BILLINGS — The Montana Amateur Athletic Union has named its eight finalists for the 2022 Little Sullivan Award.
The female finalists are Ali Weisz, Carley VonHeeder, Lucy Corbett and Nicole Heavirland. The male finalists are Matt Dey, Nick Kunz, Logan Nelson and Troy Andersen.
The two award winners will be announced at the Montana AAU Little Sullivan Awards Banquet on May 7 in Billings. To cast votes for the male and female winners, please email email@example.com by Thursday, April 28.
Montana softball player Tristin Achenbach of Choteau and Iowa State wrestler Jarrett Degen of Belgrade won the 2021 Montana AAU Little Sullivan Awards.
Weisz is an elite sports shooter from Belgrade who has earned multiple accolades across the country and world, including a 2016 NCAA Championships bronze medal in the 10m Air Rifle event. She earned gold in the same event at the 2019 Pan American Games and was named to the U.S. Olympic Team for the Tokyo Games. Weisz attended Ole Miss and the University of Memphis.
VonHeeder starred for the Montana State University track team after graduating from Plains High School. She was a four-time state qualifier and two-time state champion in the javelin during her prep career. At MSU, VonHeeder earned all-Big Sky Conference honors in 2019 following a 151-04 mark in the javelin at the conference championships. She won the Big Sky Conference title her senior season, breaking the MSU school record with a throw of 173-10.
Corbett made a splash in one year of competition at Bozeman High School, finishing second in the high jump, third in the 300-meter hurdles and sixth in the 100-meter hurdles at the Class AA state track meet. As a freshman at Montana State, Corbett earned a high jump gold medal at the Big Sky Indoor Championships, then duplicated the effort the following season. She became MSU’s outdoor (6-00) and indoor (5-10) school record holder in the high jump and competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Heavirland, of Whitefish, began playing rugby at the age of 15, and, despite playing basketball her first semester at Army West Point, she transitioned to the ruby in the spring of 2015. She was named U.S. Military Academy All-American the same year, and was selected as a reserve for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Heavirland competed in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland, and recently competed for Team USA at the Tokyo Games.
Dey was an all-conference and all-state athlete during his prep career at Sidney High School, collecting Class A all-state center recognition in 2015. He was also selected to participate in the Montana East-West Shrine Game. Dey continued his football career at Dickinson State University, earning all-conference and all-American accolades in 2020 and 2021. Dey collected the NAIA Rimington Award as the nation’s best center in 2021.
Kunz was a three-time all-state wrestler at Helena Capital, placing runner-up twice at the Class AA state tournament. He left the program as the Bruins’ all-time wins holder and became a five-time qualifier at the NAIA National Championships at MSU-Northern. Kunz reached the sport’s pinnacle in 2020, capturing an NAIA national title. He earned a second all-American accolade with an eighth-place finish in 2021.
Nelson was a quarterback and punter at Billings Skyview, receiving all-conference honors twice. He also helped the Falcons to a Class AA state basketball championship. Nelson has blossomed at the University of Mary with all-conference and all-American recognitions at the quarterback position. He finished the regular season leading NCAA Division II in passing yards per game (337.5); was second in points responsible for per game (24.0); third in total offense (338.8), passing yards (3,712) and passing touchdowns (41); fifth in total points responsible for (264); sixth in completions per game (25.8); 10th in passing efficiency (163.7) and 12th in completion percentage (64.8%).
Andersen, a finalist from a year ago, left Montana State as one of the most decorated athletes in school history. The all-state quarterback from Dillon was named the Big Sky Conference freshman of the year and HERO Sports Freshman all-American in 2017; first-team all-Big Sky Conference quarterback, HERO Sports Sophomore all-American and third-team FCS Stats all-American in 2018; and in 2019 collected first-team all-Big Sky Conference linebacker honors, first-team HERO Sports all-American, and was named to the FCS Walter Payton Watch List as an athlete. In 2021, Andersen was a unanimous first-team all-conference and all-American linebacker, earning Big Sky Conference and FCS ADA Defensive Player of the Year honors. He was also selected to the 2022 Senior Bowl.
The Little Sullivan Award was created by the late David and Ella Rivenes of Miles City. David Rivenes served as the national AAU President and held numerous positions within the Montana AAU and Miles City sports communities. The Rivenes family created the Little Sullivan Award to honor outstanding male and female athletes in the Treasure State that display qualities of athletic excellence, leadership, character, sportsmanship and ideals of amateurism, according to the Montana Amateur Athletic Union.