2023 AAI Award nominees announced

By Patricia Duffy | February 20, 2023
AAI Award logo

American Athletic, Inc. (AAI) announced the 2023 AAI Award nominees on Monday.

Thirty-eight female athletes are nominated for this year’s award, which is presented to the most outstanding collegiate senior female gymnast in the country.

The AAI Award is widely considered the Heisman Trophy of Women’s gymnastics. AAI has been awarding this honor for over 30 years.

NCAA head coaches are asked to submit a nomination for the candidate or candidates of their choice. After the initial nominations, the field is narrowed to the top 6 athletes.

Last year’s finalists included Kyla Bryant (Stanford), Lexi Graber (Alabama), Derrian Gobourne (Auburn), Ona Loper (Minnesota), Trinity Thomas (Florida), and Natalie Wojcik (Michigan).

Wojcik ultimately took home the title of the 2022 AAI Award Winner.

This year, Alabama, Utah, and Florida lead the nominations with two apiece.

The list of nominees was not released without controversy though, as Adeline Kenlin (Iowa) is a junior and, therefore, not technically eligible for the award.

Gymnastics Now reached out to AAI for comment on the situation, with the company replying, “The nomination request is sent out to the coaches for them to submit who they feel is the most outstanding senior female gymnast. With almost 40 athletes information coming in, coordinating all of the details of their information, headshots, updates, etc. and making sure all of the coaches have responded, we did not check each schools roster to see that a junior was submitted. Sorry.”

Shortly thereafter, the University of Iowa reached out and acknowledged their mistake in nominating Kenlin, AAI told GymNow.

“She is an academic senior and graduating in May, but is a competition junior planning on returning next year. Adeline has been removed from the ballot and will not be in consideration for the award this year.”

There will be no replacement for Kenlin on the list of nominees.

NCAA head coaches are asked to submit a nomination for the candidate or candidates of their choice. After the initial nominations, the field is narrowed to the top 6 athletes.

See below for this year’s list of nominees in alphabetical order and the full announcement video.

2023 AAI Award Nominees

  • Luisa Blanco – University of Alabama
  • Sierra Brooks – University of Michigan
  • Lynnzee Brown – University of Denver
  • Deja Chambliss – George Washington University
  • Clara Colombo – University of Nebraska
  • Elizabeth Culton – University of North Carolina
  • Madi Dagen – Oregon State University
  • Haley de Jong – University of Georgia
  • Hannah DeMers – Central Michigan University
  • Nevaeh DeSouza – University of California-Berkeley
  • Makarri Doggette – University of Alabama
  • Elexis Edwards – Ohio State University
  • Norah Flatley – University of Arkansas
  • Margzetta Frazier – UCLA
  • Derrian Gobourne – Auburn University
  • Gayla Griswold – Lindenwood University
  • Natalie Hamp – Northern Illinois University
  • Malia Hargrove – University of Arizona
  • Kiya Johnson – Louisiana State University
  • Hannah Joyner – Rutgers University
  • Adeline Kenlin – University of Iowa
  • Jada Mazury – San Jose State University
  • Maile O’Keefe – University of Utah
  • Alix Pierce – Texas Woman’s University
  • Halle Remlinger – University of Minnesota
  • Payton Richards – University of Florida
  • Julianna Roland – Temple University
  • Elease Rollins – Brigham Young University
  • Jaedyn Rucker – University of Utah
  • Cassidy Rushlow – Penn State University
  • Hannah Scharf – Arizona State University
  • Sienna Schreiber – University of Missouri
  • Emily Shepard – NC State Gymnastics
  • Ragan Smith – University of Oklahoma
  • Sofi Sullivan – Utah State University
  • Mia Takekawa – University of Illinois
  • Trinity Thomas – University of Florida
  • Chloe Widner – Stanford University
  • Raena Worley – University of Kentucky