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WVU distance runner Petal Palmer honored with award for her resilience while fighting leukemia

By Bob Hertzel for the Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Sometimes news releases come through the newsroom that don’t get the attention they deserve and so it was two months ago when it was announced that West Virginia University distance runner Petal Palmer from Toronto was one of five winners of the National Association of Academic Student-Athlete Development Professionals 2024 Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award.

Let’s face it, there’s a whole lot of awards out there these days and sometimes they hit on a busy news day or the honoree isn’t a sports headliner, so they receive just token attention without anyone delving into what the award is all about.

This isn’t a Heisman or an MVP award. It isn’t given for victory on the playing field, but for far greater struggles than athletes normally must endure, the award being present to “student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.”

Petal Palmer’s story is one that you will remember far after you forget who won the Heisman Trophy in 2023.

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