It's no surprise that last year's male winner of the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association's athlete of the year award is a finalist this year.
The MSSA announced its 2012 finalists on Thursday for the male and female athletes of the year and the team of the year and the male nominee is again B.C. Lions standout running back Andrew Harris.
Paralympic gold medallist and wheelchair racer Michelle Stilwell, the 2008 winner, and world silver medallist racquetball player Jennifer Saunders, the winner in 2009, are again finalists for the female athlete of the year award.
Other finalists in the female category are Olympic bronze medallist and Team Canada women's soccer player Desiree Scott, Jocelyne Larocque of Canada's national women's gold medal-winning hockey team from the World Championship, and Olympic silver medallist rower Janine Hanson of Canada's women's eights team.
The winners will be announced Jan. 27, 2013 at the 57th annual Athletes of the Year dinner at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
Harris, a Winnipeg native, was a Canadian Football League all-star who led the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,830 and was third in rushing with 1,112 yards. The other male finalists include Paralymic gold medallist Joey Johnson from Canada's men's wheelchair basketball team, University of Manitoba Bisons volleyball player Dane Pischke, was a Canadian Interuniversity Sport first-team all-Canadian and first-team Canada West all-star, Western Hockey League player of the year Brendan Shinnimin of the Tri-City Americans and Manitoba amateur golfer of the year Josh Wytinck.
The team finalists are the American Association baseball champion Winnipeg Goldeyes, the Allan Cup champion South East Prairie Thunder senior men's hockey team, the Esso Cup national midget women's hockey champion Pembina Valley Hawks, the Kelly Robertson men's runner-up team from the world senior curling event and the national under-18 male soccer club team champion FC Northwest.
Other awards to be presented at the dinner include the Cactus Jack Wells Memorial trophy to recognize the event or individual creating a major impact on the Manitoba sports scene, the Dallis Beck Memorial Good Guy/Gal award to an individual who provides exceptional support to the sports media, and the Jack Matheson Memorial awards to post-secondary students interested in a career in sports journalism or sports public relations.
Paul Edmonds, the Winnipeg Goldeyes broadcast announcer, will be inducted into the MSSA Media Roll of Honour.
For tickets to the dinner, contact MSSA secretary-treasurer Bob Picken at 489-8642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.