletes with Utah Valley ties were recognized, with the BYU women’s soccer team being honored as the Team of the Year.

The Cougars concluded their first year in the Big 12 with an overall 20-3-3 record, posting an undefeated season in the conference and on the home South Field while advancing to the NCAA College Cup for the second time in program history.

BYU opened the season by beating the then-No. 1 UCLA in Week 3 and becoming the No. 1 team for the first time ever. The Cougars’ offense continued to rise nationally, reaching the No. 1 spot in both shots per game with 20.96 and total goals with 79. The defense and goalkeepers racked up nine shutouts and a 0.761 save percentage.

The road to the College Cup was underscored by a historic 4-3 victory in the Elite Eight over the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels–scoring four unanswered second-half goals and earning the largest comeback in NCAA Championships history since 2003.

Cougars had five seniors picked up during the 2024 NWSL Draft: Brecken Mozingo (4th overall pick), Olivia Smith-Griffitts (20th), Olivia Wade-Katoa (23rd), Jamie Shepherd (30th) and Laveni Vaka (55th). The returning Utah Royals drafted Mozingo and Smith-Griffitts.

Former Orem High and BYU football star Puka Nacua was also recognized for his record-setting rookie year with the Los Angelas Rams, being named the Professional Male Athlete of the Year.

The rookie sensation broke NFL records for single-season receptions (105) and receiving yards (1,486) and single-game receptions (15) and receiving yards (181).

The 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year finalist was previously honored as the High School Male Athlete of the Year at the 2019 Governor’s State of Sport Awards.

Utah Valley high school athletes swept the prep honors as Spanish Fork star pitcher Avery Sapp was named the High School Female Athlete of the Year and American Fork runner Daniel Simmons was picked as the High School Male Athlete of the Year.

In addition, WordPerfect co-founder Alan Ashton earned the Legacy Award for his efforts with the Olympics and the Utah Sports Commission.

“It has been another great year for sports in Utah,” said Utah Sports Commission President & CEO Jeff Robbins. “From hosting major global events to potential future announcements of the Olympics, Paralympics, NHL and MLB franchises, it’s easy to see why Utah is known as The State of Sport.”

The Utah Sports Commission was created to be a catalyst for Utah in its sport and Olympic legacy efforts and to help enhance Utah’s economy, image, and quality of life through the attraction, promotion, and development of national and international sports.

Since the 2002 Olympics and Paralympics, the Utah Sports Commission has attracted over 1000 major events to the state. The Sports Commission works closely with communities, sports entities, and organizations to provide event services ranging from the bid process, on-site logistics, volunteer coordination, sponsorships and promotional opportunities, and other related services.

It is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization and 501(c)6 Utah Sports Commission Foundation governed by an all-volunteer Board of Trustees consisting of statewide sports, business, community, and government leaders.

For more information, visit UtahSportsCommission.com or follow @stateofsport on social media.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)