UCLA's Kristen Maloney Wins Honda Award For Gymnastics
May 3, 2005
Senior All-American and 2005 NCAA vault and beam champion Kristen Maloney (Pen Argyl, PA/Pen Argyl HS) has been awarded the 2004-05 Honda Award for gymnastics, given annually to the nation's top collegiate female gymnast. The honor was based on the result of national balloting amongst 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 29th year.
The former U.S. Olympian and two-time U.S. all-around champion had a stellar career at UCLA. As a freshman, she helped lead UCLA to the 2001 NCAA Championship and earned first-team All-America honors herself, despite a serious leg injury that required surgery after the Championships. The injury kept her out of competition in both 2002 and 2003, and she returned in 2004 to help lead UCLA once again to the team title. She earned All-America honors in the all-around, vault, bars and beam and won a share of the Pac-10 beam title and West Regional vault and beam titles.
Maloney was dominant as a fifth-year senior in 2005, spending the final 10 weeks of the 2005 season as the nation's top-ranked all-around gymnast and placing second in the all-around competition at the NCAA Championships despite competing with a sprained ankle. She won the NCAA vault and beam titles, becoming only the third gymnast ever to win that combo in the same year. Maloney also won the Pac-10 all-around, vault, beam and floor titles and the NCAA West Regional vault, beam and floor crowns. She was selected the Sports Illustrated on Campus National Gymnast of the Year, the West Region Gymnast of the Year and the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year and received first-team All-America honors in the all-around, vault, beam and floor.
She accomplished several historic feats in 2005. On Mar. 6, she became the first UCLA gymnast ever and only the fourth gymnast in NCAA history to score a perfect 10 on all four events in her career, receiving a 10.0 on bars. She also earned a 10.0 on floor at the NCAA team finals. At the NCAA Event Finals, she became the first collegiate gymnast ever to perform a double layout full-out on floor exercise and only the second collegiate gymnast to perform a laid-out double-twisting Yurchenko on vault. Maloney also became just the second Pac-10 gymnast ever to earn the maximum five all-conference honors in one year.
'It is a great honor to be the recipient of the Honda Award for gymnastics this year,' said Maloney. 'To be able to finish out my career like this is really amazing. I have had such a great time competing here at UCLA, especially this year. It has been a great ride!'
'No one deserves this award more than Kristen Maloney,' said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. 'She accomplished so much in her career, on a national, international and collegiate level, but what she will always be remembered for is her heart and her determination. She truly has the heart of a champion. I've been saying all year that she is a living legend in the sport of gymnastics, and I am thrilled that she is being recognized as such.'
Maloney's Honda Award victory earns her an automatic nomination for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Award. She was voted over three other nominees: Annabeth Eberle of Utah, Elise Ray of Michigan and Richelle Simpson of Nebraska. Other Honda Award winners already announced include: Seimone Augustus for basketball; Ogonna Nnamani for volleyball; Kelly Dostal for field hockey; Leslie Osborne for soccer; Kim Smith for cross-country; and Kirsty Coventry for swimming. Athletes voted the most outstanding in golf, lacrosse, softball, tennis and track & field will be named in the coming months. 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 in New York on June 29, 2005.
UCLA has had four previous Honda Award recipients for gymnastics - Onnie Willis in 2002-03, Mohini Bhardwaj in 2000-01, Jill Andrews in 1989-90 and Sharon Shapiro in 1980-81 - and 24 Honda Award winners overall.