June 13, 2011

COLLEGE STATION - The Collegiate Women Sports Awards announced the nominees for the 2010-2011 Honda Sports Award to determine the top woman collegiate athlete in track and field. One of the four athletes nominated for this year's honor is Texas A&M senior Jessica Beard.

Three other nominees for the honor include Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU, Sheila Reid of Villanova and Florida State's Kim Williams.

The winner after nationwide balloting will become a candidate for The Honda-Broderick Cup awarded annually to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. Now in its 35th year, the Collegiate Women Sports Awards honors 15 outstanding female athletes from NCAA-member schools every year.

In addition to the honor of this selection, American Honda will donate $1,000 to the women's athletic fund of each nominee's university. The athlete chosen as the Honda Sports Award recipient for track and field will receive $5,000.

Texas A&M has had two Honda Sports Award winners - Ashlee Pistorius in soccer, 2007-08; and Lisa Stoll in softball, 1982-83.

Beard becomes the first-ever Aggie nominee for the track and field portion of the Honda Sports Award. Big 12 athletes have claimed the past two track and field honors with Jenny Barringer of Colorado in 2008-09 and Iowa State's Lisa Koll in 2009-10.

Winners of the Honda-Broderick Cup have only included five track and field athletes over the 35 years of the award. The last track and field recipient of the Honda-Broderick Cup was Angela Williams of USC in 2001-02.

Previous track and field athletes chosen as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year include Julie Shea of North Carolina State (1979-80), Vicki Huber of Villanova (1988-89) and Suzy Favor of Wisconsin (1989-90).

There have only been two Honda-Broderick Cup winners selected from a school in the Lone Star state - Jill Sterkel (swimming, 1980-81) and Kamie Etheridge (basketball, 1985-86), both of Texas.

Beard's nomination for the Honda Sports Award in track and field comes after her spectacular display during the NCAA Championships this past weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.

Over the course of four days, experiencing hailstorms, lightning delays, cold temperatures and rain, Beard delivered her first NCAA Outdoor title in the 400 meters to add to the indoor championship she claimed at Texas A&M's Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in March. Beard posted a winning time of 51.10 seconds in winning the outdoor championship.

In her career at A&M, Beard finished no lower than fourth in the eight NCAA 400m finals (indoor/outdoor) she contested. Her tally includes two gold medals, three silvers, two bronzes and a fourth-place finish behind three seniors her freshman year at the 2008 NCAA meet also held in Des Moines.

On the conference level Beard dominated by winning seven of the eight Big 12 titles she contested in the 400 meters, winning seven consecutive before finishing second in her last Big 12 this season.

On the final day of the 2011 NCAA meet, with the Aggies tied for third place in team scoring at 39 points with Oregon, and trailing LSU (43.5) and Oklahoma (42), Beard turned in another special moment for Texas A&M.

Among the contenders for the team title, only the Aggies and Ducks had a team in the 4 x 400 final. Meanwhile, the Tigers and Sooners could only sit and watch. Whoever finished ahead between A&M and Oregon in the relay would also claim the national team championship, provided they placed fourth or higher.

Beard moved the Aggies from third to first in a gallant display of speed and determination as she recorded the fastest split ever, 49.14 seconds, in the NCAA Championships to garner the relay win in a school record 3:26.31, and the team victory as well, by a four point margin over Oregon, who finished third in the relay.

In totaling 16 All-America honors over her career at Texas A&M, Beard was also part of four national champion relays - one in the 4 x 100 and three in the 4 x 400 - as well as a collegiate record in the 4 x 200 relay.

The holder of the school record in the 400, indoors (50.79) and outdoors (50.56), Beard also set an American record of 51.15 for an over-sized indoor track.