NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gymnastics star and two-time Honda Sports Award winner (2007, 2009) Courtney Kupets of the University of Georgia has been awarded the 33rd annual Honda-Broderick Cup, designating her as the 2009 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. The announcement was made today by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program in the Low Library Rotunda at Columbia University in New York City. The prestigious award recognizes not only outstanding athletic achievement but team contributions, scholastics and community involvement.
Kupets, the first athlete from the University of Georgia to be honored as Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year, was presented with her award by softball legend Lisa Fernandez (Honda-Broderick Cup winner, 1993). She was selected as winner of the Honda-Broderick Cup by a voting of nearly 1,000 NCAA member schools and the Board of Directors of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program. Last year’s Honda-Broderick Cup winner was basketball superstar Candace Parker of the University of Tennessee. Previous winners include track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1985), soccer great Mia Hamm (1994) and swimming star Tara Kirk (2004).
Kupets is only the second gymnast to receive the Honda-Broderick Cup in the 33-year history of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program. The first was Missy Marlowe from the University of Utah, who received it in 1992.
Noted Kupets: “The Honda-Broderick Cup is a bit different than any other award, and it actually feels like the biggest award I’ve ever won. I think one of the things that makes it so special for me is that it honors achievement in academics as well as in athletics. While going to school it’s sometimes hard to balance everything in your life, including sports, studies and friends. But winning this award shows me that if you work hard enough and put your heart and soul into something you can succeed in the end. As athletes, many of us understand that education is very important because that’s what’s going to get us through the rest of our lives.”
Kupets was among five finalists for the Honda-Broderick Cup. This year’s other finalists, voted by nearly 1,000 NCAA member schools, included: Jennifer Barringer, University of Colorado (track and field); Nicole Fawcett, Penn State University (volleyball); Danielle Lawrie, University of Washington (softball); and Renee Montgomery, University of Connecticut (basketball).
Led University of Georgia to Its Fifth Straight NCAA Title
As a senior at the University of Georgia, Courtney Kupets led her team to its fifth straight NCAA Championship title this year, winning the all-around, bars, beam and floor competitions and becoming the first gymnast ever to win a national title in all four events. She finished the season ranked #1 in all-around, bars and beam, and second on floor and vault. She received five First-Team All-America honors, making a total of 15 for her career, the maximum for only competing three years (due to an injury she received in 2008). She is the all-time NCAA leader with nine individual championships and was named SEC, AAI National Senior and NCAA Southeast Regional Gymnast of the Year. She also went down in program annals this year, recording a 10.0 on vault at the regional, giving her both the single-season and career grand slams of perfection, joining teammates Heather Stepp (1993) and Karin Lichey (1996). At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Kupets won a Silver Medal with her fellow U.S. team members in the team all-around competition, as well as an individual Bronze Medal in the uneven bar competition.
Born in Bedford, Texas, Kupets, like many Honda Award winners, is an academic standout. Named to the Fall Semester Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, she is a National Honor Society member, was chosen as ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American in both 2009 and 2007 and is a recipient of NCAA and SEC postgraduate scholarships. She is also a member of the Blue Key Honor Society and a recipient of the Richard B. Russell Student Leadership Award, which is given each year to a Society member. Recently, she was chosen as Georgia’s recipient of the Boyd McWhorter Scholarship and she won UGA’s Marilyn Vincent Award as the senior female student-athlete with the highest GPA. In addition to her athletic and academic achievements, Courtney has also worked with Special Olympians, participated in the “Do It For Broph” 5K Run/Walk (with proceeds benefiting a scholarship fund in honor of late UGA basketball player Kevin Brophy) and joined in the SEC “Together We Can” food drive. She is a Housing/Property Management major with a 3.8 GPA.
Individual Honda Sports Award winners, in each of the 12 sports in addition to the final five included: Duke University’s Mallory Cecil for tennis, Purdue University’s Maria Hernandez for golf, Northwestern University’s Hannah Nielsen for lacrosse, Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego for cross-country, Susie Rowe from the University of Maryland for field hockey, Casey Nogueira from the University of North Carolina for soccer and Dana Vollmer from University of California for swimming & diving.
Other Honors Presented on June 22nd
In addition to the annual Honda-Broderick Cup, the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards Program also presents its annual Honda Inspiration Award to a deserving collegiate female athlete. This year’s recipient is Nicole Hester, a star basketball player at Drexel University who was forced to withdraw from classes and miss an entire basketball season due to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma but courageously came back and this year led her team to a school-record 24 wins, including a 16-2 record in conference play and their first-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The program also honors “Athletes of the Year” from both NCAA Division II and Division III colleges. Lock Haven University softball pitcher Kristin Erb won the Division II award for the second time, having received it as a freshman in 2006. She capped her college pitching career by leading the Lady Eagles to their second National Championship in four years, pitching a 50-5 season with a 0.47 ERA and finishing with a 168-18 record, the most victories for a Division II pitcher. She will play professionally for the Philadelphia Force.
The Division III Athlete of the Year Award goes to Hardin-Simmons University track and field standout Ashley Huston. In her senior year at Hardin-Simmons, Huston won both the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon NCAA Championship titles as well as the NCAA outdoor long jump title. She set a new meet record at the outdoor championship of 5,244 points by winning the heptathlon and also won the long jump.
Highlights from the ceremony will be available for free and unrestricted use via satellite newsfeed on Monday, June 22 from 3:45 – 4:00 pm (EST) & 6:45 – 7:00 pm (EST). Satellite coordinates are as follows: C-Band Analog / Galaxy 16 / Trans C8/Downlink 3860 Vertical / Audio 6.2, 6.8
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. sponsors the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program.
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