Monday, January 12, 2004
|Kristin Sterner with ESPN's Rece Davis, a fellow Alabama alumnus|
NASHVILLE, TENN -- Former gymnast Kristin Sterner was sitting on stage Sunday night at the NCAA Honors Banquet held here at the Opryland Hotel with some of the most impressive people produced by intercollegiate athletics.
The two-time captain of the Crimson Tide received her NCAA Top VIII Award during the star-studded evening. And while there is no doubt that the 11-time All-American belonged among their number, it was probably a little reassuring to have fellow Alabama alum, Reece Davis, up on the dais with her as the master of ceremony.
In introducing the NCAA Top VIII, Davis, now a broadcaster with ESPN, pointed out that there were 360,000 student-athletes involved in NCAA athletics every year and that those being honored Sunday night were the best of the best.
“You’ve heard of the “Elite Eight” in the NCAA basketball tournament? These men and women are the real ‘Elite Eight’,” Davis said sweeping his arm toward the honorees.
In addition to the Top VIII which included fellow SEC student-athlete Eli Manning among others, the NCAA recognized this year’s recipients of the Silver Anniversary Award, NCAA Award of Valor, Theodore Roosevelt Award and the NCAA Inspiration Award.
As the stories of each honoree were revealed throughout the evening, it became increasingly apparent that those who graced the podium were extraordinary men and women. Award of Valor recipient Jimmy Baxter of South Florida summed it up best, saying more than just a banquet, “this is an inspiration show.”
University of Alabama President Dr. Robert E. Witt presented Sterner with her plaque. Athletics Director Mal Moore, coaches Sarah and David Patterson and assistant coach Bryan Raschilla, faculty athletics representative Joe Hornsby, associate athletics director Marie Robbins, director of academic services Jon Dever and gymnastics academic advisor Cathy Elliott were all in attendance on the night. Sterner was also accompanied by her parents Keith and Lynn Sterner.
“It was an incredible evening,” Sarah Patterson said. “I was thrilled that Kristin, who has meant so much to our program, was able to experience this night. The men and women on that stage are awe inspiring.”
Sterner (middle), with Eli Manning from Ole Miss and Kellen Winslow, Sr., during the ceremonies.
David and Sarah Patterson with their award-winning pupil.
Kristin Sterner with ESPN's Rece Davis, a fellow Alabama alumnus.
2004 NCAA Top VIII Recipients
- Kristin Sterner, University of Alabama, gymnastics;
- Alice (Duesing) Nightingale, Lake Superior State University, basketball;
- Andrew Hilliard, University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), football and track and field;
- Craig Krenzel, Ohio State University, football;
- Theresa Kulikowski, University of Utah, gymnastics;
- Kara Lawson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, basketball;
- Eli Manning, University of Mississippi, football;
- Leoandra Willis Rogers, University of California, Los Angeles, gymnastics.
2004 Silver Anniversary Award Recipients
- Trish Millines Dziko, Monmouth University, 1979-basketball, volleyball, softball,
- Bruce Furniss, University of Southern California, 1979-swimming,
- Virginia Anne (Ginny) Gilder, Yale University, 1979-rowing,
- Stacey Johnson, San Jose State University, 1979-fencing
- Gregory Kelser, Michigan State University, 1979-basketball
- Kellen Winslow, University of Missouri, Columbia, 1979-football
2004 NCAA Award of Valor Recipient
- Jimmy Baxter, University of South Florida, basketball/track and field
2004 Theodore Roosevelt Award
- The Honorable Alan Page, Notre Dame, 1966-football
2004 NCAA Inspiration Award Recipients
- Heather Denison, University of Portland, volleyball
- Emily Miller, University of Tennessee at Martin, soccer
- Mike Nyeholt, University of Southern California, swimming