Richelle Simpson holds a special place in
As the only Husker gymnast to ever earn first-team All-America honors on all five events in the same year, Simpson garnered five first-team awards at the 2003 NCAA Championships, leading the Huskers to a fourth-place national finish at the
Entering the week of the championships as the nation’s top-ranked all-arounder, she captured the NCAA all-around crown with a 39.675, edging out 2002 NCAA Champion Jamie Dantzscher of UCLA, who earned the top all-around performance in Session I of the NCAA Preliminaries with a 39.65.
At the NCAA Super Six Finals, Simpson went on to dominate the competition, producing the top individual performance of the night with scores of 9.925 or better on all four events for a total of 39.80. In the individual event finals, Simpson added an NCAA individual floor title (9.963) to her arsenal of accomplishments.
After being granted a medical hardship year in 2004 by the NCAA, Simpson returned with a vengeance in 2005, leading NU to a first-ever No. 1 national ranking after the Masters Classic. The
Simpson, the 2005 South Central Regional Co-Gymnast of the Year, holds records in four categories on
Simpson also became NU’s first AAI American Award winner in 2005, an honor annually given to the nation’s top gymnast on the basis of athleticism, academic excellence and civic responsibility.
She capped her career by earning the first NCAA Top Eight Award in the history of
Simpson was also the Big 12 Female Sportsperson of the Year,
Simpson is now based in
2005 – Senior Season
Although she was unable to compete in the 2005 NCAA Championships, Simpson turned in a stellar senior campaign for NU to cap a memorable Husker career. After being granted a medical hardship year in 2004 by the NCAA, Simpson led the Huskers to a first-even No. 1 national ranking after the Masters Classic. Simpson helped the Huskers achieve a season record of 21-14 and reclaim the Big 12 Conference championship. Simpson, the 2005 South Central Regional Co-Gymnast of the year, won five all-around titles in 2005, as well as six individual titles on vault, six on floor, five on beam and one on bars.
In defending her status as one of collegiate gymnastics’ best, Simpson’s finest performance of the year came at the Big 12 Championships, where she earned first-team all-conference honors on every event and claimed the Big 12 all-around title for the second time in her career, as well as the beam and floor titles for the third time.
Simpson continued to stockpile honors both in the gym and in the classroom in 2005, as she was selected as
Following her senior season, Simpson was awarded a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, as well as a Big 12 Prentice-Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship, and she was one of 10 finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year. A CoSIDA second-team academic All-American, Simpson was named the 2005 Big 12 Female Sportsperson of the Year and earned her third NACGC Scholastic All-America nod, as well as her eighth appointment to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. In December of 2005, Simpson was also honored as
2004 – Senior Season (Redshirt)
Simpson was sidelined in February of the 2004 season with a major knee injury, for which she was later given a medical hardship year.
2003 – Junior Season
Simpson was NU’s top all-arounder in 2003 and quickly earned a name for herself in NCAA women’s gymnastics. She was crowned the 2003 NCAA all-around champion, becoming the second Husker to win the national all-around title in the program’s history, following Heather Brink’s 2000 national championship.
Simpson added an NCAA floor title to her 2003 all-around title, receiving two perfect 10.0s, three 9.95s and one 9.90 from the six-judge panel to take the floor crown by 0.025 over Dantzscher.
Named the 2003 South Central Regional Gymnast of the Year, Simpson rewrote the record books in 2003 by capturing 10 all-around titles. The junior also took Big 12 Gymnast-of-the-Year honors, while winning Big 12 titles in the all-around, vault, beam and floor. Simpson took individual hardware in every meet by either winning an event title or by sweeping the all-around. She won 27 individual honors during the regular season, including 10 titles on vault, eight on beam, seven on floor and two on bars. Simpson produced six scores of 10.0 in 2003.
2002 – Sophomore Season
Simpson joined the Huskers as a transfer from
Simpson set two school records at the Masters Classic, helping the Huskers to their 10th title with a season-best 197.15. She became the first Husker to record a 9.975 on beam, helping NU to a school-record beam score of 49.675.
2001 – Freshman Season
In a dual with
Simpson scored a 9.90 or better on beam five times, including against Rhode Island, when she captured her third beam title of the season with a 9.975, helping PSU to a school record on beam (49.65). Simpson added a fourth beam title against
Competing for Leonid Grakovsky and Debbie Vidmar at the Winstonettes Gymnastics Association, Simpson placed fifth in the all-around at the 1999 Canadian National Championships, including a fourth-place finish on beam. At the 2000 Championships, Simpson finished sixth in the all-around and fourth on beam.
The daughter of Richard and Ruth Simpson, Richelle was born Nov. 16, 1982 in