June 5, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama put an unprecedented six student-athletes on the 2014 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large team it was announced Thursday, including five who earned first-team honors, led by senior gymnast Kim Jacob who was named Academic All-America of the Year.
“We’re extremely pleased that Kim has continued our legacy of success when it comes to the Academic All-America of the Year program,” UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle said. “And to lead the nation with six student-athletes on this year’s Academic All-America At-Large teams is another point of tremendous pride. It’s another example of Crimson Tide success at the highest level.”
Jacob’s honor marks the sixth time that a Crimson Tide student-athlete has been named the Academic All-America of the Year and the fifth time in as many years. She is also the third gymnast to earn the prestigious honor, joining Stephanie Kite (2004) and Kayla Hoffman (2011).
“What an amazing honor for Kim,” UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. “She has shown extraordinary balance throughout her career and this award certainly recognizes all that she has achieved in the classroom and in the gym. She is truly the best of the best and I couldn’t be prouder of her and all she’s accomplished.”
Sophomore gymnast Lauren Beers also earned Academic All-American At-Large honors earning a place on the second team while Jacob was joined on the first team by golfer’s Stephanie Meadow, Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt and tennis player Mary Anne Daines.
It was Jacob’s second consecutive first-team honor. The Raleigh, N.C., native carries a 4.0 grade point average in exercise science, The 2014 NCAA All-Around Champion and Honda Award winner for gymnastics, Jacob earned four first-team All-America honors in 2014. She is the first student-athlete to earn SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year three times. She has also earned NCAA and SEC Postgraduate Scholarships and was the NCAA Elite 89 Award winner in 2013. She helped lead the Crimson Tide win NCAA titles in 2011 and 2012.
Beers, a three-time All-American in the gym and the 2014 winner of the NCAA Elite 89 Award, is one of just five sophomores to earn a place on the women’s Academic All-America At-Large team and one of just two to be named to the second team. The other three sophomores were all the third team.
“I’m so excited for Lauren,” Patterson said. “To earn Academic All-American honors as a sophomore is an amazing achievement and to earn All-American honors, the NCAA Elite 89 Award and to be named Academic All-American so early in her career just goes to show that at Alabama, you can truly have it all.”
Unlike the other Academic All-American teams which honor student-athletes from one sport, the at-large program spans several sports, making for a deeper and more challenging candidate pool. The at-large team considers student-athletes from the sports of men's and women's fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming and diving, tennis and water polo as well as men's volleyball and wrestling and women's bowling, field hockey and rowing. The program recognizes 45 men and 45 women All-Americans, with 15 each on the first, second and third teams.
Alabama was the only school to have two gymnasts earn Academic All-American honors and Jacob and Beers were the only Southeastern Conference gymnasts to earn the honors in 2014. Tide gymnasts have now earned 17 Academic All-American honors since 1986, including seven over the past seven years. This year marks the first time since 2003, when Kite and Kristin Sterner both earned first-team honors, that two Tide gymnasts have earned Academic All-America honors in the same year.
“These latest Academic All-America honors are a testament not only to the importance our athletes and coaches put on academic excellence, but the great work that Jon Dever and his staff at our Center for Academic Student Services do on a daily basis,” Battle said.
The Tide could add to this year’s total when the Track and Field/Cross Country list comes out in late June. Alabama has three student-athletes who earned All-District IV honors and are on this year’s national track and field ballot.
- In addition to being the only school with a combined six honorees between the men’s and women’s Capital One Academic All-America At-Large teams, Alabama is also the only school with more than two first-team honorees. The Tide totaled five first-team honorees – three women and two men.
- Alabama’s women made history as the first school to put four student-athletes on the Academic All-American At-Large team in a year. The Tide was also the only school to have three women earn first-team honors.
- On the men’s side, Alabama was one of four schools to have two honorees and one of two, with New Mexico being the other, to have two student-athletes earn a place on the first team.
- Kim Jacob, Stephanie Meadow, Cory Whitsett, Mary Anne Daines and Lauren Beers also earned the NCAA Elite 89 Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average at their respective NCAA Championships, during their careers.
- Kim Jacob, Stephanie Meadow, Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt were all part of national championship teams during their Alabama tenures. Jacob helped lead Alabama to back-to-back NCAA Gymnastics titles in 2011 and 2012. Meadow was part of the Tide’s first NCAA Women’s Golf Championship in 2012 and Whitsett and Wyatt finished off their careers as part of Alabama’s back-to-back NCAA Men’s Golf Championships in 2013 and 2014.