March 7, 2014
JEFFERSON, Iowa -- Senior Joanna Sampson(Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) of the No. 7-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team was announced on Friday (March 7) as one of the six finalists for the 2014 AAI Award, given annually to the top senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I women's gymnastics. The winner will be announced at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships awards banquet next month in Birmingham, Ala.
The AAI Award is considered to be the highest honor in the sport, equivalent to college football's Heisman Trophy. Sampson is the 10th gymnast in program history to be named a finalist for the AAI Award, joining Beth Wymer (1995), Wendy Marshall (1996), Bridget Knaeble (2001), Janessa Grieco (2003), Elise Ray (2005), Jenny Deiley (2006), Lindsey Bruck (2008), Kylee Botterman (2011) and Katie Zurales (2013). Of those nine, Botterman was the only winner.
Over her four-year career, Sampson has evolved into one of the nation's top gymnasts. Last season as a junior, Sampson was crowned NCAA champion on floor exercise and also tied for third in the all-around at the NCAA Championships. She was a three-time NCAA All-American -- all first team honors -- while also being named 2013 Big Ten Women's Gymnast of the Year, NCAA Northeast Region Gymnast of the Year and 2012-13 University of Michigan Female Athlete of the Year. She is one of three team captains this season, helping U-M achieve its current No. 7 ranking. Currently, Sampson ranks ninth in the country in the all-around (39.440), is tied for ninth on floor exercise and 20th on vault. In eight meets this season, Sampson has won 13 individual event titles and has recorded five first-place finishes in the all-around, including two scores above 39.600.
The Wolverines host No. 6 Utah and No. 8 UCLA in a tri-meet tonight (Friday, March 7) inside Crisler Center. The meet will begin at 7 p.m.
Contact: Brad Rudner (firstname.lastname@example.org)