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Greater Cleveland Sports Awards celebrate best of Cleveland sports

The 16th Annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards presented by Medical Mutual and FirstMerit honored the best of Cleveland sports Thursday night at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard – a graduate of Cleveland St. Joseph's High School – hosted a sell-out crowd of over 1,200.

The event is the primary annual fundraiser for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. The Sports Commission, a 501c(3) non-profit, aims to improve the economy, image and quality of life in Greater Cleveland by attracting, managing and creating major sporting events.

16th Annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards Finalists – WINNERS IN BOLD

High School Athlete of the Year presented by University Hospitals Sports Medicine

Esa Ahmad, Basketball, Shaker Heights High School

Alecia Farina, Gymnastics, Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School

Hallie Thome, Basketball, Chagrin Falls High School

Amateur Athlete of the Year

Tianna Bartoletta, USA Track and Field, Elyria

Emily Infeld, USA Track and Field, University Heights

Cleveland Baseball Federation Softball Team – 2015 RBI World Series Champion

Collegiate Athlete of the Year

Connor Cook, Football, Michigan State University, Hinckley

University of Mount Union Football Team

Nathan Tomasello, Wrestling, Ohio State University, Parma

Aaron White, Basketball, University of Iowa, Strongsville

Professional Athlete of the Year presented by FOX Sports Ohio

Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians

Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland sports broadcaster Jim Donovan was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Donovan has been the sports anchor at WKYC for 31 years and the radio play-by-play voice for the Cleveland Browns since 1991. In a special moment, broadcast partner Doug Dieken and Browns quarterback Josh McCown presented Donovan with the award.

The Cleveland Clinic Courage Award was presented to Westlake teenager Colin Teets by legendary boxing promotor Don King. Teets suffered a debilitating brain injury eight years ago while playing hockey. After numerous surgeries, having to be revived twice, and years of rehabilitation to learn basic motor functions, Colin returned to the ice last winter as a member of the Westlake High School varsity hockey team. He would go on to score a goal during a game at Quicken Loans Arena. Colin's full story can be found at

Cleveland Indians' Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis awarded the Amateur Athlete of the Year award to the Cleveland Baseball Federation RBI Softball Team. During their acceptance speech, the team representatives were surprised by over a dozen other Indians' players.

The Cleveland Cavaliers playoff run was named Horseshoe Casino Cleveland Best Moment in Cleveland Sports. Broadcasters Austin Carr, John Michael, and Rafael Hernandez Brito accepted the award on behalf of the Cavs.

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The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission prides itself on being one of the most distinguished Sports Commissions in the country, effectively leveraging sports events and activities to further economic development in Northeast Ohio. The philosophy of the Sports Commission sets it apart from others by operating as an economic and community development organization utilizing sports as a vehicle to forward other community agendas. The organization takes the unique approach of becoming a management and financial partner in each event with the goal of producing events that are more successful in Cleveland than other cities in which they have been held. Since 2000, the Sports Commission has been responsible for attracting over 160 sporting events contributing more than $460 million in economic activity. For more information, visit

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