DULUTH, Ga - For the third year in a row, an Alabama gymnast has earned the NCAA's Elite 89 Award, and for the second year in a row, that gymnast was All-American Rachel Terry, who carries a perfect 4.0 GPA for her career.
The senior from Hoover, Ala., was presented with the award, which goes to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the final site for each of the NCAA's 89 championships, during Thursday's NCAA Championship Banquet.
"I'm so proud of Rachel," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "A vault All-American as a freshman, she has had some physical difficulties throughout her career, but I feel like as she was going through those challenges, she maintained her focus in the gym and the classroom and for her to be able to close out her career by winning this award for the second time is very special."
Terry follows in the footsteps of Kassi Price, who earned the inaugural award as a senior in 2010 with a 4.0 GPA of her own.
"I think it is a testament to the ideals that are most important to this program that one of our ladies has earned the Elite 89 Award in each of its first three years in existence," Patterson said. "It speaks volumes about the level of excellence that our ladies aspire to on a daily basis."
A three-year Scholastic All-American, Terry is majoring in early childhood education. She has been inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta, Kappa Delta Epsilon and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies and earned the College of Human Environmental Science's Phi Upsilon Omicron Award.
"When Rachel came to the University, because she was homeschooled, it took a long time for her to get certified by the NCAA," Patterson said. "It probably took longer than anyone else we've ever had. To see her not only win this award, but to win it twice, shows how great home schooling can be."
Terry's trophy is the fifth Elite 89 honor garnered by Alabama over the last three years. Terry and Price are joined by golfer Brooke Pancake who took home the trophy in the spring of 2010 and cross country runner Nathan Corder who earned the honor in the fall of 2010.
Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.
Senior Geralen Stack-Eatonwas also honored during banquet as one of six finalists for the AAI Senior Award. The defending NCAA Floor Exercise Champion, Stack-Eaton is a Scholastic All-American, an eight-time All-American and the 2012 NCAA Central Region Gymnast of the Year.
Terry, Stack-Eaton and their teammates start competition at the NCAA Championships on Friday at 6 p.m. EDT in the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.