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2008 Season Concludes With Awards Banquet

BY ANDRES FOCIL
2008 Season Concludes With Awards Banquet

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 10th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team wrapped up the 2008 season with a team awards banquet in Raymond Miller Hall of Champions Sunday afternoon. The Gym’Backs recapped a record-setting season in which the team finished a program-best 10th at the NCAA Championship. Arkansas had its first two all-Americans and its first gymnast in the finals as well. “We couldn’t have asked for a more complete season,” said co-head coach Mark Cook. “We set some lofty goals but we were able to reach most of them and our success in 2008 has just increased our fire for next season.” The coaching staff selected six awards for the 2008 season. The annual Arkansas Scholar-Athlete of the Year was given to freshman Molly Lewis and sophomore Allison Daniels both of whom have perfect 4.0 grade point averages. The Valerie Conroy Service Award, which was created in 2006 for the gymnast who demonstrates service to her team and teammates, was given to manager Ashley Binns for her commitment to the team. The 2008 Most Improved Gymnast was given to sophomore Sarah Nagashima. Nagashima competed only one event as a freshman and was not in the starting lineup when this season opened. She worked her way into the lineup competing for the all-around title before settling into a three-event gymnast for Arkansas. This year’s Most Outstanding Gymnast award went to sophomore Casey Jo Magee. Magee competed as the team’s top all-arounder for the second consecutive season earning this award after being named the Most Improved last year. The Dana McQuillin Coaches Award was earned by a pair of gymnasts this year. Sophomores Amy DeFilippo and Michelle Stout were honored as the team members who represent the team above and beyond normal expectations. Finally, the coaches created a new honor for this year christening the Samantha Cortez Leadership Award with Cortez as the inaugural recipient. Cortez exemplified leadership in and out of the gym and was honored with the fourth “named” award. In addition to the banquet honors, senior Emily Peacock earned the Brandon Burlsworth Scholar-Athlete Award and as the 2008 Brad Davis SEC Community Service Award winner. The Brandon Burlsworth Scholar-Athlete Award is named for former Razorback football player Brandon Burlsworth whose life was cut short by a tragic accident after he graduated. The award is presented to senior student-athletes who exemplify Burlsworth’s ideals including good moral character and who have demonstrated a desire to excel in the classroom and who have a commitment to the improvement of the University of Arkansas and its surrounding communities. The Brad Davis SEC Community Service Award recognizes outstanding and meritorious community service achievements of one male and one female student-athlete from each institution during his or her entire collegiate career. Named after former SEC Associate Commissioner Brad Davis, the award includes a $2,000 post graduate scholarship to be used beyond the baccalaureate degree for pursuit of a graduate or professional degree.



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)