“The Wilma Rudolph Award continues to be one of our association’s flagship awards because it celebrates how student-athletes have embraced, persevered, and overcome adverse situations within their personal and professional journeys,” said N4A President Ashton Henderson, executive associate athletics director for championship resources at Michigan State University. “These young people provide the bandwidth and runway for us to thrive, and we are grateful to be back in person to celebrate the meritorious achievements of these five amazing recipients.”
The 2022 Wilma Rudolph recipients are Austin Blake, Campbell University; Riley Clark, University of Maine; Mary Griffin, Virginia Tech; Taylor Robertson, University of Dayton; and Jack Winkler, Michigan State University. These five student-athletes will be honored in conjunction with the 2022 N4A Convention on June 27.
Griffin, who started all 18 games on defense for the Hokies in 2022, received a cancer diagnosis in the fall of her sophomore year in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She had contracted the COVID virus herself and received the news via Zoom on a call with a doctor and her parents.
With so many questions swirling during this time, she relied on support from her family and friends, teammates, her phenomenal athletic trainer Anne Bryan and academic advisor Alise Svihla.
Mary and Svihla came up with ‘Mary G’s Game Plan’, a roadmap to her staying organized and focused on her school work. She had the opportunity to withdraw and take a step back to focus on her physical health, but Griffin was determined to stay on track. With Svihla’s help and guidance, Mary completed all of her work on time and earned Dean’s List honors for the semester.
Griffin returned to the field and even played in Tech’s first game at Liberty on February 12, 2021.
This past year, Griffin was a key member of the Hokies’ defense that held opponents to 26 shots per game and held 11 different opponents to under their scoring average. The Hokies registered the program’s first ever win against JMU where she had a career-high four caused turnovers and then upset Notre Dame later in the season.
She was the lacrosse team’s rep for THRIVE (a mental health initiative in the athletics department) and her podcast titled ‘Not a 10’ can be heard on various platforms including Spotify.
Griffin is spending the summer in Portland, Oregon where she has an internship with Adidas.