YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – A trio of Cal student-athletes capped off a strong year in the classroom with placement on the prestigious Capital One Academic All-America® Division I Men’s and Women’s At-Large teams.
Senior golfer Brandon Hagy leads the way for the Golden Bears with first-team placement on the Men’s At-Large team, while senior gymnast Alicia Asturias picked up second-team Women’s At-Large honors and sophomore swimmer Rachael Acker was voted to the third team.
Cal’s three honors match the most for the athletic program in a single year, with three Bears selected to Academic All-America teams in 1985 and 2004 as well.
The trio was chosen from among the more than 100 student-athletes from around the country who qualified for Capital One All-District At-Large teams, as voted by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). In order to qualify for the ballot, each nominee must have been a starter or important reserve and have participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s contests while earning at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA.
This is Hagy’s second selection to the Men’s At-Large team after being voted to the third team in 2013. It is the first for both Asturias and Acker. Asturias joins Dr. Sigall (Kassutto) Bell (1988-92) as the only other Cal women’s gymnast to be named an Academic All-American. Next week, Bell will be enshrined in the Capital One Academic All-America® Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Orlando. The first Cal student-athlete to be named a Hall of Famer, she will be enshrined along with Derrick Brooks (Football/Florida State University), Tiki Barber (Football/Virginia), Dick Nunis (Football/USC) and Terry Carleton (Soccer/Bentley University) as part of the 2014 inductees.
The at-large team for the Capital One Academic All-America® program includes the sports of fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse rifle, skiing, swimming & diving, tennis, water polo for both men and women; bowling, rowing and field hockey for women; and volleyball and wrestling for men.
For more on each of Cal’s 2014 Academic All-America At-Large selections, see below:
Rachael Acker – Women’s Swimming & Diving
A sophomore from Palo Alto on the women’s swimming & diving team, Rachael Acker sports a 3.93 GPA as a French major. She aspires to attend medical school, works in a biology lab on campus and was named first-team Pac-12 All-Academic earlier this spring.
In the pool, Acker helped Cal to an NCAA title in the 800 free relay this past March. She also was a member of the third-place 400 free relay and placed 11th in the 200 free and 14th in the 100 free individually at the national championships. Acker was a key factor in Cal’s Pac-12 team title, as well, swimming legs on the victorious 400 and 800 free relays and reaching the finals in both the 100 and 200 free. As a freshman in 2013, Acker captured the Pac-12 crown in the 200 free.
She is the first women’s swimmer named an Academic All-American since Elli Overton in 2000.
Alicia Asturias – Women’s Gymnastics
Alicia Asturias, a psychology major with a 3.83 GPA, finished her gymnastics career as one of the most decorated Golden Bears in program history. Along with her Tom Hansen Medal, this year she added second team NCAA All-American, Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women’s gymnastics and NACGC West Region Gymnast of the Year distinctions. Her growing list of honors also includes multiple All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Academic awards.
The Granite Bay, Calif., product led the Bears to their second consecutive NCAA Regional bid and was one of two Cal gymnasts to earn a place at the NCAA Championships. It was the first time a Cal gymnast competed at the championship event since 2003. Asturias claimed 12 event titles and turned in 27 top-three finishes while setting new career highs on every event.
Asturias plans to attend medical school to pursue pediatric orthopedics or psychological research.
Brandon Hagy – Men’s Golf
Brandon Hagy was a business major with a 3.72 cumulative GPA who completed the work for his bachelor’s degree in December of 2013 and graduated from Cal’s prestigious Haas School of Business in May of 2014.
The honor is the latest on a long list of awards in 2013-14 for the team’s tri-captain Hagy, a Division I PING first-team All-American who also previously captured the Byron Nelson Award, Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for men’s golf, Tom Hansen Pac-12 Conference Medal, co-team MVP honors, Cal’s Ben Furth Award and a Golden Bear Achievement Award. He was also a national semifinalist for The Ben Hogan Award, Cal’s nominee for the NCAA’s Elite 89 award, first-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Academic selections, chosen to represent Team USA in the 2014 Palmer Cup and the Pac-12’s Player of the Month for September of 2013. Hagy, who finished the season ranked sixth nationally, was an individual medalist three times in 2013-14 and finished in the top 10 in 10 of 14 events.
Hagy becomes the first Cal men’s golfer to receive to receive a first