NEW ORLEANS – Coastal Carolina sprinter Melissa Jefferson was named the 2021-22 Sun Belt Conference Female Athlete of the Year, the league office announced on Thursday.

The Sun Belt Athlete of the Year award, which annually recognizes one female and one male student-athlete, is the highest individual honor bestowed by the Conference, based on athletic performance, academic success, outstanding leadership, and character.

Jefferson is the second student-athlete in the history of Coastal Carolina to be named Sun Belt Athlete of the Year, as former Chanticleer volleyball player Leah Hardeman was the 2017-18 SBC Female Athlete of the Year.

Jefferson won a Gold Medal and was crowned a 2022 World Champion as part of Team USA’s women’s 4×100-meter relay team at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in July 2022. She also crossed the finish line with a time of 11.03 (0.8) in the women’s 100-meter finals to place eighth overall at the 2022 World Athletics Championships.

She was also crowned the U.S. Track & Field National Champion in the women’s 100-meters at the 2022 Toyota USA Track Outdoor Championships, crossing the finish line first with an amazing time of 10.69 (+2.9) in the finals to earn the Gold Medal.

Jefferson, a native of Georgetown, S.C., became the first-ever individual NCAA National Champion in Coastal Carolina history at the 2022 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. She crossed the finish line in first with a Sun Belt Conference and Coastal Carolina University record time of 7.09 in the 60-meter dash.

Jefferson will receive her award at the Sun Belt Conference Fall Honors Banquet held in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 2.