Dec. 19, 2003
Utah gymnast Theresa Kulikowski has been named a recipient of the NCAA Today's Top VIII Award. She and the other seven 2003 recipients will be recognized for their academic and athletic achievements at the 39th NCAA Honors Dinner, January 11, 2004 at the NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tenn.
She becomes just the second Utah athlete ever to win the coveted NCAA honor, which has been awarded since 1973, initially as the Today's Top V award. The other Ute recipient was gymnast Missy Marlowe in 1993.
One of the most decorated gymnasts in NCAA history, Kulikowski won three NCAA championships and earned two NCAA runner-up finishes in her career, which also included 14 All-America citations. After the best freshman performance ever at the 1999 NCAA Championships (where she won the all-around and balance beam titles), Kulikowski was voted one of Utah's top 25 female athletes of all-time. She was named the 2003 AAI Senior Gymnast of the Year by the nation's collegiate gymnastics coaches and was also named the Mountain West Conference Female Athlete of the Year.
A triple major in psychology, exercise and sport science and pre-physical therapy, Kulikowski was a 2003 NCAA postgraduate scholarship winner and a Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship nominee. A 4.0 student who graduated Summa Cum Laude, she was chosen from over 360,000 NCAA student-athletes as the 2003 Division I Academic All-American of the Year. She was also a first-team CoSIDA All-American and the 2002 at-large Academic All-American in 2002.
In the community, Kulikowski implemented a physical activity program for three months at a low-income elementary school. She also was a guest speaker at the "Five a Day" nutrition promotional program at the Utah Capitol Building. Kulikowski was a volunteer for the Children's Center in Salt Lake City, where she worked with emotionally disturbed children.
The 2003 NCAA Today's Top VIII recipients are: Kulikowski, Craig Krenzel (Ohio State football), Kara Lawson (Tennessee basketball), Eli Manning (Mississippi football), Kristin Sterner (Alabama gymnastics), Onnie Willis (UCLA gymnastics) and Alice Nightingale (Lake Superior State basketball).