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The University of the Cumberlands track and field and cross-country teams have been staple programs in the NAIA and Mid-South Conference for quite some time, displaying some of the most talented athletes in the nation.
One of the most prominent female athletes on and off the track in decades is being recognized this week, as junior Danielle Hoop, an Owen County native and graduate of Owen County High School, has been awarded the Women’s College Cross Country Athlete of the Year, the Women’s College Track and Field Athlete of the Year, and the very prestigious USATF Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
After boasting an already decorated career while at Cumberlands, Hoop was officially recognized in front of her peers and competitors at the Ninth Annual USATF/KTCCCA Hall of Fame and Awards banquet Jan. 4 in Lexington.
Hoop was joined by University of the Cumberlands Cross County Head Coach Floyd Stroud who will also be accepting the 2013 KTCCCA Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year as well as inducted into the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association and Kentucky USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Over the past two and a half years, Hoop has accumulated more awards than most athletes are able to in an entire career. In 2011-2012, she was named freshman of the year for cross country as well as an MSC All Conference selection and NAIA All American recipient. On the track, she also earned MSC first-team recognition, as well as NAIA All-American status and the impressive MSC Champion of Character honor.
Hoop kicked off her 2012-2013 campaign with a bang as she was recognized for efforts in cross country, named again an all-conference selection as well as an all American.
She continued to shine as she transitioned into the track and field season, capturing not only NAIA All-American status for the 3000M steeplechase in outdoors but also for 1000M run at indoors.
As the first half of her junior year has come to an end, Hoop already has been named a cross country all conference and all-American selection after finishing 10th at nationals, as well as taking home the NAIA Champion of Character award. And while each of her athletic awards demonstrates her excellence as a student-athlete, her academic efforts are just as impressive, being named an Academic All-Conference selection in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
“I’ve been continually blessed this season with awards and recognition,” Hoop said. “They could have chosen any runner within Kentucky to receive this award and it’s a complete honor having been selected as the recipient. The award will be that more special since Coach Stroud will be there receiving coach of the year along with his induction into the Kentucky Hall of Fame. I wouldn’t even be receiving this award if it weren’t for all of my coaches, family, and friends being so supportive.”