Bryant Named Honda Award Finalist
BATON ROUGE – Junior Haleigh Bryant was named a 2023 Honda Award Finalist for gymnastics, THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards announced on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve never been prouder of a gymnast than I am of Haleigh. She represents every aspect of what a coach could ever ask for,” said head coach Jay Clark. “Her leadership, consistency in and out of the gym and investment in her team sets the example. On top of that, she’s also just a great human being.”
“Her stats are staggering when you see what she did this year. 64 for 64 routines with an average of 9.900+ across all events? That’s unheard of. She did the all-around every single meet because her team needed her too. In an age of self, Haleigh Bryant was the ultimate act of selflessness. She is just incredible.”
Bryant, a 17-time All-American and two-time Central Region Gymnast of the Year, is one of four finalists for this year’s Honda Award. She is joined by Florida’s Trinity Thomas, Oregon State’s Jade Carey and Kentucky’s Raena Worley.
The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in the 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics.” The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2023 Honda Cup. The nominees were chosen by a group of experts representing the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA).
The junior is the seventh LSU gymnast to be named a finalist for the Honda Sports Award. Bryant joins Ashleigh Gnat (2016-17), Rheagan Courville (2012-13), Susan Jackson (2009-10), Ashleigh Clare-Kearney (2008-09), and Rachel Fruge’ (1989-90) as the previous finalists. Jackson, a three-time NCAA champion, is the only LSU gymnast to win the award.
Bryant, a native of Cornelius, North Carolina, is one of the top gymnasts in the country and has led the Tigers all season. Following the injury of teammate Kiya Johnson, the junior has stepped up for the team and was the only gymnast to compete in the all-around in every meet this year, competing in 64 routines for the Tigers.
She is the first LSU gymnast to record an average of 9.900 or higher across all four events in a season. Bryant finished the 2023 season with averages of 9.938 on vault, 9.920 on bars, 9.901 on beam and 9.923 on floor. Her 39.680 season average in the all-around is also the highest in program history.
In Saturday’s NCAA Championship Final, Bryant recorded a 39.725 all-around score for the best at a postseason competition in school history. Her scores of 9.9875 on vault and a 9.950 on bars tied the highest score for an LSU gymnast at an NCAA Championship.
In the semifinals, Bryant finished with a score of 39.6875, which marked the second highest at an NCAA Championship and the best in a semifinal in school history. Her performance was enough for third nationally and topped the first semifinal.
Her semifinal performance made her the second gymnast in LSU history (April Burkholder, 2005 and 2006) and only gymnast at this year’s NCAA Championships to earn All-America honors on all four events and in the all-around.
Bryant also accumulated four All-America honors on vault, bars, floor and the all-around during the regular season. She ended the season with nine honors, the most in a single season by an LSU gymnast. She now owns 17 honors, which ties her fifth in program history for most career All-America honors (2 BB, 3 UB, 3 FX, 4 AA, 5 VT).
The junior recorded five perfect scores on the year with three on vault, one on bars and one on floor. Three of those perfect scores came in the squad’s regular season finale against West Virginia, where she made history and became the only LSU gymnast to record three 10’s in a single meet and only the fifth gymnast in the NCAA to record such an accomplishment.
Also against West Virginia, she recorded a career high score of 39.875 to tie for the highest all-around score in LSU history. Bryant owns 10 career perfect scores to place her at the top for most 10’s in program history.
Bryant finished the regular season as the No. 4 gymnast in the nation with her NQS of 39.725 and placed amongst the top performers on vault, bars and floor. Her front handspring-front pike half is considered to be one of the best vaults in all NCAA gymnastics. She ended the regular season ranked as the top gymnast in the event with an NQS of 9.980.
At the 2023 NCAA Denver Regional, Bryant was named the all-around champion with a score of 39.700. Her second-round score tied for the third-highest at a regional in program history.
She won the all-around 11 times this season, the second most in a season in school history, and finished with 30 titles on the year (3 FX, 3 BB, 4 UB, 9 VT, 11 AA). After three seasons, she owns 60 combined titles, which sits at 10th in school history for a career.
The North Carolina native has been named to the All-SEC team all three years and earned SEC Gymnast of the Week five times in her career. In 2023, Bryant was chosen as the top gymnast in the league four times, including three consecutive weeks in March.
Already one of the most accomplished gymnasts in school history, Bryant will look to become only the second LSU gymnast to receive the award.