NEW ORLEANS, La. - The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 21 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts. The 2019 SEC Gymnastics Community Service Team is as follows:
Shea Mahoney, Junior, All-Around, Alabama
Mahoney has made it her mission to bring her joy to others, which has led her to be extremely active in the community. For the past year, she has volunteered on a weekly basis at the Manderson Cancer Center in Tuscaloosa, helping support the men and women who utilize the facility during their fight against cancer. She is also active in the Crimson Tide's Power of Pink initiative, helping raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer. She has also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, ReadBAMARead, Smile-A-Mile as well as Alabama Athletics' Halloween Extravaganza and Thank-A-Thon. A two-year Scholastic All-American and member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, Mahoney has been a standout for the Crimson Tide, especially on the uneven bars where she has posted a career-best 9.975. The junior helped lead Alabama to the 2018 NCAA Regional Championship as well as the back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances and the NCAA Super Six Team Final in 2017. Through nine meets this season, Mahoney has already posted a career-best 9.95 on the floor exercise, a 9.875 on the vault and a season-best 9.950 on the uneven bars.
Michaela Burton, Junior, All-Around, Arkansas
SBurton has been one of Arkansas' more active gymnasts in the community. Burton has volunteered numerous times for Sweat Hogs and Book Hogs at local elementary schools as well as volunteering with local students during 2019 MLK Day to share the importance of getting an education.
Taylor Krippner, Senior, Auburn
Krippner has been very active in the Auburn community over her four years on the Plains, especially her senior season with the team as she has used her major to educate the community. This past summer, she spent a month working with the Our House Nutrition Camp in Auburn. At the camp, Krippner educated children through cooking, nutrition games, lessons and physical activity. She also created physical activity nutrition games, planning all activities for the kids. Also this year, Krippner took part in interprofessional education clinics, consulting with patients and collaborating with a team of nursing, pharmacy and social work students to help improve health outcomes of older adults in the community. She spent all of the fall semester at the Diabetes and Nutrition Center of East Alabama Medical Center, spending time with patients, while also assisting members of the staff. Krippner also helped mentor and educate members of the Boys and Girls Club about the importance of good nutrition through games. She and her teammates have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Birmingham almost every summer. Krippner and the Tigers have also assisted the Jason Dufner Foundation, filling backpacks with meals for needy kids in Lee County. She and the team have put on gymnastics clinics for area elementary schools, speaking about the importance of school and physical activity. Krippner is a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll as well as a member of the 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team and First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Amanda Cheney, Senior, Florida
Since fall 2018 classes began, Cheney leads the Gator gymnasts with 40 community service hours. She has made five visits to local schools to lead elementary students in active study breaks dubbed 'Brain Breaks' by the participants. Cheney visited two local elementary schools in the fall as part of the 5th Graders Got Game initiative. During the visits, the Gator student-athletes emphasized the importance of working hard in school. Cheney also participated in "Climb for Cancer" - a fall Saturday morning where student-athletes participate in different sports with children who have cancer. In the fall of 2018, she joined her teammates for the annual Harvest Food Drive, an event where aspiring gymnasts can join the Gators for an afternoon gymnastics clinic. Admission is six non-perishable food items and the team contributed more than 1,000 pounds of food items to a local food after the 2018 event. Cheney helped gift-wrap shoes to distribute at local elementary schools as part of the annual Florida student-athlete led Gator Tracks. Gator student-athletes purchased and distributed more than 400 pairs of shoes to local children in need of a new pair of shoes in December of 2018. This spring, the Gator gymnastics team served a meal to the residents of Gainesville's Hope Lodge. Cheney has been a part of the SEC Academic Honor Roll the last three years and has twice earned National Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches Association Academic All-America honors. As a sophomore, she shared the team's most improved award with her fellow senior Alicia Boren. An active member of Florida's SAAC, Cheney represented Florida at 2017 SEC Career Tour in Atlanta.
Rachael Lukacs, Freshman, Georgia
Since arriving on campus, Lukacs has dove head first into emerging herself in the community of Athens. With her bubbly personality and genuine heart for others, she is always the first to volunteer when an opportunity arises. Lukacs is involved with "Reading Across America," where she goes to local preschools and elementary schools to read to the children. She volunteers with the Special Olympics who come to the Georgia facility each week, and has volunteered at the Athens Half Marathon and Triathlon events. Lukacs has also been involved with raising money for the Cancer Society and local food drives, bringing toiletries and other needed goods to homeless shelters. She is a devoted member of the Georgia and Athens community.
Sidney Dukes, Senior, Kentucky
Over the past four years, Dukes has volunteered 110 and a half hours to community service. She began her service in the fall of her freshman year by packing food for a backpack program. As a sophomore, her efforts picked up significantly by passing out t-shirts at a back-to-school clinic, providing relief for flooding in Louisiana with a food drive, and spending time with kindergarteners 30 minutes outside of Lexington. Dukes has continued that work into her senior year, where she has taken time out of the season to help kids develop literacy skills in a program called R.E.A.L. READ and spent multiple hours at a gymnastics Special Olympics meet. Her most dedicated work came in the summer of 2017. Along with a select group of fellow University of Kentucky athletes, she left the United States to spend a week in Panama City, Panama. Dukes and her group visited schools and helped build a brand-new community center, spending time with local children and teaching them activities like soccer and volleyball. In total, Dukes spend 100 hours outside the country dedicating her time to underprivileged youth. In gymnastics, Dukes has received numerous accolades with more surely to come after the conclusion of a prolific senior season. Over her first three years, Dukes has been named 2017 All-SEC, 2016 NACGC first-team All-America, a 2016 NCAA Championship qualifier, 2016 All-SEC, 2016 SEC All-Freshman, SEC Freshman of the Week, and 2016 Female Rookie of the Year at the athletic department's annual all-sports banquet.
Lexie Priessman, Senior, LSU
Priessman is an active member of the Baton Rouge community with more than 60 hours of service in 2019. Over the year, she has worked with children at Gardere Elementary and Colerain Elementary. Priessman leads the squad's community service efforts at the McMain's bike event, Halloween Boozar, Thanksgiving with the Tigers and Blue Ribbon Soiree.
Britney Ward, Senior, Missouri
Ward is a tireless figure in the Columbia community and beyond. She completed a field placement focused on disease prevention and disability to help improve the health of local communities in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of a summer study abroad program in the summer of 2017. While with the program, Ward also helped renovate a literacy center classroom and paint a school. In the summer of 2018, she traveled to Hue, Vietnam, as part a University of Missouri's Global Service program. In Vietnam, Ward helped worked with the Friends of Hue Foundation in developing an English curriculum for the foundation's children's shelter. Additionally, Ward spent extensive hours volunteering with Crossing Kids at The Crossing Church, and spent time at The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, Ronald McDonald House, Mizzou Moves, and at the Malted Mile.