STANFORD, Calif. – Senior Austin Hack became the first two-time recipient of the Pac-12 Athlete of the Year honor on Thursday.
“It is a huge honor,” said Hack. “It came out of nowhere. Last year when I got it we had some big upsets and a strong season. I didn’t think it was possible a second time. It is an honor to be listed with so many great rowers who have accomplished so much at Stanford.”
Hack becomes the third Pac-12 Athlete of the Year in Stanford men’s rowing history, adding to his honor from last year and joining Alex Osborne in 2009. The award started in 2008. The Cardinal has the most selections with three since the inception of the award. Cal and Washington each have two to tie for second most.
Hack was selected as the top rower in the conference for the second straight year and was tabbed to the all-conference team for a school-record third time. Hack was a senior captain on a youthful squad that at many points in the season had four freshmen in the varsity eight. He stroked the varsity eight to wins at the Davis Invitational, Oregon State dual and Stanford Invitational this season.
“It has been a pleasure to row with Austin for three years,” said junior Kaess Smit. “I couldn’t ask for a better teammate or role model. It is great to have someone so talented and successful, yet down to earth and with a great attitude. He is everything you could ask for in a teammate.”
Hack is also the first men’s rower in Pac-12 history to be named both Athlete and Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He joins Chiney Ogwumike as the two Stanford athletes to accomplish that feat in 2013-14.
“The combination of academics and athletics is a strength of so many Stanford athletes,” said Hack. “I see so many athletes giving it their all in the gym and then going home and doing the same with their schoolwork. I am inspired by all of them.”
Smit joins Hack on the Pac-12 All-Conference team. It is the second straight year Smit has been chosen to the list.
“I am happy to hear it,” said Smit. “It wouldn’t be possible without great teammates to work together with and push me. I am thankful for my family, coaches and peers.”
Stanford has had two or more all-conference selections in nine of the past 10 seasons.
Hack and Smit will lead the Cardinal this weekend in the final regatta of the season as they compete in the varsity eight at the IRA National Championships in West Windsor, N.J. this Friday-Sunday.