Dani Jones, a senior from the University of Colorado, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for Cross Country as announced today by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA).
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 43 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Jones becomes the first finalist of the year for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2018 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 24, 2019, in downtown Los Angeles.
Jones was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists Jessica Hull (Oregon), Weini Kalati (New Mexico) and Alicia Monson (Wisconsin).
"It is a huge honor to be recognized as the cross country Honda Award winner, “said Jones. “I am honored to be the third Buff after Kara Goucher and Jenny Simpson to receive this award, two incredible athletes I have always looked up to. I could not have accomplished what I did this season without the support of everyone at CU."
Jones, a senior from Phoenix, Ariz., was the 2018 NCAA Cross Country Individual Champion and led her team to the national title for the first time in 14 years. Out-kicking the runner-up down the stretch to cross the line just 2.5 seconds ahead, she became just the second female in school history to win an individual NCAA Cross Country Championship. In addition to the national title, she is also the back-to-back Pac-12 Individual Champion and led CU in every race this season.
Named the 2018 United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Female Athlete of the Year, she is also a three-time USTFCCCA All-American and the two-time Pac-12 Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Her conference honors also include three-time All-Pac-12 first-team accolades and was three times named Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention.
“Unlike in other sports, we have a national championship where everyone faces each other,” Colorado head coach Mark Wetmore explained. “So one would normally think that the national champion would be considered the top athlete in the sport. But that’s not guaranteed; there were three other candidates, all of whom were highly qualified. One had only lost one race all season. So, we are pleased that voters felt Dani was the most accomplished among the 15,000 women who do cross country and the four who were finalists.”
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year.
The CWSA, in its 43rd year, honors 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 $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.