posted 05.08.2013 at 3.19 p.m. by Matt DaSilva

Thornton Among Finalists for SI College Athlete of the Year Award

What does Northwestern senior midfielder Taylor Thornton have in common with Trey Burke, Brittney Griner and Khaled Holmes? They are all finalists for Sports Illustrated's College Athlete of the Year award.

Five men and five women made the final cut in SI's inaugural competition. Fan voting will determine the winners. Joining Thornton among women's finalists are Griner, the basketball standout from Baylor and recent WNBA No. 1 draft pick, Liz Brenner (Oregon volleyball and basketball), Kimberlyn Duncan (LSU track) and Loren Shealy (North Carolina field hockey).

As of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thornton trailed only Griner (31.88 percent) in garnering 24.74 percent of fans' votes.

The men's finalists are Burke, the Michigan point guard whose heroics against Kansas in the Sweet 16 put him over the top as the nation's best basketball player, Duke basketball's Tyler Thornton (no relation), Cornell wrestling's Kyle Dake and St. Cloud State hockey's Drew LeBlanc.

A graphic featuring Thornton and Burke appeared Wednesday on the front page of SI.com.

Thornton has 24 goals, 38 ground balls and 36 draw controls this season for the Wildcats, the two-time defending NCAA champions who will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming tournament. Northwestern will host the winner of Friday's first-round game between Notre Dame and Stanford in the round of 16 on Sunday.

Click here for SI's write-up on Thornton and to vote in the competition.