La Tech's Antoinette Cobb Receives Honda Inspiration Award

LOS ANGELES - Louisiana Tech track standout Antoinette Cobb was honored by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards and the American Honda Corporation Monday, receiving the 22nd Annual Honda Inspiration Award in a ceremony at the UCLA campus.

Monday's ceremony and press conference came after a dinner was held in her honor Sunday evening at the Hyatt Century City Plaza in Los Angeles where Cobb was the keynote speaker.

Cobb was honored with the Honda Inspiration Award after overcoming the third-deadliest form of cancer at the age of 19 and going on to become ranked seventh in the nation and as high as 16th in the world in the 100m hurdles this year.

A product of West Feliciana High School, Cobb becomes the first student-athlete from the state of Louisiana and the Western Athletic Conference to win the award.

In her keynote speech Sunday evening, Cobb credited her determination to return to the track as her motivation to get through the six months of chemotherapy treatments.

"Getting back on the track was the goal I kept focusing on throughout all the treatments," said Cobb during her speech. "It wasn't easy and I had some days where I felt sorry for myself. But early on [in her chemotherapy treatments] I met a 40 year old woman who had been in and out of chemo treatments over the span of 10 years. I realized then that if she can keep fighting this then I, at 19 years old, had the strength to fight it too."

Cobb noted in media interviews Monday that there were three main moments in her career that stood out. The first came in her first race back after redshirting her sophomore year due to chemotherapy treatments as she ran a personal best time. The second occurred during the 2010 season when she broke the school record in the 100m hurdles and the final came at the NCAA East Preliminary Championships last month when she failed to qualify for the NCAA Championships in her primary event, the 100m hurdles.

"Going through everything, I thought advancing to nationals this year would be my fairy tale ending," said Cobb. "I thought it would be like something out of a movie - get cancer, fight back and make it to nationals my last year in college - but it didn't end out that way. But I didn't feel sorry for myself when I considered that the fight to beat cancer was much more of a victory than advancing to nationals."

While Cobb's eligibility in collegiate competition has expired, she will continue to represent Louisiana Tech on the track this week as she competes at the USA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa along with teammate Quanisha Sales, who will compete in the 100m and 200m dashes in the USA Junior Championships division.

On Friday, Cobb will compete in the 100m hurdles against over 20 other athletes with all but nine in that field currently competing professionally. Cobb has also qualified in the 200m dash.

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(Courtesy: Louisiana Tech Athletics Department)