University of Washington softball player Trystan Melhart was a finalist for The Herald’s 2016 Woman of the Year in Sports. (Photography by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

University of Washington softball player Trystan Melhart was a finalist for The Herald’s 2016 Woman of the Year in Sports. (Photography by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

Finalists for The Herald’s 2016 Woman of the Year in Sports

Related: Amy-Eloise Neale is our 2016 Woman of the Year in Sports

Desiree Miller, U.S. Paralympic basketball

Miller, a 2005 graduate of Monroe High School, was a member of the U.S. wheelchair basketball team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games held in September in Rio de Janerio.

Miller was one of 12 members of a U.S. team that was 7-0 in the tournament. The U.S. finished 4-0 in round-robin play to finish atop its group. The U.S. beat host Brazil 66-35 in the quarterfinals, topped Great Britain 89-78 in the semifinals, then defeated Germany 62-45 in the gold-medal game.

Miller was a key member of the gold-medal team. Among her highlights was scoring 24 points in the U.S.’s 70-36 victory over China during round-robin play.

Winning the gold medal was particularly sweet for Miller, as she was a member of the 2012 U.S. team that finished fourth in London, something that Miller said left “a bitter taste in our mouths.” But winning the gold “obviously was the goal and it was amazing.”

Liv Larson, Western Washington University soccer

Larson, a 2016 graduate of Arlington High School, made a big splash in her first season at Western, playing a significant role in the Vikings claiming the NCAA Division II national championship.

Larson, a freshman forward, had seven goals and five assists for the Vikings as she started 23 of Western’s 25 games. She helped the Vikings to a 24-0-1 record as Western knocked off three-time defending champ Grand Valley State 3-2 in the national title contest.

But Larson did her best work when it mattered most. Larson scored two goals in Western’s 5-1 victory over Colorado School of Mines in the national quarterfinals. Then she provided an assist in the Vikings’ 3-0 victory over Kutztown in the national semifinals. She scored five of her goals during Western’s final 10 games.

Larson’s contributions were acknowledged as she was named to the NCAA Division II Championship All-Tournament team. She was also an All-GNAC honorable mention selection.

Trystan Melhart, University of Washington softball

For Melhart, a 2014 graduate of Snohomish High School, 2016 was the year she stepped into prominence for one of the most prominent college softball programs in the nation, earning third-team All-Pac-12 honors.

A sophomore outfielder in 2016, Melhart was coming off a promising freshman campaign as a part-time player. She moved into the starting lineup full-time in 2016 and responded by leading the Huskies in batting (.378) and stolen bases (eight) as she split time between leading off and batting toward the bottom of the order. In 54 games the slap-hitting Melhart scored 42 runs and compiled a .462 on-base percentage.

Melhart helped the Huskies go 39-15 and reach the doorstep of the Women’s College World Series, as Washington was eliminated in the Super Regionals by Alabama.

Succeeding at Washington is fulfilling a dream for Melhart, for whom playing for the Huskies “is what I always wanted to do.”

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