Trey Cunningham Edges Bryce Young for ASWA Amateur Athlete of the Year
By Christopher Walsh,2023-06-06
When you're considered the best in your sport, it's the ultimate compliment.
The Heisman Trophy. The Naismith or Wooden. The Golden Spikes. They all correspond with being considered the most valuable player, the player of the year, or the outstanding player depending on the specific sport and award criteria.
In track and field, it's known as the Bowerman Award, and last year it went to Trey Cunningham, a hurdles ace for Florida State University, who hails from Winfield, Ala.
For piecing together one of the greatest hurdle seasons in collegiate history, Cunningham was named the Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association on Tuesday. In close voting, he edged last year's winner, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, the 2021 Heisman winner who was the first-overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.
"Hurdlers like to race because it’s a rhythm thing," Cunningham told Let'sRun.com last year. "And once you find the rhythm, you don’t want to stop."
He didn't. Before wrapping up his collegiate career and signing a professional deal with adidas, Cunningham won NCAA titles in the 60 hurdles indoors and 110 hurdles outdoors, while moving to second on the all-time NCAA list in both events (7.38 seconds in the 60, 13.00 in the 110).
For an encore, he finished second at both the USATF Championships and the World Championships.
Cunningham had just as much academic success as well. He was named the National Indoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year to go along with his ACC Indoor and Outdoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards.
These past few months he's continued to train in Tallahassee, Fla., while wrapping up his master's degree in sport management, although his thesis has had more to do with the mental side of his sport and how one's personality can be an indicator of competitive burnout.
"So I’m using the big five: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, and out of those five, two of them are showing strong signs – it’s conscientiousness and neuroticism," he said. "So neuroticism is positively correlated with burnout. So if you’re more inclined to be negatively responding to things, it makes sense. And then conscientiousness is negatively related to it."
Cunningham was also named the 2022 Track and Field News National Athlete of the Year, the 2022 ACC Men’s Outdoor Track Performer of the Year, and the 2022 USTFCCCA Outdoor South Region Track Athlete of the Year