Nerves played a big part in the race that Villanova's Sheila Reid ran last year at the NCAA Division I women's cross-country championships, and she finished 12th.

Last month, the redshirt junior from Newmarket, Ontario, stayed relaxed and broke out of a three-woman pack with 200 meters to go and won the race to propel the Wildcats to their second straight team title.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Reid had also won the 2011 Honda Sports Award as the nation's top female college cross-country runner.

The award is based on the results of balloting among 1,000 NCAA schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program and qualifies Reid to become a top-three finalist for collegiate woman athlete of the year. That winner will be announced June 27 in New York.

The Honda Sports Award is given annually to the top women's athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports.

The other cross-country nominees, selected by their finishes at the NCAA championships, were Oregon sophomore Jordan Hasay, Georgetown junior Emily Infeld, and Texas-El Paso sophomore Risper Kimaiyo.

"Villanova has such a great women's cross-country tradition, and the accomplishments of the incredible women that came before me have paved the road for the current team to be where we are now," Reid said in a statement.

Reid led the Wildcats to an undefeated 2010 season, capped by the second straight NCAA title. She is a five-time all-American in cross-country and track and was named the 2010 cross-country national female athlete of the year and Mid-Atlantic Region athlete of the year for the second straight season.

Honda Award winners in basketball, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball, and track and field will be announced over the next few months.

Contact staff writer Gary Miles
at 215-854-4487 or gmiles@phillynews.com.