Roanoke, VA - The annual gathering of Hollins student-athletes, coaches, administrators and distinguished guests took place on the front quad on Friday afternoon. The university took a moment to honor her student-athletes for all of their accomplishments this year.
The end of year banquet was an opportunity to honor each of the teams and student-athletes while they recap the season. Each coach was able to talk about their season as well as academic honors and recognition for stand-out achievement. The administration was able to take a moment to thank long time Hollins riding instructor, Nancy Peterson, for her service to the university and the riding program. Peterson had announced her retirement earlier this month and her team presented her with gifts as a "Thank You" for all she had done for them.
At the end of the afternoon, Hollins was pleased to announce their three award winners for the season. The top honor, Hollins Sportswoman of the Year, was presented to rider Randi Byrd. The Hidden Valley High School alum, finished her final year at Hollins with a tremendous season. In the 10 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) events on the schedule, Byrd was named High Point Rider four times and Reserve High Point Rider twice. Byrd finished second at the IHSA Regional show and follwed that up with a third place effort at the Zone Finals.
The Coaches Excellence Award went to a two-sport athlete that just completed her final year at Hollins. Jhovanna Salmeron finished first in each of Hollins cross country meets for the past two seasons, Hollins brought back the cross country program in 2016. In addition, the former Hollins First-Year Athlete of the Year recipient was a four year starter for the tennis program. The past two seasons, Salmeron played #1 singles and #1 doubles while serving as a team captain.
Basketball player Keyazia Taylor picked up the award for the First-Year Athlete of the Year. The forward was second on the team with 8.1 points per game while leading the team with 8.7 rebounds per game and 1.7 blocks per night. Her 43 blocked shots ranked Keyazia third in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) while ranking fourth in the conference with 226 total rebounds.