Gonzaga basketball was named the story of the year at the MTRWestern gala Thursday night.
Two Huskies took home high honors at the 83rd annual MTRWestern Sports Star of the Year gala Thursday evening.
Washington’s Ali Aguilar and Dante Pettis were named the female and male Sports Stars of the Year, respectively, before a sold-out banquet room at the Sheraton Seattle.
Aguilar, as an All-American senior shortstop for the UW softball team last year, hit .352 with a team-best 14 home runs in leading the Huskies to the College World Series.
“I never expected anything like this,” said Aguilar, who now plays for the Texas-based Scrap Yard Dawgs of the National Pro Fastpitch League. She will also play for Team USA in the world championships this summer.
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It’s the second year in a row a UW athlete has won the female Sports Star award, following basketball star Kelsey Plum’s win in 2017.
Pettis, the Huskies’ All-American wide receiver and punt returner, is the first UW football player to win the Sports Star award since Chris Polk in 2011. Pettis, in Southern California training for the NFL Combine, was not able to attend the gala but did tape a video message to say thanks.
After reaching the men’s Final Four last spring, Gonzaga basketball was named the story of the year.
Also Thursday, Bretton Chitwood and Colton Schmidt were presented the Wayne Gittinger Inspirational Youth Award.
Chitwood, a teenager from Lynden, has had some 30 rounds of chemotherapy and six surgeries in a bout with bone cancer, and he has continued to play his beloved hockey despite the amputation of his right foot.
Schmidt, an Othello High School graduate, has overcome disabilities and health issues to play four sports and coach two middle-school Special Olympics. He is on the soccer team that will represent Washington in the Special Olympics USA Games, scheduled July 1-6 in Seattle.
John Clayton, introduced by Seahawks star Richard Sherman, was presented the Keith Jackson Award, given to a member of the media for excellence.
Doris Brown Heritage, a two-time Olympic runner (1968 and 1972) and former world-record holder, was presented the Royal Brougham lifetime achievement award. And former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton received the Paul Allen Award, presented to a person who has made a significant philanthropic contribution.