BATON ROUGE - LSU senior gymnast Susan Jackson was named the recipient of the prestigious Honda Sports Award for gymnastics as the nation's top collegiate female gymnast, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. announced Wednesday.
The honor was based on the results of national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 34th year.
This marks the first time an LSU gymnast has received the award, and it is also the second straight year that an LSU gymnast has been nominated for this award as Ashleigh Clare-Kearney was a finalist last year.
"I am extremely honored and humbled to win the Honda Sports Award," Jackson said. "To be recognized among such a talented group of gymnasts is very gratifying. The outstanding level of support from my teammates and coaches has been instrumental to my success both inside and outside of the gym."
The Honda Sports Award is given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports who then become automatically eligible to be a "Top Three" finalist for Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year.
Jackson was voted over three other senior nominees: Carly Janiga of Stanford, Brandi Personett of Penn State and Sarah Shire of Missouri.
A native of Spring, Texas, Jackson became the first gymnast in LSU history to win the NCAA All-Around national title, capping off her senior season with an individual national title on beam with a 9.9625, a second-place finish on the vault, and a fourth-place finish on the bars at the NCAA Championships in Gainesville in April.
Jackson also made LSU history by becoming the school's first recipient of the prestigious AAI Award, given annually to the nation's top senior gymnast as voted upon by collegiate coaches.
She was also named the 2010 Southeastern Conference and Central Region Gymnast of the Year.
She finished her career with three individual titles, a first for the LSU gymnastics program. Her four First Team All-America honors this year make a total of 12 for her career - second-most in school history.
In addition, Jackson is a two-time SEC vault champion and an SEC beam champion, and as one of the nation's top elite-level performers, she was a four-time member of the USA National Team during her club career.
Like many Honda Sports Award winners, Jackson is an academic standout in addition to her excellence in athletics. She is a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and currently carries a 3.5 GPA during her senior season with a major in sport administration, and she has stated that she would like to join Cirque du Soleil after graduation.
Because Jackson won the award, Honda will donate $5,000 to LSU's women athletic fund.
Previously announced Honda Sports Award recipients include Illinois' Angela Bizzarri for cross country, Katie O'Donnell from Maryland for field hockey, Whitney Engen from North Carolina for soccer, Megan Hodge from Penn State for volleyball, Julia Smit from Stanford for swimming & diving and Maya Moore from Connecticut for basketball.
Honda Award winners in golf, lacrosse, softball, tennis and track & field will be announced in the coming months.
The Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year will be determined by separate balloting involving all NCAA-member institutions, and the winner will receive the Honda-Broderick Cup at a ceremony in Los Angeles on June 21, 2010, at which all "Top Three" finalists will be scheduled to attend.