Queen’s Danielle Melilli, Kenyon’s Crile Hart named Honda Award Finalists

02 NCAA2 (Danielle Melilli)--by Carlos Morales, Queens Athletics
Danielle Melilli; Photo Courtesy: Carlos Morales/Queens Athletics

Queen’s Danielle Melilli, Kenyon’s Crile Hart named Honda Award Finalists

Queen’s Danielle Melilli and Kenyon’s Crile Hart have been named Honda Award Finalists for swimming and diving in Division II and III, respectively.

The Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) released the news on Monday. Both swimmers are among the 11 finalists for the Honda Athlete of the Year Award in their respective divisions. The award, in its 46th year, will be voted on by representatives from the NCAA’s 1,000 member schools.

Melilli was a finalist last year, though the award wasn’t given due to what the committee deemed was insufficient participation across sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hart is a three-time finalist in DIII.

This year’s award will be presented live on CBS Sports Network at a ceremony in Los Angeles on June 27.

Melilli, a native of Douglasville, Ga., was the CSCAA Female Swimmer of the Year at the Division II Championships for a second straight year. She helped lead Queens to their seventh consecutive title.

She set the NCAA record in the 50 free en route to victory, one of seven All-American swims. The two-time Bluegrass Conference Women’s Swimmer of the Year is a three-time NCAA champion overall and a 14-time All-American.

“This is a huge honor to be nominated for this award,” Melilli said in a Queen’s statement. “Receiving this award wasn’t my plan, but it is part of the process to winning championships at Queens University of Charlotte. I want to thank my coaches, my family, my friends, and my extended family that I call my team for always supporting me. This team constantly pushes me to be great in and out of the water and to be the best example of a collegiate student-athlete that I can be. Thank you.”

Hart earned the honor as a freshman, junior and now as a senior. The Pepper Pike, Ohio, native is a 28-time All-America and 14-time NCAA title. She earned six gold medals at NCAAs this year, helping Kenyon win its 24th women’s title.

Hart, a three-time CSCAA and North Coast Athletic Conference Women’s Swimmer of the Year, will graduated as a program record-holder in three events plus four relays.

“I am very honored and humbled to be nominated as a DIII Honda Award finalist for the 2022 season,” Hart said in a university statement. “Congrats to all the other nominees, as well! This year has been, without a doubt, my favorite season at Kenyon. The energy and mindset my teammates and coaches had throughout the year was unmatched. We all believed in each other so much and that momentum carried us all the way to the very end. I could not have imagined a more perfect closing to my swimming career. My heart is so beyond full and thankful for all the opportunities Kenyon, my friends, coaches, teammates, and family have graciously allowed me to experience.”

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