Weini Kelati, a junior from the University of New Mexico, 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 44 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Kelati becomes the first finalist of the year for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious Class of 2020 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on Monday, June 22, 2019, in downtown Los Angeles.
Kelati was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Katie Izzo (Arkansas), Alicia Monson (Wisconsin) and Taylor Werner (Arkansas).
"I am so grateful to be selected for this prestigious award and am excited for the future with another season of cross country still to go in my collegiate career, “said Kelati. “It is great to follow in the steps of my teammate Ednah Kurgat in being honored by Honda. It is always amazing to represent UNM and I am proud to be a Lobo."
Kelati is a junior hailing from Leesburg, Va., and a two-time Honda Award finalist from the University of New Mexico. She captured the 2019 NCAA Individual Cross Country title after finishing runner-up in 2018. A two-time Mountain West Athlete and Student-Athlete of the Year, she also won back-to-back Conference and Mountain Region individual titles and is a two-time first-team All-American in cross country.
She set a conference record this season by winning the individual title by 49 seconds (19.11.2) and posted a 57.2 second margin of victory in the Mountain Region (18:58.7). Overall, she is a 10-time All-American including indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.
“This is such a great honor for not only Weini but also The University of New Mexico and our proud state,” said head coach Joe Franklin. “This Honda Award for cross country is the highest honor a student-athlete can achieve. Weini has worked very hard to achieve everything she has accomplished in the classroom and on the cross country course.”
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year.
The CWSA, in its 44th 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 $3.4 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.
About Honda Corporate Social Responsibility
Honda also is committed to making positive contributions to the communities where it does business, conducting socially responsible business practices and promoting diversity in its workforce. From Honda's involvement in STEM education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to its support of pediatric brain tumor research and volunteer efforts by Honda associates, including environmental clean-up activities, Honda believes in giving back to the communities where its associates live and work. Learn more at http://csr.honda.com/.