© Tim Casey

Courtesy Florida Athletic Communications

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida freshman and 2012 NCAA all-around champion Kytra Hunter (Frederick, Md.) 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 36th year.

Hunter is only the third freshman gymnast to collect the Honda Award and the first since Georgia’s Hope Spivey in 1991. Hunter is the second Gator gymnast to receive the honor, as Ann Woods received the 1982 award.

Hunter used a collegiate-best total of 39.725 to become the first Gator to win the NCAA all-around title April 20 in Duluth, Ga. She added the vault title on April 22 to become only the fifth in the meet’s 31-year history to win multiple event titles as a freshman. About a month earlier, Hunter became the first Gator since 1995 to win the Southeastern Conference all-around title. She also took the league’s vault title with a collegiate-best 9.975. Hunter, who picked up the maximum of five All-America honors at the NCAA meet, led the Gators in 2012 with 21 event titles in team competition (seven floor exercise, six all-around, five vault, two balance beam and one uneven bars).

The SEC Freshman of the Year turned in the Gators’ top 2012 scores for all-around (39.725), vault (9.975) and floor exercise (9.975).

“I am so honored to receive gymnastics’ Honda Sports Award. My first season of collegiate competition has been such a wonderful experience,” Hunter said. “I would like to thank the Collegiate Women Sports Award for sponsoring this honor. I am also grateful for my coaches, teammates and family because their strength and support was so important and appreciated. Of course, I must also thank all the Gator fans who came out to cheer us on Aca a