From preps to pros, Mile High Sports recognizes the top athletes, coaches, executives and teams each year.

These outstanding individuals were among the best in their respective sports in 2017, earning nominations as finalists for the annual Mile High Sports Awards.

Check out the January 2018 edition of Mile High Sports Magazine to see who is named the Professional Athlete of the Year.

Professional Athlete of the Year Finalists

Nolan Arenado
Colorado Rockies

Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The best third baseman in baseball mashed again in 2017, hitting 37 home runs and posting 130 RBIs – and that’s still not the best part of his game. Nolan Arenado won his fifth straight Gold Glove with a career-high .979 fielding percentage. He could’ve been NL MVP (finishing a bogus fourth place) and is certainly a deserving candidate again for the award he won last season.

Charlie Blackmon
Colorado Rockies

Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

En route to setting a MLB record with 103 RBIs out of the leadoff spot (104 overall), Charlie Blackmon slugged 37 home runs, 35 doubles, a MLB-best 14 triples, and, by the way, won the NL batting title at .331, a second consecutive Silver Slugger award, appeared in his second career All-Star Game and finished fifth in NL MVP voting.

Emma Coburn
USA Track & Field

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Another year, another glowing campaign for Emma Coburn. But 2017 is one she’ll never forget. Crested Butte’s finest, and a CU graduate, Coburn won the 2017 World Championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase held in London, posting a record time of 9:02.58 and becoming the first-ever American woman to win a world steeplechase title. Keep an eye on Coburn to challenge the women’s World Record of 8:52.78 in the future.

Nikola Jokic
Denver Nuggets

Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic – aka The Joker – became a household name in 2017, announcing to the NBA that he has a chance to be an MVP someday. ESPN ranked the Nuggets’ center the 16th-best player in the league in the preseason. Despite a slow 2017-18 start plagued by injury, we saw that last season too. Jokic has superstar written all over him.

Jack Kelly
Denver Outlaws

Credit: Jerome Miron-Pretty Instant

The Outlaws’ goalie stopped a lot of shots in 2017 with a .548 save percentage. He also scored one of his own. Jack Kelly posted his first career goal on one of the wildest shots in lacrosse history, flinging a full-field heave against Atlanta that stunned the other goalie and went in. That amazing play, paired with his membership on the Inside Lacrosse All-MLL First Team, earned him the nomination.

Matt Register
Colorado Eagles

Credit: Standout Imagery

Matt Register won a trophy in 2017 that he had already won before. The Eagles’ defenseman took home ECHL Defenseman of the Year honors for the second time in an already impressive career. To make things sweeter, his Colorado Eagles went on to win the Kelly Cup – and he was named the finals MVP. Register re-signed with the Eagles in September of 2017, giving Eagles fans another season to watch on the ECHL’s best.

Mikaela Shiffrin
USA Skiing

Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

The pride of Eagle-Vail, Mikaela Shriffin passed Bode Miller for second place on the all-time World Cup wins list amongst American skiers in late December. She was also running away with the women’s World Cup, posting 621 points, almost 200 ahead of the next closest racer. Shriffin, only 22, will undoubtedly win hardware for a long time.

Martin Truex Jr.

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Martin Truex Jr. drove the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota Camry to a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship, the first ever by a team west of the Mississippi, in dominating fashion. Truex won eight races in total, led the circuit in wins, stage wins, laps led, top-5 finishes and top-10 finishes.