April 11, 2002
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Carlla "Kit" Johnson (Richmond, Va.), a senior on the University of Maryland women's gymnastics team, has been selected as the female recipient of the tenth annual Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year award as announced in Black Issues in Higher Education today. Johnson was selected from hundreds of applicants to receive this prestigious award.
The award was established by the publication in 1992 to honor undergraduate students of color who embody the essence of tennis star Arthur Ashe Jr.
"This really means a lot," says Johnson. "The Arthur Ashe Tennis Center is a few miles from where I grew up. I know all about him."
Nominees had to have been a minority student athlete with a minimum 3.2 GPA and have demonstrated some form of service to the community. Johnson, however, exceeded these standards, maintaining a 3.9 GPA and being a member of the recruiting class that gymnastics head coach Bob Nelligan calls "the most important of my career."
Johnson, a government and politics major, has been named to the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) All-Academic team for four consecutive years and was selected as an Academic All-American in 1999. She has performed several community service activities with the gymnastics team and has also served as a Student Government Association representative. Recently, Johnson was selected for membership to Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society which honors superior scholarship, leadership and exemplary character.
Johnson's commitment to academic excellence has also helped to lead the women's gymnastics team to two consecutive President's Cup awards in 1999 and 2000. The President's Cup recognizes the male and female athletic teams with the highest combined GPA over the course of two semesters.
Athletically, Johnson holds the school balance beam record with a 9.95 and was an all-EAGL selection for vault twice and for the balance beam once. She competed in 41 of Maryland's 45 regular season meets over the past four years and in all post-season meets.
"We are so proud that Kit has been recognized to receive this award," said Nelligan. "She is one of the most hard-working student-athletes I have coached and her dedication and leadership will be missed when she graduates."