Wednesday, April 14, 2021

BYU gymnast Shannon Evans nominated for AAI award

BYU gymnastics senior Shannon Evans has been nominated for the 2020 AAI award given out by The American Athletic Inc. The award is to recognize the most outstanding female collegiate gymnast in the nation. Evans is nominated alongside 32 other gymnasts.

The AAI will narrow the field down to six finalists, and the winner of the award will be announced at the conclusion of the 2020 season. The award has been given out for over 30 years and is considered to be the Heisman Trophy of women’s gymnastics.

“I was really shocked when I was nominated. It felt a little far out of my reach as the people getting nominated were really famous collegiate gymnasts,” Evans said. “When I found out I was nominated, I just thought of all the hurt and pain — those little things make it worth it.”

Hannah Miner
Shannon Evans prepares to mount the beam during BYU’s season opener on Jan. 11. (Hannah Miner)

Evans first learned of the award at a banquet for national qualifiers after her sophomore season. The banquet honors all of the AAI nominees and the winner is announced as well. She remembered seeing the nominated athletes and remembering that they are all incredible gymnasts.

Evans started her senior year differently than expected after coming off of an injury that happened in November 2019. She only recently started competing again this season.

“When I got back into competing it was like a breath of fresh air and I was doing normal gymnastics,” Evans said. “Gymnastics was making me happy.”

Shannon Evans celebrates her vault results with teammates on March 15. (Hannah Miner)

Since her return to competing, Evans has been awarded six MRGC weekly awards, two of which were Gymnast of the Week for her all-around performance. Evans has also been awarded co-vault specialist, co-bar specialist and floor specialist of the week.

“The little bit of success that I have been able to have my senior year wasn’t what I envisioned but since being back in the all-around and being able to do what I do, it’s built my confidence,” Evans said. “It has just reminded me that I’m still Shannon and I’m still good at gymnastics.”

After the conclusion of her senior season, Evans will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and wellness from BYU before moving on to UVU to study nursing.

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