Riko Sagara, a senior midfielder from Grand Valley State University was named the DII Honda Athlete of the Year finalist for Soccer as announced today by Executive Director Chris Voelz of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented by Honda.
Sagara is now designated one of 11 finalists for the prestigious DII Honda Athlete of the Year. This will be voted on at the end of the academic year by national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of THE CWSA program, now in its 44th year.
“I am extremely honored to be selected as a finalist for the 2020 Honda Division II Athlete of the Year”, said Sagara. “I accept this selection of behalf of Grand Valley State and the soccer program. We had an incredible team that was unselfish and cared so much for each other both on and off the field. We had a wonderful season that was capped with the ultimate team accomplishment in a national championship.”
Most recently Sagara, hailing from Tokyo, Japan, was named the DII National Player of the Year by United Soccer Coaches for the 2019 season. She led the nation in assists while finishing second in total points for the year, becoming the first Laker ever to record at least 20 goals and 20 assists in the same season helping the Lakers to their sixth national championship in program history. She was also named the D2CCA National Player of the Year.
Sagara scored 20 goals and dished 23 assists for 63 points on the season and is a four-time All-American as a transfer. In just two years at GVSU, she ranks second all-time in program career assists with 46.
“It's hard to put into words how much Riko has meant to this team these past two years,” stated head coach Jeff Hosler. “She's so creative and tactically gifted on the field and was our only senior this year. For someone who just learned English four years ago, it's a tall task to ask her to not only play at a high level but be a veteran leader. She did just that and was a huge reason we were so dynamic offensively and able to win a national championship."
All Honda Sports nominees from DII and DIII become a finalist for the prestigious 2020 Honda Athlete of the Year in their respective divisions, presented in a live telecast on CBS Sports on June 22, 2020, in downtown Los Angeles. The Honda Sports nominees are recognized in 11 DII and DIII NCAA-sanctioned sports; cross country, basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball, and track & field.
THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 44 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 $3.4 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/.