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Baseball Candidate for Sullivan Award

By AAU Baseball, 03/07/16, 12:45PM CST

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Former Cincinnati-Area High School Star and College Baseball College Player of the Year Andrew Benintendi Named Semi-Finalist for AAU James E. Sullivan Award

Arkansas Razorbacks product and No. 7 overall selection in 2015 Major League Baseball Draft earns place among top 17 for award given to best amateur athlete; Benintendi won 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 7, 2016) – The reigning Baseball America College Player of the Year is eyeing yet another prestigious award after his magnificent 2015 campaign at the University of Arkansas. The No. 7 overall pick by the Boston Red Sox in the MLB Draft, Andrew Benintendi (Madeira, Ohio) is the lone college baseball player among the top 17 semifinalists vying for the prestigious AAU James E. Sullivan Award, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced today.

Benintendi tore through the Southeastern Conference (SEC) last season and led the league in seemingly every offensive category. The 21-year-old outfielder led the SEC in batting average (.380), home runs (19), on-base percentage (.489), slugging percentage (.715) and walks (47). He was named the SEC Player of the Year and, for his incredible efforts during the season, was honored with the Dick Howser Trophy and the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.

Benintendi could become just the second baseball player (Jim Abbott, 1987) in history to claim the award.

“The AAU James E. Sullivan Award is a one-of-a-kind honor for all of our semi-finalists,” said Melissa Willis, AAU Sullivan Award National Chair. “It is remarkably unique in that it allows us the opportunity to recognize the most elite amateur athletes across every sport imaginable.”

The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize amateur contributions and achievements from non-professional athletes across the country.

World renowned golfer Robert “Bobby” Jones received the inaugural award in 1930 and swimmer Anne Curtis became the first female to accept the award in 1944. Other notable athletes to win the award include famed Olympians Mark Spitz (1971), Carl Lewis (1981), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986) and Michael Phelps (2003). Former UCLA basketball star Bill Walton (1973) and University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997) have also earned the prestigious honor.

Joining Benintendi as a semi-finalist for the 86th AAU Sullivan Award is Derrick Henry (Alabama football), Deshaun Watson (Clemson football), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford football), Keenan Reynolds (Navy football), Ben Simmons (LSU basketball), Nirra Fields (UCLA basketball), Kelsey Minato (Army basketball), Breanna Stewart (UCONN basketball), Mikaela Foecke (Nebraska volleyball), Ashleigh Johnson (USA Water Polo), Jordan Burroughs (USA Wrestling), Adeline Gray (USA Wrestling), Jamie Greubel Poser (USA Bobsled), Jordan Wilimovsky (USA Swimming), Brittany Bowe (USA Speedskating) and Simone Biles (USA Gymnastics).

"We are truly excited about this year's class of semi-finalists for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award," said Dr. Roger Goudy, President/CEO of the AAU. "Each one of them embodies everything this award aims to celebrate – athletic achievement, leadership, citizenship, character and sportsmanship – both on and off the field."

Voting is open to the public at www.aausullivan.org. Semi-finalist voting opens today and will close on March 14. Finalists for the 86th AAU Sullivan Award will be named on March 17.

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The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest- non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the country. As a multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports programs. Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in sports, the AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by nearly 700,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 35 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts. For more information, visit www.aausports.org.

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