Alabama Gymnastics Continues Academic All-America Legacy
When the Academic All-American At-Large Team was announced last week by the College Sports Information Directors of American, it was a milestone event for the Alabama gymnastics program.
On the way to being named the women’s Academic All-American of the Year for the at-large team, Lauren Beers became one of a very small number of three-year Academic All-Americans. Mackenzie Brannan, in her first year of eligibility for the coveted award, earned Alabama’s 20th Academic All-American accolade since Julie Estin earned the first in 1986.
Beers and Brannan also became just the third Crimson Tide gymnastics duo to earn Academic All-America honors in the same year. Beers also combined with Kim Jacob in 2014 while Stephanie Kite and Kristin Sterner both earned a place on the at-large team in 20003.
Crimson Tide head coach Dana Duckworth is also a part of Alabama gymnastics’ long and proud tradition when it comes to Academic All-American honors, earning back-to-back honors in 1992 and 1993.
“Being voted an Academic All-American is an amazing honor – one I’ll never forget and one that many of student-athletes strive for every year. I love that it is part of our culture,” Duckworth said. “I’m extremely proud to be a part of Alabama gymnastics’ ongoing tradition when it comes to this honor and even more proud of Lauren and Mack for adding to our long and proud legacy of classroom champions.
Beers also joined with swimmer Anton McKee to give the Crimson an unprecedented sweep of the men’s and women’s Academic All-American of the Year honors for the at-large team.
A native of Warren Center, Pa., Beers also became the fourth Tide gymnast to be named the at-large team member of the year (Beers 2016, Jacob 2014, Kayla Hoffman 2011 and Kite 2004). Overall, The University of Alabama has produced five women’s at-large team Academic All-Americans of the Year (including golfer Brooke Pancake in 2012), with Nebraska tallying three for second place. By itself, the Tide gymnastics program has more women’s Academic All-American At-Large Team member of the year than any other school.
“To have one program earn Academic All-American of the Year recognition four times in 13 years is an extraordinary accomplishment and just another way that Alabama gymnastics sets itself apart when it comes to academic excellence,” Associate Athletics Director for Student Services Jon Dever said.
Beers, the only three-time recipient of the NCAA Elite 90 Award for gymnastics in the honor’s history, earned her undergraduate degree in exercise science, and currently maintains a 4.0 grade point average in her graduate sports management program at Alabama.
Beers closed out her athletic career as an eight-time All-American and five-time NCAA regional champion. She helped lead the Crimson Tide to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the program’s 23rd top-three finish at the national meet. She also led the Tide to four NCAA regional titles and Southeastern Conference championships in 2014 and 2015.
A native of Austin, Texas, Brannan is a four-time All-American following her sophomore season with the Tide. She carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average in psychology. She led Alabama to a top-four NCAA finishes and NCAA regional titles in 2015 and 2016 as well as an SEC title in 2015. A two-time individual NCAA regional champion, she also won the SEC vault title in 2016.
Here is a complete list of Alabama gymnastics’ CoSIDA Academic All-Americans:
- Lauren Beers, 2014, 2015, 2016
- Mackenzie Brannan, 2016
- Kim Jacob, 2013, 2014
- Kayla Hoffman, 2011
- Kassi Price, 2008, 2009, 2010
- Stephanie Kite, 2003, 2004
- Kristin Sterner, 2003
- Merritt Booth, 1998
- Meredith Willard, 1997
- Dana Dobransky, 1992, 1993
- Kelly Good, 1988
- Julie Estin, 1986, 1987