GAINESVILLE, Fla. - University of Florida freshman and 2013 NCAA all-around champion Bridget Sloan (Pittsboro, Ind.) is this year’s Honda Sports Award recipient for gymnastics, distinguishing her as the nation’s top collegiate female athlete in the sport. The honor was based on the results of national balloting among all NCAA member schools as part of The Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 37th year.
Sloan is only the fourth freshman gymnast to collect the Honda Award and the second consecutive, as sophomore teammate Kytra Hunter was the 2012 recipient. Three Gator gymnasts have received the honor with Ann Woods claiming Florida’s first in 1982.
Sloan is the first gymnast to claim World, U.S. (both in 2009) and NCAA all-around titles. Her total of 39.60 in NCAA semifinal action earned her the 2013 NCAA all-around title April 19 in Los Angeles. She added the balance beam title on April 21 to become only the sixth in the meet’s 32-year history to win multiple event titles as a freshman. In the NCAA Super Six final on April 20, Sloan led all competitors by equaling her collegiate all-around best of 39.75 to help Florida to its first NCAA team title.
Among Sloan’s seven all-around wins of 2013 was a share of the Southeastern Conference title, also with a total of 39.75. She also used marks of 9.95 to take a share of the SEC uneven bars and floor exercise titles. Sloan picked up four All-America honors in NCAA Championships competition and also earned four All-America honors in the first National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches (NACGC) All-America regular-season awards. She led the Gators in 2013 with 21 event titles in team competition (seven all-around, six bars, five beam, two vault, one floor).
The SEC Freshman of the Year turned in the Gators’ top 2013 beam mark of 9.975 and her all-around high of 39.75 is the nation’s third-highest total of 2013.
“What a freshman year it has been – being a part of the University of Florida’s first NCAA Championship team and now this. I am so honored to receive the Honda Award. This whole season has been one highlight after another and I feel so fortunate to be a part of the collegiate experience,” Sloan said. “I am happy to share this award with my teammates, coaches and the Gator fans as their support is so important.”
The Honda Sports Award is given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. The Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year will be selected from the 12 individual sports winners. All 12 individual sport winners will travel to Los Angeles for the 2012-13 Honda Cup ceremony on June 23-24. The Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards will present the Honda Cup live on ESPNU, June 24th at the USC Galen Center Founder’s Room in Los Angeles.
The other nominees for the 2013 award were: Rheagan Courville of LSU, Alina Weinstein of Illinois and Vanessa Zamarripa of UCLA. The names of the four nominees were put forward by the United States Elite Coaches Association.
“Bridget’s performance this season was wonderful. She is probably one of the easiest athletes to coach and brings a really fun, light attitude to training and competition. She’s worked incredibly hard and that has paid off with outstanding results,” Florida Head Coach Rhonda Faehn said. “Thank you Honda Awards program for sponsoring this prestigious honor to recognize the amazing abilities of collegiate women student-athletes.”
In honor of Sloan winning the award, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will donate $5,000 to the women’s athletic program at the University of Florida. A Gator has been recognized as a Honda Sports winner 16 times across six different sports. Gator Great and U.S. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Tracy Caulkins is the only Gator to win the Broderick Cup, earning the top award in 1982 and 1984.