Kendell Williams, a senior heptathlete from the University of Georgia, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for Track & Field as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 41 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Williams becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2017 Honda Cup, which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 26, 2017, in downtown Los Angeles.
Williams was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Maggie Ewen (Arizona State), Keturah Orji (Georgia) and Raeyvn Rogers (Oregon).
“This award means a great deal to me and my family,” said Williams. “There are so many elite collegiate athletes out there, so it’s an honor to be recognized as one of the best.”
A native of Marietta, Ga., Williams completed the combined event sweep during the indoor and outdoor seasons and became the only woman in NCAA Division I Indoor history to win the same event four times in a row. The senior ends her career with seven of the top-10 marks in collegiate history and is a three-time United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year. She posted the largest margin of victory (306 points) since 2012 in the 2017 NCAA Outdoor pentathlon.
Overall, she is a 10-time USTFCCCA first-team All-American and a member of the Bowerman Watch List as the top track athlete in the nation. She holds collegiate all-time bests in the pentathlon 60m hurdles (8.03) and heptathlon 100m hurdles (12.83) and extended her streak of 6200-point performances at the NCAA meet to three in a row. The U.S. Olympian is also a two-time Honda Award nominee for Track & Field having been on the ballot last year.
“This is a tremendous honor for Kendell and our track and field program,” stated head coach Petros Kyprianou. “A true testament to the phrase 'hard work pays off' and 'good things happen to good people.' This is the beginning of a wonderful career as a post collegian for Kendell. Having two finalists (Keturah) says a lot about the level of student-athletes we have on our team. Kendell has worked very hard for every accolade she has gathered the last four years at Georgia. A great human being and a gifted athlete Kendell will be seeing a lot of similar awards down the road. I am very happy for her and hope she cherishes this great moment with her family that has supported her since day one!”
"We are so proud of Kendell for being recognized for such a prestigious award, “said J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “Kendell is a remarkable woman on and off the track, and she has always represented UGA in an outstanding manner.”
Five other student-athletes from the sport of track & field have gone on to win the prestigious Honda Cup, including Jackie Joyner (UCLA, 1985) and most recently Angela Williams (USC, 2002).
The CWSA, in its 41st year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.