May 21, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Five Stanford athletes were honored as All-Academic All-District at-large selections by ESPN The Magazine, including two for the first team.
The at-large category is for athletes whose sports do not have national All-Academic teams. Instead, they are grouped together on 11-person teams that accompany a variety of sports.
Here are Stanford's selections for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honors:
Elaine Breeden, swimming, Jr., Lexington, Ky., 3.65 (classics)
Carly Janiga, gymnastics, Jr., Paradise Valley, Ariz., 3.78 (psychology)
Julia Smit, swimming, Jr., Mt. Sinai, N.Y., 3.34 (anthropology)
Breeden and Dunford are now eligible for Academic All-America consideration.
The following are thumbnail sketches of each Stanford honoree:
Elaine Breeden, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the 400-meter medley relay, swept the butterfly events at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships, then won the 200 fly and earned six All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. The American, U.S. Open and NCAA record holder in the 200 fly, Breeden is an 18-time All-American, two-time NCAA champion, five-time Pac-10 titlist, and first-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection. This marks her second appearance on an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District at-large team, as she earned second-team honors in 2008.
Jason Dunford is a three-time Pacific-10 Conference All-Academic selection and was this year's conference Student-Athlete of the Year for swimming. Dunford is a 19-time All-American, earning five such honors at the 2009 NCAA Championships, in the 50-yard freestyle, 100 butterfly and three relays. He briefly set an Olympic record in the 100-meter fly in a preliminary round in Beijing only for Michael Phelps to eclipse it shortly after. The Kenyan was fifth in the final.
Carly Janiga is a six-time All-American in gymnastics and recently placed second on the uneven bars at the NCAA Championships, Stanford's best national individual finish since 2001. Janiga captured three individual titles at the Pac-10 Championships, including all-around champion. She followed with another all-around title, at the NCAA South Central Regional. Janiga is a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection and earned the team Academic Award in addition to its Most Valuable Player honor.
Kawika Shoji is a first-team All-America setter who led the Stanford men's volleyball team to a 21-11 season, its best since 1997. In two year, Stanford has improved by 18 victories, largely because of Shoji. He had 1,394 assists to set a school single-season record for the rally-scoring era (since 2001), and led the Cardinal to a .305 hitting percentage, one of the best in the country.
Julia Smit captured silver and bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 400- and 800-meter relays, respectively, and followed by establishing American, U.S. Open and NCAA records in the 200-yard IM (1:52.79) and 400-yard IM (4:00.56) to win NCAA titles in both events. Smit joined Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders as the only two females ever to sweep the IM events at the Pac-10 Championships and NCAA Championships in the same season, while she earned seven All-America honors. Last November, Smit established American short-course meters records for both the 200 and 400 IM, while her effort in the 400 set a since-broken world record.