Kristen Maloney Nominated For Honda Award

April 26, 2005

Nine-time All-American and 2005 NCAA vault and beam champion Kristen Maloney (Pen Argyl, PA/Pen Argyl HS) was selected as one of four finalists for the 2004-05 Honda Award for gymnastics.

Maloney spent the final 10 weeks of the 2005 season as the nation's top-ranked all-around gymnast and placed 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.

At the 2005 NCAA Championships, Maloney led UCLA to a fourth-place team finish, recording the highest all-around score of the night (39.725). Amongst her scores was a perfect 10 on the floor exercise on UCLA's first event. It was her first 10 on floor this season and fifth overall for her career. She made history on March 6 with her perfect 10 on uneven bars, becoming the first UCLA gymnast and only the fourth gymnast in NCAA history to score a perfect 10 on every event in her career.

Maloney was a model of consistency, ending her career with 32 straight meets and 114 consecutive routines without a fall, a streak that dated back to 2001. In 2005, she scored 9.9 or higher on 40 of 58 routines competed (69%) and 9.8 or higher on 55 of 58 routines (95%). She also pushed the envelope in terms of difficulty, competing some of the most difficult and unique skills in collegiate gymnastics. At the NCAA Event Finals this year, she became the first collegiate gymnast ever to perform a double layout full-out on the floor exercise and only the second collegiate gymnast ever to perform a laid-out double-twisting Yurchenko on vault.

The former U.S. Olympian received 2005 All-Pac-10 acclaim in the all-around, vault, bars, beam and floor, becoming only the second Pac-10 gymnast to earn the maximum five all-conference awards in one year. In 2004, she earned all-conference honors on the balance beam after winning a share of the Pac-10 title. Maloney also captured the NCAA Southeast Regional titles on vault and beam and tied the NCAA Championship record with a perfect 10 on vault.

Maloney accomplished all of this despite a serious leg injury that forced five surgeries and kept her out of competition in 2002 and 2003.

The three-time NCAA team champion is a two-time Pac-10 All-Academic honoree and earned her degree in Psychology last month.

'Kristen Maloney is a true legend in the sport of gymnastics, and it is only fitting that she is being honored as a nominee for the Honda Award,' said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. 'Considering all that she went through with her leg injuries, including sitting out two seasons to heal, the fact that she came back and absolutely shined the way that she did these last two years is a true testament to her heart, perseverance, determination and character.'

Other finalists for the 2004-05 Honda Award for gymnastics are Annabeth Eberle from Utah, Elise Ray from Michigan and Richelle Simpson from Nebraska.

The Honda Award annually recognizes the top female college athlete in each of the 12 NCAA-sanctioned women's sports. The Honda Awards winners are then candidates for the Honda-Broderick Cup, which recognizes the outstanding Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. UCLA has had four 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.

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