U.S. Women’s Athlete Of The Year — Shelby Houlihan

Shelby Houlihan’s punishing kick brought her national titles in both the 1500 & 5000. (MIKE SCOTT)

Track & Field News has been choosing a U.S. Women’s Athlete Of The Year since 1976. This year our international panel, as always, voted for athletes on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Taking 18 of the 27 votes for No. 1, 1500/5000 star Shelby Houlihan scored a convincing win over vaulter Sandi Morris, who was named No. 1 on 8 ballots, with the remaining top-choice vote going to hurdler Keni Harrison.

Amazingly enough, the choice of Houlihan as winner No. 43 makes her the first 1500 runner not named Mary Slaney ever to be No. 1. A 4-time USAOY, Slaney took her titles in ’80, ’82, ’83 & ’84… Only 4 of this year’s Top 10 are repeaters from last year: Emma Coburn was No. 2, Sandi Morris 4, Ajee’ Wilson 6 & Keni Harrison 7. Harrison (1 in ’16), Morris (4) & Coburn (8) all have 3-year streaks in the Top 10… Last year’s No. 1, Tori Bowie, was injured most of the season and received no votes.

View All The U.S. Women’s AOYs, 1976–2018 Jump To The U.S. Men’s Top 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Tot. %
1. Shelby Houlihan 18 7 2 259 95.9%
2. Sandi Morris 8 10 4 4 1 236 87.4%
3. Keni Harrison 1 4 12 5 2 1 1 196 72.6%
4. DeAnna Price 5 3 6 1 6 2 2 1 163 60.4%
5. Ajee’ Wilson 5 2 5 6 7 1 1 147 54.4%
6. Shamier Little 1 1 5 6 4 1 3 1 118 43.7%
7. Brianna McNeal 3 8 2 5 3 1 110 40.7%
8. Keturah Orji 1 2 3 2 4 1 2 58 21.5%
9. Erica Bougard 3 3 3 3 3 45 16.7%
10. Emma Coburn 1 1 1 4 4 7 44 16.3%
11. Raven Saunders 30; 12. Tori Franklin 21; 13. Phyllis Francis 17; 14. tie, Vashti Cunningham & Courtney Frerichs 12; 16. Jenna Prandini 7; 17. Gwen Berry 5; 18. Dalilah Muhammad 3; 19. Sharika Nelvis 2.

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