Jenna Karadbil, who competed for the Cats from 1992-1995 was the eighth Arizona Gymnast to be inducted in the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame
Nov. 11, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. - Former Arizona gymnast Jenna Karadbil was inducted into the Arizona Athletics 37th Sports Hall of Fame class this past Friday, November 9. The ceremony took place in McKale Memorial Center and featured seven individuals and two NCAA Championship teams.
"I never expected to receive something like this - there are so many amazing athletes that are in the Hall of Fame, so to me it's like a dream come true that I get to be a little part of such a high honor," Karadbil said.
That high of an honor, however, was well deserved for Karadbil, who competed from 1992-1995.
The 4'10" athlete began her career in an Arizona leotard with a bang by earning a spot as a first team All-American on beam her freshman season. That year Karadbil was also second team All-American on bars, first team All-Pac-10 on beam, and was also an Academic All-American.
"Jenna made a huge impact for our team right away. She's such a big personality in such a little body and she always had had the attitude to excel," head coach Bill Ryden said.
Karadbil did just that in her remaining years as well, becoming the Pac-10 beam champion in her sophomore season as well as being named to the first team All-Pac-10 All-Around and beam teams. She also secured a second team All-American title on beam, and two first team All-Pac-10 accolades for academics. Karadbil wrapped up her time as a GymCat with 11 top three finishes in all events in her senior season.
Her love for gymnastics did not stop with her eligibility - Karadbil went on to become a National level gymnastics judge, and has tried to come back at least once a season to judge the intrasquads for the current Arizona gymnasts.
"As a professional gymnastics judge I have to make sure I am fair and impartial. With that, I can't participate monetarily or join the alumni association for my alma mater, which is sad for me," Karadbil commented. "I really do like judging though, and it is a good way for me to keep involved with the sport and to be able to come back to Tucson."
Now Karadbil will be able to be a permanent part of her alma mater.
"It's so unbelievable that we have these amazing Olympians and professional athletes and I'm in the Hall of Fame with them. I'm coming from this little tiny gym in Vienna, Virginia - it's crazy to me that I'm going to be there with my picture and my name," Karadbil said.
With the 37th class, the Hall of Fame now bolsters only 315 individuals and 40 teams - which is less than 3% of total athletes to pass through the halls of the McKale Center.
"It's a very limited number of athletes that get inducted into the Hall of Fame each year, and based on the wide criteria and talent of the athletes at the U of A it is an immeasurable honor to even be considered," Ryden commented. "Jenna has been up for selection for a number of years, and I couldn't be happier that she got in this year."
Karadbil joins seven other Arizona gymnasts in the Hall of Fame including Kristi Gunning, Heidi Hornbeek, Stacy Fowlkes, Anna Basaldua, Diane Monty, Kelly Chaplin, and Mary Kay Brown.