Stanford women's water polo junior Maggie Steffens, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist and two-time ACWPC first team All-American, was named as a semifinalist for the 85th annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award, the organization announced on Monday.
Known as the "Oscar" of sports awards, and older than The Heisman, the AAU Sullivan Award honors the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. It has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to founder, past president of the AAU, and a pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan. Besides athletic achievement, the AAU Sullivan Award also looks for leadership, character and sportsmanship. Past recipients of the award include: Bruce Jenner (1976), Peyton Manning (1997), Michael Phelps (2003), J.J. Redick (2005), Tim Tebow (2007), Shawn Johnson (2008), and Missy Franklin (2012).
Voting is open to everyone (sport fans, news media, coaches, family, friends) and is located at www.aausullivan.org or www.aausports.org.
In early December, Steffens was named the FINA Women's Water Polo Athlete of the Year for the second time. The American beat out five other finalists in Kami Craig (USA), Maica Garcia (ESP), Giulia Gorlero (ITA), Rita Keszthelyi (HUN), and Rowie Webster (AUS).
Steffens delivered 12 goals helping Team USA earn a second consecutive FINA World Cup crown in 2014. She was second on the team in scoring with 11 goals in a gold medal effort at the 2014 FINA World League Super Final. Steffens is the first female two-time winner of the award, which was inaugurated in 2010. She was also named the FINA Women's Water Polo Athlete of the Year in 2012 before making her collegiate debut with the Cardinal.
Steffens earned Olympic MVP honors and led all players with 21 goals as the U.S. captured gold at the 2012 London Games. She scored five goals in that Olympic Final against Spain and matched the Olympic record with seven goals in the tournament-opening U.S. win over Hungary.
This past May, Steffens helped Stanford capture its third NCAA title in four years and fourth overall. She provided one of the main punches for the Cardinal offense, sharing the team scoring crown with Kiley Neushul (51 goals). Steffens tallied six hat tricks to power an offense that averaged 13.31 goals per game and earned her second consecutive ACWPC All-America First Team nod.
Steffens and the Cardinal are 14-1 overall and 1-0 in MPSF play in 2015. She is third on the team with 27 goals and her 138 career scores are 12th all-time in Stanford history. The Cardinal is next in action when it hosts Harvard on Friday, March 20 at Avery Aquatic Center at 7 p.m. Harvard is coached by former Castilleja head man Ted Minnis.