Some of the most outstanding female athletes in college sports are set to be honored tonight, as their character and resolve will be recognized tonight at the presentation of the the Collegiate Women Sports Awards.
Among them is the 2022 Honda Inspiration Award, which will go to one of three finalists who have “demonstrated strength, resiliency, determination and success in overcoming significant health challenges and ongoing adversities.”
The award, which has been presented annually for nearly 35 years, is given to a deserving female student athlete at the Division I, II, or III level 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.”
This year, the award’s finalists are Payton Murphy of Western Michigan University, Emily Sweet of Bentley University, and Lauren Thibodeau of the University of Louisville. Murphy made her return to gymnastics in late-2021 nearly two years after suffering a catastrophic injury, while Sweet and Thibodeau both overcame major health challenges. Sweet returned to swimming competition after twice battling Stage III Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, while Thibodeau returned to winning golf tournaments after becoming seriously ill with Celiac Disease and medical Catatonia.
The Honda Cup will also be awarded to one of 12 athletes selected as finalists as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. The finalists are the Honda Sport Award winners. Those are 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,” and one will be named Athlete of the year. Here are the 12 Honda Sport Award winners for 2022.
- Jocelyn Alo, Redshirt Senior, University of Oklahoma, Softball, Utility
- Jill Bolton, Senior, Liberty University, Field Hockey, Forward
- Aliyah Boston, Junior, University of South Carolina, Basketball, Forward
- Kate Douglass, Junior, University of Virginia, Swimming & Diving
- Jaelin Howell, Senior, Florida State University, Soccer, Midfielder
- Jamie Ortega, Senior, University of North Carolina, Lacrosse, Attack
- Whittni Orton, Senior, Brigham Young University, Cross Country
- Dana Rettke, Senior, University of Wisconsin, Volleyball, Middle Blocker
- Abby Steiner, Senior, University of Kentucky, Track & Field, Sprints
- Peyton Stearns, Sophomore, University of Texas, Tennis
- Trinity Thomas, Senior, University of Florida, Gymnastics
- Rose Zhang, Freshman, Stanford University, Golf