Georgia's Katie Heenan wins Honda Sports Award as top gymnast
posted on 05/06/2008
Katie Heenan
© Georgia Sports Communications

May 6, 2008 — Katie Heenan, a University of Georgia senior, has been voted the 2008 Honda Sports Award winner as the nation’s top collegiate female gymnast. The honor was based on the results of national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 32nd year.

Heenan’s victory will earn her the 2008 Honda Sports Award, given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, along with automatic nomination for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. She was voted over three other nominees: Lindsey Bruck, a senior at the University of Michigan, Ashley Postell, a senior at the University of Utah, and Tabitha Yim, a senior at Stanford University. The nominees were selected by the United States Elite Coaches Association. Hennan’s Gym Dog teammate, Courtney Kupets, received the Honda Sports Award last year.

Heenan was born in Indianapolis and her current hometown is South Riding, VA. She led her team to its fourth straight national championship this year, finishing second in the uneven bars competition in the NCAA individual event finals. She earned First-team All-America honors in the all-around with a third-place finish. In addition, she earned recognition on vault, bars and beam. She won both the Northeast Regional bars and beam titles, tying her career-high of 9.950 in both categories. She is also this year’s Southeastern Conference vault champion and finished second in the all-around. She was unable to compete in the all-around this year in Georgia’s first eight meets due to injury, but went on to win her first three attempts, including a career-best 39.775 in her final regular-season meet at home. She hit all but one of her 50 competitive routines in 2008. She is also the all-time career-scoring leader for Georgia.

Heenan was named SEC Gymnast of The Year in 2007 and also tied for first in the all-around with teammate Courtney Kupets at the SEC Championships. She also won the 2005 SEC all-around title as a freshman, making her the second Georgia gymnast with two SEC all-around titles.

Like many Honda Sports Award winners, Heenan is an academic standout in addition to her excellence in athletics. She is both a NACGC Academic All-American and an SEC Academic Honor Roll member. A Middle School Education major, she loves children and volunteers her time with teaching gymnastics to athletes in the Special Olympics.

“I’m very honored to win the Honda Sports Award,” says Heenan. “After I was diagnosed with two herniated disks in my back last year I went through an especially painful season, and it’s really gratifying to see that my decision to keep training and competing, and all the effort I made during the season, has really paid off. I could never have done it without the great support I received from my coaches, trainers, doctors and teammates all year. Getting this award just one year after Courtney Kupets won it is just amazing. She’s a remarkable woman and a wonderful athlete.”

Heenan is the seventh winner of the Honda Sports Award in gymnastics from the University of Georgia, joining Courtney Kupets (2007), Karin Lichey (1999), Hope Spivey (1991), Lucy Wener (1989) and two-time winner Kim Arnold (1997 & ’98).

Previously announced 2008 Honda Sports Award recipients include Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego for cross-country, the University of North Carolina’s Rachel Dawson for field hockey, Texas A&M University’s Ashlee Pistorius for soccer, Stanford University’s Foluke Akinradewo for volleyball, University of Florida’s Caroline Burckle for swimming & diving and the University of Tennessee’s Candace Parker for basketball. Honda Sports Award winners in golf, lacrosse, softball, tennis, and track & field will be announced in June. The Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year will be determined by separate balloting involving all NCAA-member institutions and the winner will receive the Honda- Broderick Cup at Columbia University’s Low Library on Monday, June 23.

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. sponsors the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program.