The awards and honors for Maryland women’s lacrosse star junior midfielder Taylor Cummings continue to accumulate. On June 5th, Cummings won her second consecutive Honda Sports Award for women’s lacrosse. She joins Caitlyn McFadden Phipps and Jen Adams as one of three Terrapins to win the award in lacrosse which has been presented since 2000-2001.
A bit about the Honda Awards
This program, also known as the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards (CWSA) started in 1976 as the Broderick Awards. Although a corporate reorganization in 2012 created the CWSA, American Honda Company became the official corporate sponsor in 1985 and the award soon became known as the Honda Award – a moniker it still holds though Honda is now considered the presenting sponsor.
Currently, the program has six award categories:
Irv Grossman Award of Merit – This is not a yearly award but one that is periodically given to recognize “unique achievement as it contributes to public awareness and appreciation of women’s collegiate athletics and elevates the status of women’s collegiate sports on a national level.”
Honda Inspiration Award – This is presented to a female athlete who has overcome hardship and was able to return to play at the collegiate level.
Division III Female Athlete of the Year
Division II Female Athlete of the Year
The two awards above are presented to “the nation’s top collegiate female athletes in their respective Divisions, chosen from 11 different sports, with each having one nominee derived from coaches’ panels, All-America committees or finish at the respective national championship. Sports include: basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.”
The Honda Sports Award – “The Honda Sports Award acknowledges athletic achievement as well as scholastics and community involvement, and is given to female athletes in 12 different NCAA-sanctioned sports throughout the year. In the fall, athletes are honored for their achievement in sports including soccer, volleyball, cross country, field hockey; in winter, gymnastics, basketball, swimming & diving; and in spring, lacrosse, softball, golf, tennis and track & field. Each Honda Sports Award winner is recognized as the top collegiate female athlete in her sport, and the award is considered by many as one of the highest honors a female college athlete can receive in the nation.”
The Honda Cup – The original list of 12 individual sports winners is first pared to three and the CWSA board of directors selects one to receive the highest honor the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year who will receive the Honda Cup.
Maryland’s history with the Honda Awards
Given the dominance of Maryland’s women’s lacrosse program one might expect that the largest number of Terrapins to have won the award will have come from this sport. However, as I noted above, the CWSA has included lacrosse only since 2001. Given this bit of information and the list of sports above, it should quickly become apparent which Maryland program boasts the largest number of Honda Award winners is field hockey.
Five Maryland women have combined to win seven Honda Awards in field hockey including a stretch of four consecutive years from 2009 through 2012. The first Terp to win the Honda Award was Autumn Welsh in 2002. Paula Infante won back to back awards in 2006 and 2007 and Susie Rowe won the award in 2009. The incomparable Katie O’Donnell followed capturing the Award in 2010 and 2011 and Megan Frazer ended the run in 2012. Eleven other Maryland field hockey players have received nominations.
The only other sport in which Maryland has had players nominated is women’s basketball. Three Terps have earned that distinction – Vicky Bullett and Deanna Tate in the 1988-89 season and Alyssa Thomas in 2013-14. None of those players won the award.
For Taylor Cummings, the awards began rolling in just after the end of the regular season when she won the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year. Following in quick succession were her third consecutive spot as a first team IWLCA All-American, the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player and the lacrosse equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, the Tewaaraton Award.
In leading the Terps to a second consecutive national championship, Cummings completed the best season of an already remarkable career leading Maryland in assists (37), points (100), ground balls (41), draw controls (143) and caused turnovers (36).
“I’m so proud of Taylor and everything she’s accomplished this year,“ said head coach Cathy Reese. “She is an incredible person and player, and this is a wonderful honor for her to earn yet again. Taylor is a great leader for our team both on and off the field and this is a tremendous honor for her and our entire program.”
Said Cummings, “I wouldn’t be here without the support of my coaches and teammates, and I want to thank them for helping me grow this season as we accomplished our team goals. I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of such an incredible lacrosse program at Maryland.”
As one of the 12 individual sports winners, Cummings is now eligible to win the Honda Cup as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. She would be the first Terp and first lacrosse player to do so and would join such familiar names as Nancy Lieberman, Cheryl Miller, Mia Hamm and Mist May Traenor. The award will be presented on June 29, 2015 in a ceremony beginning at 9:00 pm Eastern time and will be broadcast by the CBS Sports Network.
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