Alabama gymnast named finalist for 2011 Honda Award

Alabama senior Kayla Hoffman has been named one of four finalists for the 2011 Honda Award, given annually to the nation's top gymnast, it was announced today. A five-time All-American, Hoffman led the Crimson Tide to its fifth NCAA Championship last Saturday, clinching the win with a 9.95 on the floor exercise.

"I couldn't be prouder of the career Kayla has had and the role she played in our fifth NCAA Championship," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "She told CBS after we won on Saturday that championships aren't about talent, but about heart and to me that sums Kayla's success perfectly. While she is supremely talented, I feel that it is her heart that made the difference for us this season and what makes her such a tremendous candidate for the Honda Award."

The other finalists include Kylee Botterman, Michigan, Brittani McCullough, UCLA, and Sharaya Musser, Penn State. The winner of the Honda Award for gymnastics becomes a candidate for The Honda-Broderick Cup awarded annually to the collegiate woman athlete of the year. As a finalist, American Honda will donate $1,000 to Alabama in Hoffman's name.

The NCAA Runner-up in both the all-around and balance beam, Hoffman has already been named the NCAA Central Region Gymnast of the Year. The Union, N.J., native was also named the Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Year and SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year, becoming the first in league history to earn both honors in the same season.

Hoffman clinched Alabama's seventh SEC Championship earlier this season by winning the vault with a 9.95 and led the Tide to its 26th NCAA Regional title with a near sweep of the individual championships, taking first in the all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise.

She has also enjoyed tremendous success in the classroom, carrying a 4.0 grade point average for her career while majoring in Human Development and Family Studies with an eventual goal of working with children after graduation. She is the SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year and earned an SEC Postgraduate Scholarship. A three-time Scholastic All-American and a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Hoffman is a constant on the President's Honor Roll (4.0 GPA) and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics