KENT, Ohio ? Senior Jolene Worley from Eastern Michigan University swept both the Gymnast of the Year and Senior Gymnast of the Year awards that were handed on the eve of the 2008 Mid-American Conference Women’s Gymnastic Championships. The honors were announced at the annual championship banquet, held this year at the Kent State Ballroom at the Student Center on the KSU campus.
Also honored were Specialist of the Yea Jackie Bernhardt from Bowling Green State University; Freshman of the Year Andrea De La Garza from Central Michigan University; and Coach of the Year Brice Biggin from Kent State.
Biggin, in his 17th year at KSU, led the Golden Flashes to a regular season title with a perfect 6-0 slate in league competition. This is the second consecutive year Coach Biggin has received this honor and the seventh time overall in his 17 seasons as the Golden Flashes mentor.
Worley, a senior from Orlando, Fla. (William R. Boone HS) is defending Mid-American Conference all-around champion and enjoyed great success in her final year for the Green and White. Overall this season, the two-time MAC Gymnast of the Week has 10 individual event titles (three on the uneven bars and floor exercise and four on the balance beam) and four all-around crowns. She has finished in the top-10 in the all-around in every meet this season, with her lowest showing a third place finish at the prestigious Michigan Classic. In the latest MAC rankings, she is first in the all-around with an average of 38.605, third on the balance beam (9.705), seventh on the floor (9.645), and eleventh on the bars (9.662).
Bernhardt, senior out of Chandler, Az. (Hamilton HS) was noted for her skills on the vault and floor. She currently ranks 3rd in the conference with an RQS of 9.815 and she is leading to qualify to NCAA Regionals on that event. Her high score is a 9.875. On floor, Bernhardt is fourth in the MAC with an RQS of 9.775 and she is also leading to qualify to NCAA regionals on that event. Her high score this season was a 9.875 on floor, a career high. She was been named MAC Specialist of the week on Feb. 12.
Andrea De La Garza is from nearby Macomb, Mich. (Dakota HS) who won a total of nine events this year and finished in the top three 22 times. She has the top all-around score in the MAC this season with a 39.375 against Bowling Green and also ranks in the top 6 in the conference on every event in individual high score, sitting first in vault (9.925), third in beam (9.85), fifth on floor (9.85) and sixth on bars (9.800).
The championship begins Saturday at 2:05 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center on the Kent State campus, results are posted live.