LSU’s Haleigh Bryant wins 2024 AAI Award – Gymnastics Equivalent of the Heisman Trophy

Haleigh Bryant of LSU won the 2024 AAI Award, which is like winning the Heisman Trophy in gymnastics

FORT WORTH, Texas – LSU Gymnastics senior Haleigh Bryant was named the 2024 AAI Award Winner, recognizing her as the top senior gymnast in the nation.

The AAI Award is given annually and is voted on by NCAA women’s gymnastics head coaches throughout the nation. The award, which is sponsored by the American Athletic Inc., is often likened to the Heisman Trophy for Women’s Gymnastics and has become a symbol of excellence in the sport, something that Bryant has been nothing short of during her career with the Tigers.

Bryant was voted this year’s winner over the remaining five finalists: Luisa Blanco (Alabama), Audrey Davis (Oklahoma), Maile O’Keefe (Utah), Gabby Wilson (Michigan) and Raena Worley (Kentucky).

The senior from Cornelius, North Carolina, is the fourth AAI Award winner in program history and joins an elite group of past honorees in Sarah Finnegan (2019), Ashleigh Gnat (2017) and Susan Jackson (2010). LSU has the most AAI winners since 2010 and the most in the Southeastern Conference.

LSU now shares the top spot for most AAI winners in school history with Michigan, UCLA and Utah. Minnesota, Alabama, Georgia and Oregon State all have three.

Bryant is a true example of what it means to be a competitor, teammate, and leader. She has already proven to be one of the best gymnasts in LSU and NCAA history as she continues to lead the Tigers in the postseason.

She enters the NCAA Championships with 31 titles on the year, having won nine on vault, seven on bars, two on beam, four on floor and nine in the all-around to move her career total to 91 (sixth most in LSU history). Her current 33 career vault titles is the second most in program history while her 28 in the all-around is the most by any LSU gymnast in their career.

Just this year, Bryant’s titles on vault, bars and the all-around place in the top-10 for most in a single season by an LSU gymnast. 

Bryant has already garnered multiple awards in 2024 as she adds AAI Award Winner to her resume. She was named the SEC Gymnast of the Year for the first time in her career last month, becoming only the sixth gymnast in LSU history to earn the award.

She was the first LSU gymnast to achieve both a gym slam (perfect 10 on every event) and season slam (a perfect 10 on every event in a single season) this year, as she owns eight perfect scores this season and 18 in her career, the most by any gymnast in LSU history and the 10th most in the NCAA.

Bryant was only the 14th gymnast in the NCAA to record a gym slam in their career and the 10th gymnast in NCAA history to achieve a season slam. 

She continues to prove why she is the top gymnast in the nation week after week. She placed at the top of the standings as the No. 1 all-arounder in the country for 10 out of 12 weeks during the regular season, finishing with an NQS of 39.810 and the highest all-around score in the nation and in school history (39.925). 

In the individual rankings, she owns an NQS of 9.900 or higher on every event and ranks first on vault, fourth on bars, eighth on beam and seventh on floor. She placed in the top-10 for four straight weeks and spent ten weeks in the top-25 on every event.

Her performance throughout the regular season earned her five first team All-America honors in 2024, moving her career total to 22 (14 regular season, eight NCAA), which is second only to Sarah Finnegan and Rheagan Courville in program history with 23.

Bryant owns 147 scores of 9.900 or better in her career. 73.50% of her scores are above 9.900 while 95.50% are above 9.8000. This year, she has recorded nine meets with scores of 9.9+ or higher on every event and only has two scores lower than a 9.850. She has achieved perfection eight times this season.

She made school history on March 8 as she posted a career high 39.925 in the all-around, which is the highest all-around score by any LSU gymnast, the second-best in SEC history and ties for the fourth best in the NCAA. 

In the conference, Bryant was recognized as the SEC Gymnast of the Week six times in 2024, the most by any gymnast this year. She now owns 11 SEC honors in her career and has remained the top performer in the conference through all 12 weeks of competition this year.

On top of her SEC Gymnast of the Year honors, Bryant claimed two individual titles for her performance at the 2024 SEC Championships on March 23 to mark her third straight year as an All-SEC member. She had the highest scores on vault and the all-around at the meet and is now a three-time individual SEC Champion. 

Bryant’s performance at SEC’s helped lead the team to victory as LSU finished on top of the meet to claim their first SEC Championship title since 2019 and the fifth in program history. 

The senior has helped lead her team to back-to-back nationals appearances as the Tigers continue their journey in the postseason at the NCAA Championships this week.

So far in this postseason, Bryant finished as the top all-arounder in the Fayetteville Regional Final with her score of 39.850. Her night was highlighted with two perfect 10’s on vault and bars, marking the first time in school history that a gymnast has earned two perfect scores in the same meet at regionals and the first LSU gymnast to record a perfect 10.000 on bars in the postseason. 

Outside of the gym, she is a two-time Scholastic All-American and three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member as she pursues her degree in sport administration with an anticipated graduation date of May 2024. 

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Tiger Rag News Services

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