This past year, college sports was full of great athletes and great moments. There were record-setting performances, unbelievable plays and thrilling championships. It's hard to pick just one athlete that stands out as this year's top competitor in all of college sports.
The Broderick Cup is awarded each year to the best female college athlete. This year's winner was a bit of a surprise: Courtney Kupets, a gymnast from the University of Georgia.
Courtney: Kupets' gymnastics season was nothing short of spectacular. At the national championship meet, she won first place in the all-around competition, the beam, the bars and the floor competition. Those four first place finishes tied the record for a single meet. Courtney also won the all-around championship in 2006 and 2007.
The Bulldogs: While Kupets won an impressive collection of individual titles, she also led the Georgia Bulldogs to their fifth-straight national championship. The Bulldogs have won 10 national championships dating back to 1987. Gymnastics is different than other team sports. In sports like soccer, basketball and lacrosse, athletes are competing at the same times as their teammates. They play with each other, passing the ball and interacting with one another. In gymnastics, athletes compete one at a time. Typically, their teammates are on the sidelines, cheering them on and supporting them.
Coming Back: One of the reasons why Kupets' senior season was so remarkable is that she had to work hard to come back from an injury. In 2008, as a junior, she missed most of the season with an injured foot. She was able to rebound and have her best season ever as a senior. With her four national titles as a senior, she won nine national championships in her college career, more than any other college gymnast in history. It's amazing that she was able to set that record even with missing almost an entire year.
Broderick Cup: Some of the most well-known female athletes in history have won this award. Basketball player Candace Parker won it in 2008 and Misty May, the famous Olympic beach volleyball player, won it in 1999. Soccer player Mia Hamm won it in 1994 and Jackie Joyner, a great Olympic runner in the 1980s, won it in 1985. While Kupets' name might not be as famous as these other athletes, her accomplishments are just as amazing.
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