Cowell, Melounova selected as University of Hawai’i Bonham Award Winners for 2020


A pair of standout student-athletes were awarded with University of Hawai’i Athletics’ highest honor as women’s tennis’ Petra Melounova and men’s volleyball’s Colton Cowell were selected as the 2020 Jack Bonham Award winners.

The Bonham Award is given annually since 1974 to the top male and female senior student-athlete who “best exemplifies the ideals for which Jack Bonham stood for in the areas of athletic excellence, academic achievement, public service, leadership and character.”

Melounova is just the fifth tennis recipient all-time and first since Rose Thomas won it in 1984. Cowell is the eighth men’s volleyball honoree and fourth in the last six years following in the footsteps of Stijn van Tilburg (2019), Kūpono Fey (2017), and Taylor Averill (2015).

Melounova will undoubtedly conclude her career as the most accomplished tennis player in school history. A 2019 ITA All-American, she is the first tennis player (male or female) to earn three Big West Conference Player of the Year awards and first to advance to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 while qualifying for nationals three times. She was also a three-time, first-team all-conference honoree in both singles and doubles.

Petra Melounova

The Havlíckuv Brod, Czech Republic native has been named to the Dean’s List three times and is scheduled to receive her degree in electrical engineering in December. She was named UH’s Big West Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipient twice and earned UH and ITA scholar-athlete honors three times.

“I’m grateful that Petra has been representing our team, university and our state in the most positive manner as a student-athlete,” women’s tennis head coach Jun Hernandez said. “It has been great to see her achieve all her many accomplishments in the classroom and on the tennis court. She is very focused and dedicated in getting her degree with high marks and excelling on the tennis court to help our team reach our full potential.”

Cowell began his UH career as a walk-on from Maui’s King Kekaulike High School five years ago. In 2020, he earned second-team AVCA All-America honors and was one of three finalists as the nation’s top outside hitters. The Makawao, Maui native was also a first-team all-Big West honoree.

In addition, Cowell has given back to the community, coaching club volleyball while teaching and mentoring local youth to achieve what he’s done through hard work and perseverance. He is also the team’s top scholar-athlete, three-time Big West all-academic, and recently earned his UH-Mānoa degree in economics.


“The Colton Cowell story continues to be one of achievement and great inspiration for people all over the world,” men’s volleyball head coach Charlie Wade said. “He came to UH as a under-sized, under-recruited local kid from up-country Maui, who has, through the belief in himself and commitment to our team, become one of the best players in all of college volleyball, a scholar-athlete, and a respected teammate. With all of his success, he has maintained his humility, his pride in his local roots, and is always a great ambassador for our university and our state.”

Considered the most prestigious award in UH athletics, the Jack Bonham Award is named for the late assistant athletics director who was killed in 1974 in a plane crash in America Samoa. Bonham was returning to the islands from New Zealand where he was on a recruiting trip at the British Commonwealth Games.

All-Time Bonham Award Winners
Year Male Female
2020 Colton Cowell, Volleyball Petra Melounova, Tennis
2019 Stijn van Tilburg, Volleyball Raisa Strom-Okimoto, Soccer
2018 Johnny Weeks, Baseball Franziska Weidner, Swimming
2017 Kupono Fey, Volleyball Cole Brauer, Sailing
2016 Kacy Johnson, Swimming Katie Spieler, Beach Volleyball
2015 Taylor Averill, Volleyball Genevieve Bradley, Diving
Shawna-Lei Kuehu, Basketball
2014 Davis Rozitis, Basketball Emily Hartong, Volleyball
2013 Pi’ikea Kitamura, Baseball Kelly Majam-Elms, Softball
Stephanie Ricketts, Basketball/Softball
2012 Matt Sisto, Baseball Kanani Danielson, Volleyball
2011 Kealoha Pilares, Football Emma Friesen, Swimming
2010 Andreas “Andy” Weber, Tennis Aneli Cubi-Otineru, Volleyball
2009 Solomon Elimimian, Football Annett Wichmann, Track & Field
2008 Colt Brennan, Football Kate Robinson, Softball
2007 Mark Rodrigues, Baseball Kanoe Kamana’o, Volleyball
Brittany Grice, Basketball
2006 Alfred Reft, Volleyball Allie Rowe, Golf
2005 Chad Owens, Football Jennifer Warnock, Sailing
2004 Michael Kuebler, Basketball Melissa Villaroman, Volleyball
2003 Costas Theocharidis, Volleyball Kate Judd, Softball
2002 Predrag Savovic, Basketball Molly O’Bryan, Sailing
2001 Nerijus Puida, Basketball Andrea Nishioka, Water Polo
2000 Dan Robinson, Football Raylene Howard, Basketball
1999 Michael Dartt, Baseball B.J. Itoman, Basketball
1998 Naveh Milo, Volleyball Nani Cockett, Basketball
1997 Carlton Oswalt, Football Angelica Ljungquist, Volleyball
1996 Clint Kuboyama, Football Tania Brunton, Basketball
1995 Jason Olive, Volleyball Brandi Brooks, Volleyball
1994 Jarinn Akana, Basketball Melanie Azama, Basketball
1993 Travis Sims, Football Daniele Haia, Softball
1992 Shawn Ching, Football Heidi McElhanney, Swimming
1991 Dane McArthur, Football Patti Su’a, Softball
1990 Jeff Ball, Baseball Judy Mosley, Basketball
1989 Amosa Amosa, Football Sandra Budd, Swimming
1988 Guy Farrow, Swimming Reydan “Tita” Ahuna, Volleyball
1987 None Susan McDaniel, Diving
1986 Michael Beazley, Football Susan Hlavenka, Volleyball
1985 Joe Lileikis, Swimming Andrea Hawcridge, Swimming
1984 None Rose Thomas, Tennis
1983 Larry Goeas, Football Joy Minaai, Tennis
1982 Brandon Kop, Golf Gillian Cooper, Tennis
1981 Blane Gaison, Football None
1980 Dean Dunn-Rankin, Tennis Bonnie Gouveia, Volleyball
1979 Ron Nomura, Baseball Jane Zukaitis, Tennis
1978 Harris Matsushima, Football
1977 Gerald Ako, Baseball; Alex Kalai, Football
1976 Marilyn Moniz, Women’s Volleyball
1975 Gene Caranza, Men’s Gymnastics
1974 Joey Estrella, Baseball

*Note: Only one award given the first five years

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