COURTESY MIZZOU ATHLETICS
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mizzou Track and Field redshirt senior Megan Cunningham’s (Eureka, Mo.) comeback story was on display on the national stage Tuesday, as she is finalist for the 2018 Honda Inspiration Award.
Cunningham is one of three finalists, as she is joined by Trine Track and Field’s Kara Eck and UCLA Gymnastics’ Christine Peng-Peng Lee. A winner will be announced at a later date by the Collegiate Women Sports Award (CWSA) committee, and will be present at a live telecast of the CWSA Honda Cup, which take place Monday, June 25 in Los Angeles, Calif.
In July 2015, Cunningham and her parents were involved in a horrific car crash while traveling west for a family vacation. The crash left Cunningham’s skull cracked and her neck broken, while her dad remains paralyzed to this day.
After returning briefly during the 2017 track season, Cunningham returned to running full-time in 2017-2018 as she earned NCAA All-Midwest Regional honors during the cross country season and captured conference titles in the SEC Indoor 5000m Run and Outdoor 10,000m run.
Cunningham stepped up as Mizzou’s No. 2 runner during the cross country season, as she finished in the top-15 in four of five races she completed, including a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet which netted her All-Midwest Regional honors.
Cunningham then transitioned to the track, where she recorded program top-10 marks in the 3000m run at the Vanderbilt Invitational (Jan. 20), No. 5 all-time at 9:19.07, and 5000m run at the Music City Challenge, No. 2 all-time at 15:53.20. Cunningham capped the indoor season with an SEC title in the 5000m, the first of her career, as she crossed the finish line at 15:56.76.
Cunningham clocked two more program top-10 marks during the outdoor season, first in the 5000m run as she won the Gorilla Classic (April 14) with a time of 16:03.20 (No. 4 all-time), then at the Drake Relays (April 26) Cunningham won the 10,000m run with a time of 33:19.25 (No. 4 all-time). At the SEC Outdoor Championships (May 11), Cunningham won the 10K SEC title with a time of 33:47.05, as she finished more than a minute ahead of the runner-up.