Honda Inspiration Award Finalists Announced

Senior Emily Fogle from Purdue University, University of Georgia junior Morgan Reynolds and senior Breck Sullivan of Salisbury University are named finalists for the Honda Inspiration Award as announced by Judy Sweet, CWSA Board Member and Chair of The Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) Awards Inspiration Award committee.

The Honda Inspiration Award winner for the Class of 2016 will be selected from these three finalists by the CWSA Board of Directors and announced next week. A winner has been selected annually for the past 28 years and will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 27, 2016, in the Founders’ Room at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California in downtown Los Angeles, as part of the two-day Honda Awards event.

The Honda Inspiration Award is given to a deserving female student-athlete in Division I, II or III who has experienced extraordinary physical and/or emotional adversity, injury and/or illness, or experienced extraordinary personal sacrifice during her college enrollment as a student-athlete and yet returns to athletic success.

"I am pleased to announce three finalists for the Class of 2016 Inspiration Award. The Inspiration Award committee reviewed all 22 nominations and while all 22 had truly inspiring stories, these three finalists more fully met the criteria for the Inspiration Award. We applaud their courage and remarkable resilience in overcoming their challenges and returning to competition successfully, " said Sweet.

Emily Fogle, RS Senior, Purdue University, Swimming and Diving

In the fall of 2012, Fogle began experiencing excruciating pain in both of her hips.  She had her first hip surgery in December 2012, and surgery on her other hip in March 2013. In between the surgeries she began to battle anorexia.  In 2013 Fogle’s mother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  Fogle’s anorexia progressed to the point where she barely weighed 100 pounds and she also fell into a deep depression.  After seeking treatment in 2013 for anorexia, Fogle returned full-time to Purdue in 2014 and promptly underwent a second surgery on one of her hips.  After everything she had been through, she was more determined than ever to make it back to competitive swimming.  This year she was an All-America in the 100 yard breaststroke and earned Honorable Mention All-America honors in the 200 breaststroke.  Fogle has shared her “story” in many ways as she has a strong desire to help others overcome adversity.

Morgan Reynolds, Junior, University of Georgia, Gymnastics

Three days. That’s how long it took for Reynolds to go from a fully practicing Gymdog last November to more than two long weeks in the hospital.  A headache turned into severe stomach pain, and Reynolds was soon diagnosed with a rare form of E. Coli.  After being released from the hospital, she was not progressing as she should and a follow up blood test indicated that the bacteria had developed into hemolytic uremic syndrome, which causes red blood cells to clog the kidneys and impact other body organs. At that point it was unknown whether Reynolds would be able to lead a normal life without continued long term health issues. The head team physician stated that Reynolds was the most seriously ill patient they have had at the University of Georgia.  With diligence and determination Reynolds regained her strength and relearned her skills, returning to competition in March.  Not only did she return to competition, but she consistently scored 9.8 or higher on floor exercise, including at the Super Six. 

Breck Sullivan, Senior, Salisbury University, Field Hockey

Sullivan was one of the top recruits for Salisbury University field hockey. It was the first lap of preseason when Sullivan sprained her ankle, just the start of her injuries throughout her intercollegiate career.  Working hard and returning to competition, she strained her hamstring and was sidelined for the rest of the season.  She continued to work hard to rehab, only to suffer yet another hamstring strain in her senior season.  Through her dedication to physical therapy training and treatments, she returned to the playing field, and played in the Championship game in 2013, followed by being selected for the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team in 2014, where she was an NCAA Elite 89 Award Winner.  On days she was unable to practice, she would cheer and coach her teammates from the sideline.  Brent’s relentless attitude and work ethic not only made her better, but made her teammates better. 

Chris Voelz, Executive Director of The CWSA said, "The Honda Inspiration Award winner holds a special place in our hearts as she is an inspiring and courageous woman representing her school and intercollegiate athletics in a very significant way. Because there are so many deserving role models in this regard the CWSA decided that we would share the finalists in advance of the Board vote and salute them and all nominees."

The CWSA, celebrating its 40th year, has honored 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 thirty years ago 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.