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Wisconsin Volleyball Star Receives ESPY Nomination



Wisconsin Badgers Volleyball National Player of the Year Sarah Franklin
Wisconsin outside hitter Sarah Franklin (13) smiles as her name is chanted at the end of the game against Nebraska on Friday November 24, 2023 at the UW Field House in Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin volleyball ended its 2023 season with heartbreak in the national semifinal. The Badgers fell in four sets to the eventual national champion Texas Longhorns inside Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

Although the national championship was the ultimate goal for head coach Kelly Sheffield’s group, several took home individual accolades. Nobody put together a more impressive individual season than outside hitter Sarah Franklin. Franklin’s season was so great that she continues to receive honors six months after its end.

Wisconsin Volleyball OH Sarah Franklin Nominated for ESPY

Wisconsin volleyball outside hitter Sarah Franklin attempts to score against the Nebraska Cornhuskers

Oct 21, 2023; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers outside hitter Merritt Beason (13) and middle blocker Andi Jackson (15) go up to block Wisconsin Badgers outside hitter Sarah Franklin (13) during the fifth set at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The ESPY Awards, presented by ABC and previously by ESPN, announced its 2024 nominees Wednesday. Among the nominees is Wisconsin volleyball star Sarah Franklin. The six-foot-four outside hitter is nominated for the Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports award.

After transferring to Wisconsin from Michigan State, the graduate student has dominated. Her 486 blocks in 2023 ranked fifth in the Big Ten and were 200 more than any other Badger recorded last season. The Lake Worth, Florida’s efforts earned her Big Ten Player of the Year honors. She was also the second UW player in program history named the AVCA National Player of the Year.

Wisconsin Badgers at the ESPYs

Wisconsin basketball; Badgers star center Frank Kaminsky

Apr 6, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Frank Kaminsky before the 2015 NCAA Men’s Division I Championship game against the Duke Blue Devils at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In a radio interview with ESPN Radio in May, Sheffield was asked about the increased TV viewership numbers for women’s college volleyball and basketball. In response, the five-time Big Ten champion said, “we’ve got our own Caitlin Clark here in Sarah Franklin.” Clark and Franklin, each the national player of the year in their respective sports, are nominated in the same category at the ESPYs.

Also nominated in the Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports Category are LSU gymnast Haleigh Bryant and Northwestern lacrosse star Izzy Scane. Bryant won the 2024 NCAA All Around national championship. Scane is the all-time goals leader in Division 1 women’s lacrosse.

Franklin is the third Badger nominated for an ESPY as a current student-athlete. In 2010, Blake Geoffrion was a nominee for Best Male College Athlete after becoming the first Wisconsin men’s hockey player to win the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in men’s college hockey. Frank Kaminsky was nominated for Best Male College Athlete in 2015 after sweeping the men’s college basketball national player of the year awards.

The 2024 ESPYS, hosted by Serena Williams, will air live on Thursday, July 11th, at 7 PM CDT on ABC. Fans can vote online for the nominees here. 

Wisconsin Volleyball Schedule Release: 3 Big Takeaways

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BadgerNotes' resident college basketball sicko, Kedrick Stumbris covers Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball and women's hockey teams unlike anyone else. He received his B.A. with economics and political science majors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018 and has had his work published on Bleacher Report and Verbal Commits.