Virginia Elena Carta, a freshman from Duke University, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for golf 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, Carta 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.
Carta was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Katelyn Dambaugh (South Carolina), Cheyenne Knight (Alabama) and Bronte Law (UCLA).
“I couldn’t feel more honored and privileged to be the winner of this award,” said Carta. “Receiving such a prestigious award is a dream of every athlete. These past two weeks have been a dream for me. Winning the individual national title and right after be nominated for this award and winning this award, well, I am really excited and speechless. I cannot thank enough all the administrators who voted for me and that believed in me and in my abilities. I would like to thank my coaches, the entire staff at Duke, my teammates and my friends for all the support throughout my freshman year. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.”
Carta, a freshman from Udine, Italy, won the 2016 NCAA Individual Championship with a NCAA-record eight stroke lead and her 16-under-par and 72-hole total of 272 were both NCAA records as well. She posted a 72.41 stroke average this season en route to earning All-ACC and NCAA All-Region honors. The Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) first-team All-American closed the season with five straight top-10 finishes and totaled a 69.57 stroke average in NCAA Regional and Championship play becoming the first golfer in Duke history to register four straight rounds in the 60’s in NCAA postseason.
“Virginia played stellar golf start to finish in Eugene,” stated head coach Dan Brooks. “Four rounds in the 60s, 16-under-par, eight shots better than the runner-up in stroke play and the lowest ever in an NCAA Championship. Then, she won all her matches. Just as impressive was the class she showed as medalist. Just before we left Eugene Country Club on the last day, Virginia made a final sweep -- thanking everyone who played a role in conducting the championship. She was a gracious winner at the site, and has since written many notes and letters. Throughout the season, I could tell Virginia was special; at nationals I discovered she is a true and complete champion."
Emma Talley from the University of Alabama was named the Class of 2015 Honda Award winner for golf last season.
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.