Red Rocks earn academic honors

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

Even over a month after the conclusion of the 2009 gymnastics season, the awards have continued to roll in for the Red Rocks–but this time for their achievements in the classroom, not the gym.

Departed senior Kristina Baskett and junior Daria Bijak led a group of 10 Utah athletes who have received academic honors. Baskett and Bijak, both of whom were named All-Americans this past season, have been selected to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District at-large team, Baskett to the first team and Bijak to the second team.

Baskett, who had a 3.69 cumulative GPA in communication and was named to the second team last season, is now eligible for Academic All-American honors as a member of the first team. Bijak, a film studies major, finished her junior year with a 3.84 GPA.

Baskett and Bijak are both coming off a busy year. Baskett concluded her career as a Red Rock, capping off her career at Nationals with five All-American awards, making her career total 12. Baskett also won a silver medal in the all-around as well as three bronze medals on bars, beam and vault.

Bijak, on the other hand, had a career year in which she turned into a day-in and day-out all-around competitor for head coach Greg Marsden and was named to the All-American second team in the all-around and on the bars, bringing her career total to seven. This came after Bijak represented her home country of Germany in the 2008 Bejing Olympics.

Bijak will be back next season for her senior year, while Baskett is currently residing in San Diego and performing in a night show for Sea World.

Baskett and Bijak weren’t the only two Red Rocks to excel in the classroom. The team finished off the 2008-2009 academic year with a team GPA of 3.42. In all, five Red Rocks were named to the Dean’s List: Baskett and Bijak as well as Jamie Deetscreek, Jacquelyn Johnson, Gael Mackie and Stephanie McAllister.

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