Nia Dennis Selected as Finalist for AAI Award
UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis has been named one of six finalists for the AAI Award, presented to the nation's most outstanding senior gymnast.
Dennis has recorded a career-high 39.475 in the all-around this season and is the only Bruin to score 9.9 or higher on all four events, with highs of 9.950 on floor exercise and uneven bars, 9.925 on vault and 9.900 on balance beam. She has a team-best 12 scores of 9.9 or higher, including a team-high three 9.95s. The Bruins' top vaulter, she is averaging 9.872 and ranks 23rd in the nation on the event. She is also Top 30 on uneven bars.
She is a 2019 first-team All-American on uneven bars and helped the Bruins capture the 2018 NCAA Championship and 2018 and 2019 Pac-12 Championships. A four-time All-Pac-12 honoree, she also has two Pac-12 Specialist of the Week awards in her career, in 2021 and 2019. Throughout her career, she has 23 individual event wins, including 11 this season.
Dennis's work off the competition floor has been significant this season, as she has become a strong voice for representation and diversity and inclusion in the sport of gymnastics and a shining example of Black Excellence, which her now-viral floor exercise routine celebrates.
The other finalists for the award are Alyssa Baumann (Florida), Lynnzee Brown (Denver), Kyana George (California), Lexy Ramler (Minnesota), and Anastasia Webb (Oklahoma).
This is the fourth consecutive year a Bruin has been an AAI Finalist, as Dennis joins Kyla Ross (2020), Katelyn Ohashi (2019), and Christine Peng-Peng Lee (2018 and 2017).