Women's Intersports Network Awards
Brouder, Ferreira, Wyre-Washington honored at WIN for Columbia luncheon.
Six-time Olympic medalist and heptathlon world record holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee was the keynote speaker at the Women’s Intersport Network (WIN) for Columbia’s annual awards luncheon. Held Feb. 5 in the Southwell Complex, the event celebrates Columbia’s outstanding female athletes in conjunction with National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
Joyner-Kersee’s speech addressed the importance of encouraging and mentoring girls and women in sports. She shared her personal journey of competing in four consecutive Olympic Games and becoming the “greatest female athlete of the 20th century,” according to Sports Illustrated for Women.
After her remarks, Joyner-Kersee handed out awards to prominent area athletes, including two Columbia College women. Volleyball coach Melinda Wrye-Washington received the Female Coach of the Year Award. Wrye-Washington has lead the team to 13 consecutive NAIA tournaments, including eight top-four finishes and one national championship. In 2012, Wrye-Washington guided her team to a second place finish in the NAIA championship and was named coach of the year. Her team finished the season with a 42-2 record and a No. 3 national ranking. Her nominator says: “Melinda is a true competitor and instills an unparalleled work ethic in her players.”
Senior volleyball setter Paula Ferreira received the Collegiate Sportswoman of the Year award. The NAIA player of the year led the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America College Division Volleyball Team. In 2012, Ferreira was named the American Midwest Conference Setter and Player of the Year for the third consecutive year and was named National Player of the Week twice. She leads the Cougars with 1,766 assists and also contributed 171 kills, 82 services aces, 55 blocks and 338 digs. Her nominator says: “Paula is the most dedicated, talented and passionate student-athlete I have seen come through Columbia College.”
The afternoon’s Title IX Award went to the Columbia College volleyball program, which was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 for 30 seasons of excellence, including 20 straight conference championships, 19 consecutive National Championship appearances and three national titles. The honor is a special one-time award created in celebration of Title IX’s 40th anniversary. The legislation states that no person shall be excluded, on the basis of sex, from participation in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding.
Dr. Gerald Brouder was the only man to receive a WIN award that afternoon. Joyner-Kersee surprised the Columbia College president with the Kent Heitholt Memorial Award for his support of women’s sports at Columbia College. More than 70 women compete in six disciplines: basketball, softball volleyball, cross-country, golf and soccer. The latter three were added in 2012.
“Since Dr. Brouder’s arrival, the Cougar athletic department has transformed into the model for other NAIA schools,” says Cindy Potter, associate director of athletics and former student-athlete at Columbia College. “With the addition of four women’s sports and hosting two NAIA National Championships during his tenure, he has given even more females a chance to succeed.”
Brouder, Wyre-Washington, Ferreira and Potter (who was named WIN’s mentor of the year in 2009) are each embodied in the message Joyner-Kersee shared as she ended her keynote: “We do have some young girls who become young women - not just on the athletic field, but in the administration office and executive positions and decision-making positions - who can make girls’ sports a lot better. We need those voices, we need those voices to stand out, and we need for everyone to appreciate the talents of young people across the board. If you give the best you have, the best will come back to you.”
For the complete list of WIN award recipients, click here.