Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jessica Pixler wins Seattle Female Sports Star of the Year Award...

Seattle Pacific University graduate Jessica Pixler (left/photo by Paul Merca) beat out four other women to win the Seattle Female Sports Star of the Year award Wednesday night at Benaroya Hall.

The 2010 SPU graduate from Sammamish's Eastlake High School, just east of Seattle, was selected as the top overall female by an online fans vote. Among the nominees that she beat out were middle distance standout Katie Follett from the University of Washington.

Other nominees for the award were world champion swimmer Ariana Kukors of Auburn, UW volleyball player Jenna Hagglund, and U.S. Olympic hockey player Karen Thatcher.

Pixler is the second SPU distance runner to earn the award, following in the footsteps of the legendary Doris Brown Heritage, who won the award in 1970.

The award dates back to 1935 when the now-late Seattle Post-Intelligencer sports editor Royal Brougham – for whom SPU’s primary athletic facility is named – started the annual event.

Upon presentation of the award by Washington governor Christine Gregoire and Olympic goalkeeper Hope Solo, Pixler, who had been nominated for this award on two other occasions, seemed genuinely shocked.

“I just think that knowing who has won this award in the past and the people who were up for the award, I was not expecting this at all,” she said.

In her acceptance speech before a packed Benaroya Hall which had the feel of a local version of ESPN's ESPY awards show, she said, "This might be the most meaningful. It was really special to me because Doris has won it before”

“Just knowing the legacy behind it and that someone like Doris has won, and knowing it came from the Seattle community (from the online fans vote) gave a huge magnitude to it. Seattle has been a big part of my sports upbringing, and I was really touched that the community really honors and supports me.”

Before experiencing technical issues, here is part of the video interview conducted with Pixler on the red carpet:

Pixler is not done with her NCAA collegiate career, as she missed the 2008 outdoor season with an injury, including the US Olympic Trials. She is currently training and will compete for the University of Colorado this spring, where she is attending graduate school, as opposed to competing professionally, which she had the option to pursue.

NOTE: The Seattle Pacific University sports information office and the Seattle Sports Commission contributed to this report.

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