Sophomore Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) of the University of California was named the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and presented with the prestigious Honda Cup as announced by Erik Wedin, Manager of Corporate Community Relations, American Honda. The award was presented live during THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards show presented by Honda on CBS Sports Network, at the USC Founders Club at Galen Center in Los Angeles.
The other two “Top Three” finalists from the Class of 2015 included senior softball standout Lauren Haeger of the University of Florida and junior basketball star Breanna Stewart from the University of Connecticut.
The “Top Three” were selected by a voting of nearly 1,000 NCAA member schools and the Honda Cup winner was chosen by the Board of Directors of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) program. Previous winners include basketball superstars Maya Moore (2011, 2012) and Candace Parker (2008), track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1985), soccer great Mia Hamm (1994) and volleyball star Misty May (1999).
Franklin is the first swimmer to win the honor since Tara Kirk (Stanford) in 2004 and the sixth swimmer overall- Kirk, Cristina Teuscher (Columbia, 2000), Mary T. Meagher (California, 1987), Tracy Caulkins (Florida, 1984 &1982) and Jill Sterkel (Texas, 1981). She is just the second representative from Cal to earn the Honda Cup following in the footsteps of Meagher in 1987.
Franklin was named the NCAA and Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year and helped California to the team title. She set an American record on her way to victory in the 200-yard freestyle and also captured the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke. In addition, Franklin played a role in wins by the 200 free relay and 800 free relay.
She established a school record for most combined individual and relay crowns at one NCAA meet with five titles this season and combined for seven NCAA titles in two seasons. She is a 14-time All-American.
At the Pac-12 Championships earlier in the year, Franklin claimed the 200 IM, 200 free and 200 back crowns and anchored the 800 free relay to an American record time.
Out of the pool, Franklin is equally impressive. The psychology major was named the 2015 Capital One Academic All-American of the Year At-Large as well as a first-team Capital One Academic All-American. In additio,n, she was named a College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American.
“We are thrilled to have Missy represent such an extraordinary class of 2015 student-athletes,“ stated Chris Voelz, Executive Director of the CWSA. "She is the perfect fit to carry on the long and storied tradition of esteemed Honda Cup winners before her and our CWSA family looks forward to supporting her through her professional career."
In addition the to the announcement of the Honda Cup winner as the Collegiate Woman of the Year, the broadcast also featured the presentation of the Honda Inspiration award to Imani McGee-Stafford (Texas, basketball), the Honda Division II Player of the Year to Rachel Dickinson (Millersville, field hockey) and the Honda Division III Player of the Year Allyson Fournier (Tufts, softball).
In addition to Franklin, Stewart and Haeger, other Honda Sport Award winners on hand for the live presentation were Paula Heuser (UAlbany, field hockey), Kytra Hunter (Florida, gymnastics), Emma Talley (Alabama, golf) and Jenna Prandini (Oregon, track & field).
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.