|ESPN Academic All-District|
MOSCOW, Idaho - Two University of Idaho women's soccer players were honored with ESPN Academic All-District awards for Distrcit 8 on Tuesday.
Sophomores Chelsea Small and Lauren Layton are the second and third Academic All-District honorees in school history, and join Britta Rustad, who was selected to the first-team twice, in 2006 and 2007. Small is a first-team honoree, while Layton was voted to the second team.
"It's hard, sometimes, to remember that it's 'student-athlete' and that 'student' comes first," Head coach Pete Showler said. "We as coaches want the girls to perform to their highest ability both on and off the field, and this just highlights how much work they put in, and it's a great credit to them."
Small, a forward from Solana Beach, Calif. (Torrey Pines HS), broke Idaho's school records for goals (13), points (30) and shots (120) this season, and also tied the Western Athletic Conference record for conference-season shots (58), and she did so while maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average in Secondary Education.
The 2009 WAC Freshman of the Year and first-team all-WAC honoree will now move on to the national ballot for consideration to the ESPN Academic All-America team. Idaho has never had an Academic All-American in women's soccer.
Layton, a defender from Spokane, Wash. (Mead HS), leads Idaho and is tied for fourth in the WAC with seven assists this season, and she also helped the Vandal defense limit opponents to just 20 goals this year, which is the lowest regular-season total in school history. Layton is a Biology major who holds a 3.85 GPA.
"The stats and the GPAs stand for themselves," Showler said. "Both of them come from hard work, commitment to excelling in what they do and in being the best they can be, and when you can do it on and off the field, it shows a lot of character."
To be considered for ESPN Academic All-District mention, an athlete must maintain at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA, hold sophomore standing both academically and athletically, and must participate in at least 50 percent of his or her team's contests during the season.
The award is given by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The nation is split into eight groups, with the first-team honorees from each district moving on to the Academic All-America ballot. District 8 includes schools from the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawai'i, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, as well as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Yukon. Sports information directors in each region vote on the teams.
Both players were also WAC All-Academic honorees last season as freshmen. Small and Layton lead Idaho into its first WAC Tournament this weekend, where the Vandals will face Fresno State in the quarterfinal round on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. (PST).