WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Eva Cardova, a talented mainstay on a dominating women's alpine ski team, is the 2002 recipient of the Mignon Borleske Trophy, which is presented annually to the top female athlete at Whitman College.
The trophy, which is awarded by a vote of the Whitman coaching staff, recognizes athletic ability and accomplishments, leadership and sportsmanship qualities, and contributions to the campus as a whole.
A former member of the Slovakian national ski team, Cardova did little more than win at Whitman, both as an individual and as a member of a women's squad that ruled small-college skiing in the western United States.
During her tenure, the Missionaries captured four consecutive Northwest Collegiate Ski Conference (NCSC) titles, winning 30 of 31 events. She finished 27 of those events, winning six races, placing second 11 times, and taking third or fourth on five other occasions. Cardova slipped out of the top eight just one time, when she missed a gate on her first run and entered the second run in 43rd place. She won that second run, however, to place 22nd overall.
Cardova enjoyed her best conference season as a sophomore, when she won five races, placed second once, and ran away with the NCSC's individual points title. She placed second in the point standings as both a freshman and junior, finishing behind a Whitman teammate in both cases. As a senior, with the points title going to a third Missionary teammate, Cardova slipped to third place, just a few points out of the runner-up spot.
The Whitman women's team also won U.S. Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSSA) West Region titles in three of Cardova's four seasons. For her part, Cardova won the regional giant slalom race as a senior, after placing second as a junior. She placed as high as fourth in her regional slalom races.
Cardova helped the Missionary women place second to mighty Sierra Nevada College in four consecutive national championship competitions. She won numerous All-American honors at nationals, placing as high as third and fifth in the giant slalom, and as high as ninth and 11th in the giant slalom.
An assortment of injuries, including a bad back, slowed but failed to stop Cardova during her last two years, Whitman alpine coach Tom Olson said. "Eva's junior and senior seasons were a testament to her toughness and commitment to her team. She never stopped being a team leader."
Cardova also served Whitman's athletic community in other ways, Olson noted. She is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and works as head supervisor in the Sherwood Fitness Center.
Cardova, who graduated from Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine, is majoring in German studies at Whitman. She is the daughter of Bohumil Carda and Jana Cardova of Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.
The Mignon Borleske Trophy honors a woman who first came to Whitman in 1915 as the young spouse of Raymond V. Borleske, a sports legend in the making. Her husband, who had starred as a football and baseball player at Whitman, was embarking at the time on a long coaching careeer at his alma mater. Mignon Borleske taught dance and women's education classes at Whitman for nearly four decades.