Kendra Harrison of Kentucky, Kansas State’s Akela Jones, Demi Payne from Stephen F. Austin and Jenna Prandini of Oregon are the four nominees for the Honda Sports Award for track & field as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2015 Honda Cup. The nominees were chosen by a panel of experts and coaches representing the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).
The Honda Sports award winner for track & field will be announced this week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
Honda Sports award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year and all Honda Sports award winners become a finalist for the prestigious 2015 Honda Cup award which will be presented on June 29, in a live televised broadcast on CBS Sports Network from L.A.
Harrison, a senior from Clayton, North Carolina, turned in one of the most historic seasons in hurdles history. With her 12.50 to win the 100-meter hurdles at the SEC Outdoor Championships and her 54.09 to finish runner-up at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, she became the only woman in collegiate history to be ranked top-five all-time among collegians in both events, ranked No. 3 in the 100H and No. 5 in the 400H. She won the 100H at the NCAA Championships in 12.55, giving her four of the 13 fastest times in collegiate history in the event. She also won the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 7.87, moving to No. 3 in collegiate indoor history.
Jones, a junior from St. Michael, Barbados, won the heptathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a score of 6371 and moved to No. 4 on the all-time collegiate list in the event – in just her second career heptathlon. Three of the women she beat are among the top-10 all-time collegiate heptathletes. She didn’t stop there. She also finished fourth in the high jump at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships with a career-best clearance of 6-1½ (1.87m), after finishing fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships high jump at 6-½ (1.84m) and sixth in the long jump. She ended the indoor season with the second-best mark in the long jump at 21-9½ (6.64m) during the regular season.
Payne, a junior from Stephen F. Austin, capped the most historic season in the history of the women’s pole vault with an NCAA outdoor title. She cleared 15-5 (4.70m) to defeat indoor national champion and outdoor collegiate record-holder Sandi Morris of Arkansas. That clearance, which is the third highest height in collegiate history, wasn’t even her top jump of the season. She twice set the outdoor collegiate record during the regular season before Morris eventually topped it, including a leap of 15-5½ (4.71m) to win the Southland Conference title for the No. 2 jump in college history. All told, she owns seven of the 10 highest clearances in outdoor collegiate history, and her indoor collegiate record of 15-7 (4.75m) is among her five marks that rank among the top 10 in collegiate indoor history.
Prandini, a junior at Oregon, scored more points – 49 – at NCAA Championship meets than any other woman in 2015. She won the 100 meters and finished runner-up both at 200 meters and in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for 26 points, while indoors she won the long jump national title, finished runner-up at 200 meters and fourth at 60 meters for 23 points. Only one collegiate woman in history has run faster over 100 meters than her 10.92 during the outdoor regular season, while her runner-up outdoor 200 performance at NCAAs moved her to No. 4 on the all-time college list in the event. She is also No. 6 on the all-time collegiate indoor list at 200 meters and equal to No. 10 on the all-time collegiate indoor 60 meters list.
THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 39 years, 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 $3.0 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.