What a year!
To reflect on 2015, we asked the staff at Arizona Sports 98.7 and Arizona Sports.com to cast their ballots for the Arizona Athlete of the Year.
Each respondent ranked their top five choices from all corners of the sports world.
After the votes were tabulated, we’re pleased to announce Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is the 2015 Arizona Sports Athlete of the Year.
Palmer is having his finest season as a professional quarterback. The 36-year-old (as of the publishing of this article) has completed 330-of-512 passes for 4,542 yards and a franchise-record 34 touchdowns while leading the Cardinals to an NFC West title and a 13-2 record. He’s considered one of the front-runners for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award, along with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Palmer edged out Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who had another sterling season in 2015. The three-time All-Star batted .321 with 33 home runs and 110 RBI while winning his second Gold Glove and second Silver Slugger Award. The 28-year-old finished second in the National League MVP balloting behind Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.
Considering their success in 2015, the Cardinals dominated the voting, with four players finishing near the top of the Arizona Sports results. Cornerback Patrick Peterson finished third, while wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu rounded out the top five.
While professional athletes ranked high on the list, amateurs got their due as well. Golfer Hannah O’Sullivan, a 17-year-old from Chandler, picked up a second-place vote after winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur Golf Championship in Portland, Ore. last August. O’Sullivan has committed to play at the University of Southern California.
Also on the list was Marvin Bagley III, who as a freshman led Corona del Sol High School to a fourth straight state title last March. Bagley enrolled at Hillcrest Prep, but left early in the season. He is considered the top recruit in the nation for the 2018 class.
Xavier Prep’s Khalia Lanier, who was named the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year, picked up one fourth-place vote. Lanier, the daughter of Basketball Hall-of-Famer Bob Lanier, is headed to USC to play collegiately.
Check out full voting results below:
Arizona Sports 2015 Athlete of the Year Voting
|Carson Palmer, Cardinals||12||1||1||–||–||67|
|Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs||1||9||4||–||–||53|
|Patrick Peterson, Cardinals||1||1||4||3||–||31|
|Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals||–||1||4||3||1||23|
|Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals||–||1||1||2||3||18|
|A.J. Pollock, D-backs||–||–||–||1||5||7|
|T.J. McConnell, Arizona Basketball||–||–||2||–||–||6|
|Hannah O’Sullivan, Amateur Golfer||–||1||–||–||–||4|
|Marvin Bagley, HS Basketball||–||–||1||–||–||3|
|Eric Bledsoe, Suns||–||–||–||1||–||2|
|Brittney Griner, Mercury||–||–||–||1||–||2|
|Stanley Johnson, Arizona Basketball||–||–||–||–||2||2|
|Khalia Lanier, Xavier Prep Volleyball||–||–||–||1||–||2|
|Brad Ziegler, D-backs||–||–||–||–||2||2|
|Max Domi, Coyotes||–||–||–||–||1||1|