Gopher women's hockey standout Amanda Kessel has trumped some pretty stiff competition to top a USA Today poll as 2013's top athlete.
The poll, conducted by Ad Meter, named Kessel "The Kia Most Dynamic Athlete of 2013" most notably for "putting up 101 points in 38 games for her undefeated University of Minnesota team." The Gophers were 41-0 last season.
Her 31 percent beat Los Angeles Dodger sensation Yasiel Puig (13 percent), 49ers quarterback and near-Super Bowl champ Colin Kaepernick (30 percent), mixed-martial arts powerhouse Jon "Bones" Jones (5 percent) and Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel (20 percent).
Pretty heady company, and USA Today calls it "the upset of the year in sports," especially since, as GopherSports notes, Kaepernick was pushing his candidacy on Facebook.
Kessel, who has an older brother Phil who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs, is currently training with the U.S. Women's National Team in hopes of competing for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Kessel has an undisclosed "lower-body injury," but as the Star Tribune reports Wednesday, she is expected to be healthy when the Olympics start.