Melissa Jefferson’s spectacular year: Sprinter recognized as Sun Belt Female Athlete of the Year


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Melissa Jefferson celebrates becoming a National Champion at the 2022 NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Coastal Carolina University sprinter Melissa Jefferson was awarded the Sun Belt Conference Female Athlete of the Year for the 2021-2022 season.

The award is the most prestigious and sought-after honor in the Sun Belt Conference and is only given to the athletes who perform at the highest level.

Jefferson is the second Coastal Carolina student to be honored as the athlete of the year; former volleyball player Leah Hardeman was given the award first in 2018.

Jefferson’s outstanding performance at the World Athletics Championships in July where she won a Gold Medal and became a World Champion as a member of Team USA’s women’s 4×100-meter relay team was only one of the many reasons why she was recognized with the esteemed reward.

Jefferson also became a U.S. Track and Field National Champion by winning the women’s 100-meter race during the 2022 Toyota USA Track Outdoor Championships.

She became the first-ever individual NCAA National Champion in the history of CCU at the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Indoor Track and Field Championships.

During the race, Jefferson broke the Sun Belt Conference and Coastal Carolina University record time of 7.09 seconds in the 60-meter dash. During her time at Coastal, Jefferson was also a two-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association first-team All-American. She also was given the honors of first-team All-Sun Belt Conference during indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.