Utah State University track and field athlete Chari Hawkins was honored by the NCAA Aug. 28 when she became a recipient of the NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award. She is the second Mountain West Conference student-athlete in as many years to be recognized by the NCAA for sportsmanship. Air Force’s William Kent was honored last year.
Hawkins, who was also honored by the Mountain West with the Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award in July, was one of two NCAA student-athletes to receive the national Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award for the 2014-15 academic year. Also earning the honor was Northern Michigan cross country runner Jaylee Brown.
Hawkins, a junior during the 2013-14 campaign, has competed as a member of the Aggies’ track and field team for three years.
During the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 13, 2014, Hawkins was competing in the 800 meters segment of the women’s heptathlon when she saw Georgia’s Kendall Williams trip and fall in the middle of the race. Hawkins slowed down to offer assistance and encouragement to her fellow competitor, clapping her hands and helping Williams up off the track. Williams recovered and finished the race, eventually winning the national championship in the heptathlon. Hawkins, who went on to finish 13th in the 800 meters with a personal-best time of 2:24.13, ended up with a ninth-place finish in the heptathlon to earn second-team All-American honors. Had Hawkins not slowed down to help Williams, she may have finished with a better time in the 800 meters, which could have led to a higher overall result in the heptathlon. Her concern for a fellow competitor’s well-being possibly cost Hawkins a first-team All-American accolade — she ended the event just one spot and six points shy of the top eight finishers.
“Honestly, it was just instinct for me to offer encouragement to Kendall and make sure she was okay,” said Hawkins. “At first, I thought someone had tripped her and that made me mad. I have had really good role models in my life. My parents are very humble and I think I have surrounded myself with good people, which is a big reason why I am who I am today.”
A family consumer science education major from Rexburg, Idaho, Hawkins is the first Utah State student-athlete to earn the NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award.
The Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award, administered by the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct, is given to student-athletes who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. Sportsmanship is one of the founding principles of the NCAA and the awards honor the efforts of student-athletes who work to protect the integrity of the game and create an even and welcoming playing field for all student-athletes and fans.
Contact: Doug Hoffman, (435) 797-3714
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