Thursday, April 03, 2003
Alabama gymnast Kristin Sterner has been named recipient of the 2002-03 H. Boyd McWhorter Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year Award, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced Wednesday. The awards will be formally presented to the two student-athletes at the annual Awards Banquet at the league's spring meeting in Destin, Fla. on May 29.
Florida basketball player Matt Bonner won the men's award. The two were chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from SEC universities and will each receive a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship.
"The H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award is the highest honor a student-athlete can receive in the Southeastern Conference," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "Matt and Kristin, through their hard work, dedication and commitment - in the classroom, athletics and in the community - have set a standard for excellence that makes them outstanding recipients of this honor."
Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore echoed Slive's comments, saying "This is a tremendous honor, not just for Kristin, but for our department as a whole, and it is one for which she is most deserving. The Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award is particularly prestigious because it prizes scholarship and athletic achievement in equal parts.
"Kristin has been a champion in the classroom and the gym, and we are truly proud of how she represents the University of Alabama," Moore said.
Sterner is the fourth Alabama athlete and Tide gymnast to earn the award. Dr. Julie (Estin) Vaughn took the honor in 1987, followed by former baseball player Dr. Jeff Laubenthal in 1992 and Meredith Willard in 1997.
A nine-time All-American going into this year's NCAA Championships, Sterner has maintained a 3.92 grade point average in biology. She was captain of Alabama's 2002 NCAA Championship squad and has led Alabama to a pair of SEC team titles, including the 2003 championship last week in Birmingham, Ala. The Crimson Tide is currently ranked fifth in the nation heading into the NCAA Regionals on April 12 and the NCAA Championships on April 24-26 in Lincoln, Neb.
"From day one when Kristin came to school here, there's never been a doubt that her priority was being a scholar-athlete as well as an All-American athlete," head coach Sarah Patterson said. "It's not necessarily that things come overly easy to her, it's that she manages her time and is dedicated to being successful in that area. I certainly feel like whatever she does, she's going to be successful in it."
Sterner earned All-American honors on the balance beam and floor exercise last season and tallied four All-America honors as a sophomore in 2001 and three as a freshman in 2000. She has won the NCAA Central Region vault title in 2001 and the NCAA Southeast Region balance beam title last season. She earned all-SEC status as a freshman and sophomore.
This season, she has twice bettered her career best all-around mark and was named SEC Gymnast of the Week for her performance against LSU at mid-season, where she scored a 39.675 in the all-around. She is a finalist for the AAI American Award, given annually to the top senior gymnasts in the nation.
Sterner has been named Scholastic All-American throughout her collegiate career and has made the President's list three times and the Dean's List for four times at Alabama. She is a member of Beta Beta Beta, Phi Eta Sigma Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In 2002, she participated in the McCollough Medical Scholars Forum at Alabama.
The daughter of Keith and Lynn Sterner, Kristin has been active in community service, working at several youth camps, reading to students at local elementary schools and volunteering with the Salvation Army, United Way and Big Oak Ranch. Sterner has also visited area hospitals, handing out gifts and talking with patients, and has worked with youth gymnastics clubs in the Tuscaloosa area.
The SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards were first presented in 1986. The honor was renamed the H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athletes of the Year in May 1990 to honor the former commissioner who served the conference from 1972-86.