Courtney Okolo, a senior from the University of Texas, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for track and 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 40 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Okolo becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2016 Honda Cup which 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.
Okolo was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Keturah Orji (Georgia), Raven Saunders (Ole Miss) and Kendell Williams (Georgia).
“It’s definitely a huge honor, “ said Okolo. “I’m honored and blessed that I’ve had a great season and they have noticed the accomplishments I had on the track this year. I’m thankful to God and my family for this award. I’m honored to be in the same class as Imani Boyette, who was honored by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards and Honda last year. I just want to represent my school with pride, and I’m thankful to The University of Texas for all the opportunities they have provided for me during my time here.”
Hailing from Carrollton, Texas, Okolo is a two-time Bowerman award semifinalist, including this season, and a 12-time United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) honoree. Most recently, she was named the USTFCCCA Women’s Track Athlete of the Year.
She proved herself to be the most outstanding woman at 400 meters throughout the collegiate track & field season. It can also be argued that Okolo is the top woman at that distance outdoors in collegiate history.
During the LSU Alumni Invitational in April, Okolo lowered her own collegiate record to 49.71 and became the first woman to ever post a sub-50 second time in collegiate history. At NCAAs in Eugene, Oregon, Okolo captured her second outdoor quarter-mile title in three years (she also won the indoor crown this year) and led the Longhorns’ to a 4x400 relay title thanks to an incredible effort that saw her overtake two teams in the final 100 meters and overcome a two-second deficit when she got the baton on the anchor leg.
In addition, she owns four of the top 10 times in collegiate history outdoors in the 400m, including the top two.
“This is well-deserved for Courtney and a tremendous honor to be recognized at the highest level by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards and Honda, “ stated head coach Mario Setegna. “From graduating from The University of Texas to all her accolades on and off the track, Courtney has represented our University and team with pride and great character. We could not be more proud of her and the positive impact she has had on Texas Track and Field.”
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, 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 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.