Sharika Nelvis from Arkansas State, Courtney Okolo of Texas, Oregon's Jenna Prandini and Kendell Williams from Georgia are the four nominees for the Honda Sports Award for women's 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 2014 Honda Cup. The nominees were chosen by a group of experts representing the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The Honda Sports award winner for track & field will be announced later this week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
The Honda Cup winner will be announced during the live telecast of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards show presented by Honda at 8 pm EST, on Monday, June 30, at the USC Founders Club at Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
Nelvis won the NCAA Division I outdoor 100-meter hurdles and indoor 60-meter hurdles national titles as part of an undefeated season in 11 finals in the 55-meter hurdles, 60-meter hurdles and 100-meter hurdles. She captured the outdoor Sun Belt titles in the 100 meters, 100-meter hurdles and 200 meters in addition to finishing runner-up in the long jump; and won indoor Sun Belt titles in the 60 meters, 60-meter hurdles, 200 meters and long jump. The senior from Memphis, Tenn., was the Sun Belt Female Athlete of the Year and a three-time USTFCCCA first-team All-American.
Okolo won the NCAA Division I outdoor 400 meters national title and ran the anchor leg of the winning 4x400 meter relay. The sophomore from Carrollton, Texas, broke the collegiate record at 400 meters en route to winning a Big 12 outdoor title in the event. She finished fourth at 400 meters at the NCAA Division I indoor championships and ran a leg of the Longhorns' runner-up 4x400 relay at the indoor championships. She is an eight-time USTFCCCA first-team All-American, including five nods this season.
Prandini scored 24 points at the NCAA Division I outdoor championships, the highest total by a woman since 2001, en route to a national title in the long jump, a runner-up finish at 200 meters by a thousandth of a second, and a third-place finish at 100 meters. She won Pac-12 outdoor titles in the long jump and at both 100 and 200 meters, as well as running a leg of the runner-up 4x100 meter relay. The sophomore from Clovis, Calif., is an eight-time USTFCCCA All-American.
Williams won the NCAA Division I outdoor heptathlon title while her 12.99 in the 100-meter hurdles component set collegiate and meet records, made her just the ninth woman in World Junior (U20) history to break the 13-second barrier, and the first since 2007. The true freshman from Marietta, Ga., broke the U.S. Junior (U20) record in the heptathlon at the Bulldog Heptathlon in Athens, Ga., and broke the collegiate and World Junior (U20) records en route to winning the NCAA Division I indoor title in the pentathlon. Williams, who also won the 2014 SEC heptathlon championship by a 350-point edge, is a two-time First Team All-American who was named the USTFCCCA National Indoor Women's Field Athlete of the Year.
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 Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 37 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 $2.8 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.