"I owe much of this honor to my team for providing the competitive environment and the support necessary to allow me to excel at a high level. The Honda Committee has honored many Tar Heels with this award and I am extremely humbled to become the 12th Tar Heel recipient over the years to be so honored," said Dunn.
Dunn is the 11th Tar Heel to win the award since Shannon Higgins' selection in 1989 and she is Carolina's 12th selection overall. Other recipients include Kristine Lilly in 1991, Mia Hamm in 1992 and 1993, Tisha Venturini in 1994, Lorrie Fair in 1999, Meredith Florance in 2000, Catherin Reddick in 2003, Heather O'Reilly in 2006, Casey Nogueira in 2008 and Whitney Engen in 2009.
The CWSA presents the Honda Sports Award annually to top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. With this honor, Dunn becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the 2013 Honda Cup. Dunn was chosen by a vote from 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Alina Garciamendez-Rowold (Stanford University), Christine Nairn (Penn State University), and Ines Jaurena (Florida State University).
"Obviously we consider this an extraordinary honor and we're excited the Honda Committee picked Crystal Dunn. It's clear they were aware of her importance to our run through the NCAA Tournament. She scored goals in the first four games of the Tournament run and assisted on goals in both College Cup games, including the game-winner against Stanford. It has been a dream fall for Crystal and the Tar Heels. We are incredibly proud of Crystal and thrilled with this wonderful recognition," said Head Coach Anson Dorrance.
Dunn is a sociology major who spent part of the 2012 collegiate season with the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Soccer Team that claimed the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in September in Japan.
Both Dunn and Amber Brooks, who won the TopDrawerSoccer National Player of the Year award last week, are eligible to have their numbers honored by the University. Both players' numbers will be "retired" (although the numbers remain active at the discretion of the nominee). Brooks #22 was previously worn by National Player of the Year Cindy Parlow and Dunn's #19 was previously worn by National Player of the Year Mia Hamm.
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 37 years, recognizing not only superior athletic skills, but also leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Honda has been a sponsor of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards for the past 27 years. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $2.5 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions. Previous Honda Cup winners include Brittney Griner, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Lisa Fernandez, Misty May-Treanor, Maya Moore, and Candace Parker.