The University of Utah has been honored with four Utah Governor’s State of Sport Awards, presented by the Utah Sports Commission. Zack Moss and MyKayla Skinner swept the men’s and women’s Collegiate Athlete of the Year awards while the ski team was honored as Team of the Year and men’s basketball’s victory over sixth-ranked Kentucky was selected as Highlight of the Year.
Honorees are selected based on their accomplishments during the 2019 calendar year. A panel of Utah media and sports industry leaders review categories and potential nominees, determining those that had the most remarkable accomplishments in the previous year.
Moss earned All-America honors and was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2019. He finished the season ranked No. 13 in the FBS and No. 1 in the Pac-12 in rushing touchdowns, No. 14 in the FBS and first in the league in rushing yards (1,416) and No. 12 in the FBS and first in the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game (108.9). Moss had eight 100-yard rushing games, including a season-high 203-yard game against Arizona. Among the Utah career records he set includes rushing yards (4,167), rushing touchdowns (38) and 100-yard rushing games (18).
Skinner earned eight All-America honors in 2019 (four NCAA, four regular season). She had four top-10 NCAA finishes across both semifinals (fifth vault, fifth floor, sixth beam, seventh all-around) and was the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional all-around and floor champion. Skinner was the Pac-12 Champion on both vault and floor and finished as the runner-up in the all-around. She was five-time All-Pac-12, earning first-team honors in the all-around, vault, beam and floor. Skinner hit on 56-of-57 routines with 34 victories. She is the fifth Utah gymnast to earn the State of Sport Collegiate Female of the Year award and the first since 2016.
The ski team won its second title in three seasons in 2019, Utah’s 12th NCAA title in its history. Julia Richter won the NCAA title in the 5-km freestyle and eight skiers combined for 12 All-America honors with five podium finishes at the championships, and Utah was the top-scoring team in three of the four Nordic races as well as women’s giant slalom. The Utes won four of the five RMISA meets held during the regular season, including the NCAA Regional/RMISA Championship. Skiing also earned State of Sport Team of the Year honors in 2018 for its 2017 title.
Basketball’s win over sixth-ranked Kentucky was Utah’s first victory over an AP top-10 team since 2016. Utah led by as many as 17 points in the second half before the Wildcats rallied to tie the game with 1:43 remaining. Timmy Allen, who led the Utes with 25 points, put the Utes up by two with a bucket after a timeout and also pulled down the rebound on the other end of the floor following a missed shot by Kentucky. He subsequently made one of two free throws with 15 seconds remaining and the Ute defense held strong for several late three-point attempts from the Wildcats.