LAWRENCE, KANSAS–As we near the end of the 2014 calendar year, we wanted to highlight some great sports moments that our Native American athletes have been apart of or accomplished themselves. We also wanted to take the time to say thank you to your the reader for being a fan of our website and social media accounts. All of these athletes deserve the recognition they get and more and we only hope that you share these stories of accomplishments in the hopes they will inspire the next generation of Native American athletes.
These are by no means a ranking of event but more of a timeline of the year in review:
1. Preston Wynne, Spokane Tribe of Indians, helped lead his Vanguard Lions to the NAIA Division I National Championship and along the way was named the NAIA Tournament MVP. He became the first ever Native American athlete to ever win this award. Once we got the word out about Preston after this tournament his story was picked up in Sports Illustrated and our own photographer Ryan Coody’s photo was published with their story. Preston now plays basketball professionally overseas. Story….”NAIA MVP Preston Wynne Inspires Native Americans“
2. Newtown High School’s Joe Baker from New Town, ND and a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation on the on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, made a half court shot that was the #1 play on ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the day for March 6th. The play was from the 2014 State Class B Boys Basketball Tournament where they eventually fell Rugby.
Watch the #1 Play of the Day:
3. What is a native sports highlight list without a Schimmel sister. Back in April, Shoni Schimmel became the 3rd Native American woman to be drafted, and the highest drafted, into the Women’s National Basketball Association. She was selected as the 8th overall pick in the draft by the Atlanta Dream. Shoni said, “Its definitely a blessing to be able to be in the WNBA…I definitely think I can bring a little flavor to the league”. Read the story….”Shoni Schimmel Drafted by the Atlanta Dream“
4. Probably one of the biggest stories of the year was Lyle and Miles Thompson, Onondaga Nation, winning the Tewaaraton Award together as c0-winners. The Tewaaraton award is known the Heisman trophy of lacrosse and is the highest award a lacrosse player can receive in college. The two brothers both broke NCAA records for the most points in a single season and became two of the most exciting players in the game of lacrosse. Read the story at…”Thompsons Win Tewaaraton Together, Wouldn’t Have It Any Different“
5. Another big story of the year was Nike N7 ambassador Chris Wondolowski, Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, being selected to the USA Men’s National Soccer team (USMNT) to participate in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil this summer. Over the last four years, Wondolowski has been the most prolific American goal scorer with 84 goals in his last 150 games. He led the league in goals in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and was named Volkswagen MLS Most Valuable Player in 2012 after tying the MLS record for goals in a single-season with 27.
6. The Iroquois Nationals made a lot of noise this summer as being one of the favorite teams to win the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships that were held in Denver, Colorado in July. The Nationals completed their highest finish at the world championship by defeating Australia to reach the podium for the Bronze medal. Read the story at…”The Iroquois Nationals at the World Lacrosse Championships“
7. Shoni Schimmel wins the WNBA All-Star game MVP award. Okay, like you didn’t know this story was coming and this was probably the biggest Native American sports story of the year. Showtime Shoni Schimmel, not even a starter on her own team and was questioned by the media and fans alike for even being voted to the All-Star game, walked away with a record 29 points and the games MVP award. Shoni put on a show for the fans in Phoenix, Arizona and also became the first rookie to ever win the game MVP award winner as well. Read the story here…”Showtime Shoni Schimmel Leads East Over West In WNBA All-Star Game“
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in NDNSports. Used with permission. All rights apply.