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Vote for Iowa’s male athlete of the year
ANSWER: From unanimous All-Americans to dominant performances on the nation’s largest stages, Iowa’s 2017-18 sports season was filled with high moments from top performers. In fact, it was difficult to trim the field to six candidates for this category. In any other year, a few of these candidates would have coasted to the title of best male athlete.
Please vote among the six finalists. Land of 10 will unveil the winner on June 20.
Spencer Lee, wrestling. Lee (27-2) dominated the competition with 27.5 individual points en route to the 125-pound NCAA title. He became the first Iowa freshman since Lincoln McIlravy in 1993 and the first freshman since Matt McDonough in 2010 to win an individual championship. He won two NCAA matches by fall, two by technical fall and beat previously unbeaten Nick Suriano of Rutgers 5-1 in the finals.
Josh Jackson, football. Jackson was a unanimous first-team All-America cornerback and runner-up for the Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation’s top defensive back. Jackson tied former teammate Desmond King, Nile Kinnick and Lou King for the school’s single-season interception record with 8. That number led the nation. Jackson also defended 26 passes, which also led the country and was the second-highest total nationally since 2008. He was picked in the second round of the NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers.
Josey Jewell, football. Jewell was a unanimous first-team All-American and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Despite missing one game, Jewell recorded 136 tackles to lead the Big Ten, and he ranked fourth nationally in tackles per game (11.3). Jewell recorded double-digit tackles in all but three games during the 2017 season. In Iowa history, Jewell is the only player voted team captain by his teammates three consecutive seasons. He was chosen by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the NFL draft.
Tyler Cropley, baseball. Cropley was a first-team All-Big Ten catcher and a second-team All-American. Cropley hit a team-high .342 and led the team in hits (68), doubles (20), RBI (50), slugging percentage (.578), and on-base percentage (.449). Cropley also tied for the team lead with 43 runs and was second with 9 home runs. Cropley ranked in the top 15 in nine Big Ten offensive categories. He was selected in the eighth round of the MLB draft by the Washington Nationals.
Mar’yea Harris, track. Harris, a junior, became Iowa’s fifth All-American in the 400-meter run with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA meet last Friday. Harris’ finish in 45.00 seconds included the event’s new college record holder. Making Harris’ finish more extraordinary is that he placed fourth while running in Lane 8.
Reno Tuufuli, discus. Tuufuli, a junior, repeated a fifth-place finish in the discus at the NCAA finals with a mark of 189 feet. Tuufuli was in eighth place entering his final attempt, but he unleashed his best throw to become Iowa’s seventh All-American in the event.
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