Raena Worley Named 2023 Honda Sports Award Finalist
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Raena Worley has been named a finalist for the 2023 Honda Sports Award, the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA) announced.
The Honda Sports Award is an annual honor, awarded to the best collegiate female athlete in each of the 12 NCAA-sponsored female sports. There are four nominees for each, and the 12 winners of the award are automatically in the running for the Honda-Broderick Cup to be named Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. Three other athletes are honored as the Division II Athlete of the Year, Division III Athlete of the Year, and Inspiration Award winner.
Worley is among Florida’s Trinity Thomas, Oregon State’s Jade Carey and LSU’s Haleigh Bryant as one of four finalists in contention for the prestigious award.
The Christiansburg, Va. native is an eight-time All-American earning five total honors this season. She was also named a finalist for this year’s AAI Award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy of collegiate gymnastics. Worley received two All-America nods in the regular season and three at this year’s Championships. The senior was recognized as a WCGA Regular Season All-American earning first team honors on floor and a second team nod for all-around. She later received first team honors for all-around and second team recognition on bars and floor at the 2023 NCAA National Championships.
Worley placed fourth overall in Session II of the Championship semifinal meet with a combined tally of 39.5875. Her best event of the night was the floor exercise where she led the Wildcats with a 9.9375. The impressive floor rotation for Worley earned her second team honors on the apparatus and an eighth-place Session II overall finish. Her second-best event of the night was the second rotation, the uneven bars, which earned a 9.9250 from the judges. The three National Championship All-America nods were the gymnast’s first of her career.
This season alone, Worley has scored a 9.900 or higher in every meet on the floor exercise. Her highest mark in 2023 on the event was a 9.975 which she earned at Illinois tying her career best. She has tallied the near-perfect mark four times in her career placing first individually on the apparatus 17 times. Seven of those top finishes have been accomplished this season. On the uneven bars, she has earned a season-best 9.925 scoring a 9.900 or higher eight times. She has recorded eight career individual wins on the event.
The all-arounder has also been a standout on vault and the balance beam this season and throughout her career. She recorded a 9.900 or higher four times on vault this season with a season-high and career-best tying 9.950. She scored the top mark at Missouri, later repeating the score at Florida. She has tallied 10 individual victories on the event in her career, as well as nine on the balance beam. On beam this season, the senior scored a career-best 9.975 at Illinois to add to eight 9.900 or higher routines this season.
Throughout her collegiate gymnastics career, the senior has recorded 20 all-around wins with seven individual victories this season. Her career-high all-around tally was earned at Illinois where Worley recorded a combined 39.775.
Worley is the first Wildcat gymnast to be named as a finalist for the award since all-time great Jenny Hansen won the award three consecutive times between 1993-1995.
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