INDIANAPOLIS - Three Southeastern Conference student-athletes are among only 10 former student-athletes from across the country who will be honored as the NCAA's 2018 Today's Top 10 Award winners at the NCAA Convention in January.
Auburn softball player Kasey Cooper, Kentucky swimmer Danielle Galyer and Texas A&M swimmer Sarah Gibson will receive the prestigious award that recognizes exceptional former student-athletes for their successes on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients completed their athletics eligibility during the 2016-17 academic year and will be recognized at the Honors Celebration on Jan. 17 during the Convention in Indianapolis.
The NCAA Honors Committee, which selects the honorees, is composed of representatives from member schools and conferences, as well as nationally distinguished former college athletes.
Before 2013, the award recognized eight student-athletes and was known as Today's Top VIII. The NCAA Honors Committee expanded the award to include 10 honorees to recognize the growing number of college athletes, sports and championship opportunities.
Complete list of Top-10 recipients:
- Kasey Cooper, Auburn University, Softball
- Marie Coors, Saint Leo University, Golf
- Lizzy Crist, Washington University in St. Louis, Soccer
- Danielle Galyer, University of Kentucky, Swimming
- Sarah Gibson, Texas A&M University, Swimming
- Riley Hanson, Concordia University-St. Paul, Volleyball
- Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, University of Virginia, Tennis
- Amy Regan, Stevens Institute of Technology, Track and Field
- Deko Ricketts, Washington University in St. Louis, Track and Field
- Maggie Steffens, Stanford University, Water polo
The following former SEC student-athletes are 2018 Today's Top 10 awardees:
Major: Mechanical engineering
Former Auburn softball standout Kasey Cooper holds the Southeastern Conference record for career runs batted in (270) and 12 school records, including career RBIs, home runs, slugging percentage and games played and started. In 2016, the same year that she made the U.S. Women's National Team, Cooper was named the espnW Player of the Year and a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American. Cooper was the Division I softball NCAA Elite 90 Award winner, presented to the student-athlete competing at a championship final site with the highest grade-point average. Cooper, a two-time College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American, also was a two-time SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and published two medical research papers. In 2017, Cooper received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Cooper also regularly volunteered with the Alabama Power Service Organization and served as a group leader for the Auburn Leadership Institute/CONNECT.
Majors: Psychology, political science
Sport: Women's swimming and diving
Danielle Galyer competed for Kentucky at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships all four years of college and won an individual title in the 200-yard backstroke in 2016, making her the first swimming national champion in school history. Galyer is a four-time College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America All-American. The former team captain currently holds two school records (800 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay) and helped lead Kentucky to its highest team finish in a decade (14th) at the 2017 NCAA championships. She was a two-time recipient of the NCAA Elite 90 Award, presented to the student-athlete competing at a championship final site with the highest grade-point average. She earned four CSCAA All-Academic honors, two College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America honors, and two Southeastern Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year honors. In 2017, she was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Galyer served three years on the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, including as president her senior year. She also volunteered at local elementary schools and helped with fundraising for Louisiana flood victims. In 2016, Galyer was inducted into the University of Kentucky Frank G. Ham Society of Character, an honor recognizing commitment to athletics, academics, community service, career development and personal development. She now is working toward earning her law degree at Florida.
School: Texas A&M
Major: Biomedical engineering
Sport: Women's swimming and diving
Sarah Gibson, a former swimmer at Texas A&M, holds six school records - the 200-yard freestyle, 100 fly, 400 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay. She is an 11-time College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America All-American and a seven-time Southeastern Conference individual or relay champion. In 2016-17, Gibson represented the United States in international competition, including placing first at the FINA World Championships in the 4x100 medley relay. She excelled academically, as well, and earned the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America of the Year honor in 2016-17. Gibson was awarded the SEC's H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar Athlete of the Year Award and postgraduate scholarship in 2017, in addition to three CSCAA Scholar All-American honors during her career. She also is a recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Gibson dedicated time to serving her community, volunteering for four years with the Special Olympics and for two years at Sports Fest, where she served as an instructor for 125 children during a sports camp.