Dowell, Nichols Named Honda Award Finalists
NORMAN – For the second time in three years, Oklahoma claimed two of the four nominees for the 2019 Honda Sport Award for Gymnastics. Senior Brenna Dowell and junior Maggie Nichols were named finalists for the honor, announced on Tuesday by the Collegiate Women Sports Award (CWSA).
Dowell and Nichols are joined by LSU’s Sarah Finnegan and UCLA’s Kyla Ross as nominees for the prestigious accolade.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 43 years to the top women athletes in 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 2019 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on Monday, June 24, 2019, in downtown Los, Angeles.
The nominees were chosen by a panel of coaches representing the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W). The Honda Sport Award winner for Gymnastics will be announced later this week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
Dowell and Nichols helped lead Oklahoma to its fourth overall NCAA Championship on April 20. In the Four on the Floor, the Sooners shined with the second-best NCAA Championship score of 198.3375, second only to the score set by OU in 2017, to secure their third title in the last four years.
Dowell, a senior from Odessa, Mo., has been one of the most decorated athletes to compete at Oklahoma. A part of two national title teams, Dowell was the 2019 Big 12 Gymnast of the Year, 2019 South Central Region Gymnast of the Year and an AAI Award Finalist. She was the 2019 NCAA Co-Floor Champion, her second individual championship after earning a share of the vault title in 2018.
After earning All-America status three times this season, she finished her career as a seven-time NCAA All-American. A nine-time All-Big 12 selection, Dowell has won four Big 12 team titles and three individual conference crowns.
Nichols, who was named a finalist for the third consecutive season, became just the sixth gymnast to repeat as the NCAA All-Around Champion. Along with her all-around crown, Nichols was also the 2019 NCAA co-champion on vault, bringing her career total to six individual titles.
The Little Canada, Minn., native was a first-team All-American on all four events and the all-around, bringing her career total to 13. She was a two-time NCAA regional champion (vault, bars) and a two-time Big 12 Champion (bars, beam) in 2019. Though limited to two events for most of the season, Nichols earned 27 event titles in 2019 to giver her an OU-record 117 in her career.
The CWSA, celebrating its 43rd year, has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for their superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs.
Dowell and Nichols will look to become the second Sooner to earn the Honda Award. Kelly Garrison received the honor in 1987 and 1988.