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Duke’s Cecil wins Honda Award for tennis

Courtesy: Duke Sports Information

DURHAM, N.C. — The honors continue to roll in for Duke University freshman Mallory Cecil. The rookie tennis player recently was selected as the recipient of the 2008-09 Honda Sports Award for tennis.  Cecil is now one of 10 candidates for the Honda-Broderick Cup awarded annually to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. The winner will be announced on June 22.

“It was such a great surprise to find out I had won the Honda Sports Award," Cecil said. "It just adds to the tremendous season we’ve had.  Even though I started as a freshman in January, all the girls on the team and my coaches made me feel at home right from the start – just like I’d been here forever. Duke is a wonderful environment both academically and athletically and I’m really looking forward to the next four years.”

Cecil is the second Duke women’s tennis player to capture the award. Vanessa Webb took home the honor in 1998 after winning the NCAA individual title.

The 2009 NCAA Individual Singles Champion, Cecil was one of four finalists for the Honda Sports Award as she finished out the year ranked first in the national polls and was named the ITA Player of the Year. Just a few weeks ago the Spartanburg, S.C., native became just the seventh freshman to take home the individual crown and just the 14th player to win both the individual title and team title in the same year as she was instrumental in leading the Blue Devils to the 2009 team championship as Duke’s top singles player all season.

Named the ACC and ITA Southeast Region Rookie of the Year, Cecil joined the Blue Devils in January and quickly climbed her way to the top of the singles lineup. Cecil compiled an impressive 32-4 record, marking the 46th time in program history a Blue Devil has reached the 30-wins mark in a single season. She finished the year with a 16-4 mark against ranked opponents and twice defeated the nation’s top-ranked player during the regular season.

Cecil is the sixth Blue Devil in history to bring home the Honda Award in her respective sport.

Cecil had a 32-4 record in leading Duke to the NCAA team title. She beat out three other finalists -- Aurelija Miseviciute of Arkansas, Maria Mosolova of Northwestern and Laura Vallverdu of Miami.

Cecil is eligible for the Honda-Broderick Cup, given to the college female athlete of the year. The winner will be announced June 22 in New York.

2008-2009 Honda-Broderick Cup Nominees 
Mallory Cecil (Tennis/Duke)  
Nicole Fawcett (Volleyball/Penn State)
Maria Hernandez (Golf/Purdue)
Sally Kipyego (Cross Country/Texas Tech)
Courtney Kupets (Gymnastics/Georgia)
Renee Montgomery (Basketball/Connecticut)
Hannah Nielsen (Lacrosse/Northwestern)
Casey Nogueira (Soccer/North Carolina)
Susie Rowe (Field Hockey/Maryland)
Dana Vollmer (Swimming/California)