Kelci Bryant topped off a fantastic year with the Golden Gophers when she was named the team’s most valuable and diver of the year, Saturday, at the team’s annual brunch.
Bryant, a native of Chatham, Ill., had a stellar year for the Golden Gophers. As a sophomore and at her first collegiate championship, Bryant won the 3-meter diving when she posted 415.50 points, a school record. She also competed in the 1-meter in which she finished second overall. Making her name known on the national scene, Bryant was named the Big Ten Diver of the Year and Diver of the Championships, when she won the 1-meter and 3-meter events at the Big Ten Championships in February. She dominated the championship season, winning event diving event she competed in until the NCAA Diving Zones heading into the national championships. Bryant also won two titles at the 2010 USA Diving Winter National Championships and World Cup Trials, held in Columbus, Ohio, February 4-8. Bryant walked away with two national titles out of three events. Her first title came in the 3-meter synchronized event when she paired with Olympian Christina Loukas. Her second came on an individual effort on the 1-meter. With the two wins, Bryant has now won seven national titles.
Along with Bryant’s awards, the hardest worker went to Kristen Steenvoorden and Kaylee Jamison, while the most improved went to Melissa Nelson and Haley Spencer. Steenvoorden made her second-straight trek to the NCAA Championships, while Jamison earned All-America honors with the 400 medley relay. Spencer won the 200 breaststroke event at the Big Ten Championships and finished fifth individually at NCAAs. Nelson added her first letter of her Gopher career as she competed at the 2010 Big Ten Championships.
Jillian Tyler was honored with the Dorothy L. Sheppard Award. The award is given to the swimmer who best demonstrates her qualities of being a life-long learner: learning things because they just want to know, values travel and getting to know those who live were you travel and simply enjoys the journey of life. The award was given to Tyler by the swimming and diving coaching staff.
Along with athletic accomplishments, the Gophers celebrated all of the student athletes that were named Outstanding student-athletes. Student athletes with a 3.5 grade point average or higher made this list, which includes: Paige Bradley, Loren Brandon, Megan Braun, Marissa Davies, Alison Eggers, Taylor Enerson, Amy Funk, Andrea Hanson, Corinna Hopkins-Vacca, Jamison, Avery Michienzi, Cory Miller, Eleanor Prewitt-Thomas, Kelsey Ridder, Stephanie Solfelt, Spencer, Ashley Steenvoorden, Lissa Tommerdahl and Jillian Tyler.