WGYM: Taylor Spears Named AAI Award Finalist

Oklahoma gymnast Taylor Spears has been named one of six finalists for the prestigious AAI Award, recognizing the most outstanding senior female gymnast in the country. The award is voted on by NCAA women's gymnastics head coaches and sponsored by American Athletic, Inc.

Spears' contributions and leadership at OU will leave a legacy that will extend far beyond her four seasons as a Sooner. Since her arrival at Oklahoma, the Sooners have posted two top-three Super Six finishes in three NCAA Championship appearances. Spears has helped elevate the OU program to new heights and in the process has become a two-time NCAA All-American, three-time NACGC All-American, three-time Big 12 champion, five-time All-Big 12 selection and the 2013 Big 12 Gymnast of the Year.

A native of Plano, Texas, Spears owns 34 career event titles at Oklahoma (six in 2014) and is a 12-time Big 12 weekly award winner. She has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the most exquisite beam workers in the country and is currently ranked No. 6 nationally on the event. Spears is also No. 7 in the country on bars.

"Taylor is a soul searcher, always looking to improve upon herself, and is extremely receptive to feedback," head coach K.J. Kindler said. "On the competition floor she has provided positive leadership and we have watched her confidence grow each year. Her contributions go far beyond her scores and accolades."

Equally impressive, however, is Spears’ dedication to the community in and around Norman. She has made time to give back as much as possible, volunteering with local organizations such as the YMCA, the J.D. McCarty Center, the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Salvation Army Adopt an Angel program.

Spears is set to graduate in May 2014 with a bachelor's degree in communications. She hopes to pursue a career in fashion or athletic public relations upon graduation.

Spears' nomination marks the third consecutive year an OU gymnast has been named an AAI Award finalist. She joins Megan Ferguson (2012) and Brie Olson (2013) as Oklahoma finalists for the honor.

The six finalists will be recognized and the winner will be announced at a banquet during the NCAA Championships held April 18-20.

/// SoonerSports PR
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