MANHATTAN, Kan. — Akela Jones was named a finalist for the Honda Sports Award for track and field, announced earlier today by THE Collegiate Women Sports Award office today. Coming off an impressive performance at last week’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships that included a national title in the heptathlon and first team honors in the high jump, Jones was one of four student-athletes nominated for the award — joining Kendra Harrison of Kentucky, Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin and Jenna Prandini of Oregon.
Per CWSA, “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 2015 Honda Cup. The nominees were chosen by a panel of experts and coaches representing the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).”The track and field award winner will be announced this week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year, while the Honda Cup award will be presented on June 29, in a live televised broadcast on CBS Sports Network. Jones, who scored the fourth-best heptathlon mark in collegiate history in Eugene, Oregon, last week, will face a stacked field for the award. Harrison clocked top-five collegiate marks in both the 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles at NCAAs, while Payne set the collegiate record in a title-winning performance in the pole vault and Prandini scored a combined 49 points between NCAA Indoors and Outdoors. A junior-transfer from Oklahoma Baptist, Jones’ first year with K-State has been one of the best individual seasons in program history. Among a lengthy list of honors, Jones nabbed five All-American honors — four first team, one second team — the indoor long jump conference title, as well as finished high-point scorer at both Big 12 Indoors and Outdoors. She earned multiple postseason honors for her efforts, winning Big 12 Outstanding Performer of the Year indoors and sweeping the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Field Athlete of the Year award. From a program perspective, Jones’ performances this season have resulted in school records in two events indoors — 60-meter hurdles and long jump — and three event outdoors — 100-meter hurdles, long jump and heptathlon. THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 39 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 $3.0 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.