Barboza named as a semifinalist for AAU Sullivan Award

Stanford announces the signing of 23 track and field athletes

Stanford senior Cynthia Barboza, a three-time AVCA All-American and USA Volleyball veteran, was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Sullivan Award.

The AAU James E. Sullivan Award is based on the qualities of leadership, character and sportsmanship. The award goes far beyond athletic accomplishment and honors those who have leadership skills and strong character evident in their lifestyle as a whole.

It is not restricted to college athletes. Olympians, trend setters and possibly a future San Francisco Giants baseball player are among the semifinalists: Amanda Blumenherst (golf), Dara Torres (swimming), Jonathan Horton (gymnastics), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), Erin Popovich (Paralympic swimming), Tyler Hansbrough (basketball), Sam Bradford (football), Nastia Liuken (gymnastics), Gerald 'Buster' Posey (baseball), The Lopez Family (Taekwondo) and the U.S. Men's 4x100 Relay Team (swimming).

"I'm extremely honored to even be on the same list as some of the other semifinalists for the award," Barboza said. "It's a very humbling experience to see my name next to such phenomenal athletes that I look up to."

Barboza would be the first volleyball player, male or female, to win the prestigious award. Janet Evans, who started her college career at Stanford, and gold medalist John Naber, who starred at Woodside High, are among the past winners.

The Sullivan Award Reception and Presentation will take place April 15 at The New York Athletic Club in New York City.

Barboza finished her career at Stanford in December as one of the best players to wear a Cardinal jersey. She led the squad to three consecutive Pac-10 titles and three straight appearances in the NCAA title match, earning AVCA First-Team All-America honors three times.

She finished her career ranked ninth on the program charts in career kills (1,639), sixth in digs (1,241) and ninth in service aces (115). In the classroom, Barboza was a two-time ESPN/Cosida Academic All-American and the 2008 Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Barboza started training with the U.S. Women's National Team in 2003 and has two Pan American Games bronze medals to her credit. She was the youngest member of the 2003 Pan American Games team that competed in the Dominican Republic, and then was a starter for the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Barboza was the only high school player invited to train for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team. She went on to win the 2004 Gatorade National High School Volleyball Player for the second consecutive season while at Long Beach Wilson High School.

In 2008, she trained with the team again leading up to the Olympics and was named an alternate for the Games for the second time. Barboza and Stanford teammate Foluke Akinradewo were the only two college players named to the 19-player Olympic preliminary roster last summer.

Track and field

A pair of twins from San Juan Capistrano, a distance runner from Belmont, and a pole vaulter/javelin thrower/decathlete from New York are a few of the 23 athletes who signed letters of intent for Stanford it was announced Wednesday.

Tyler Valdes ranks among the top 10 returning milers in the nation and California's top returning miler after running 4:11.58 in the 1600 meters in his junior season. He was the individual champion at the 2008 CIF State Cross-Country championships.

Ryan Valdes, his twin brother, finished 14th at the state finals in cross country, helping his team win a team title. The Valdes twins provided a strong one-two punch for Dana Hills High. Paired with his cross-country success, Ryan has also run 1:54.42 in the 800 meters.

Carlmont senior Justine Fedronic ranks among the nation's top runners in everything from the 800 meters to cross country. She is a three-time CCS cross-country champion and she has finished in the top five at the state meet. On the track, Fedronic has run 55.94 in the 400, 2:08.08 in the 800, and 4:51.40 in the 1600 meters.

Aaron Konigsberg, the 2008 National Scholastic Indoor pole vault champion, the Eastern States javelin champion and the 2008 New York Relays decathlon champion, holds the Hackley School record in the decathlon, pole vault, and the javelin.

Jules Sharpe of Oaks Christian High in Woodland Hills is a high jumper with a best of 7-1. Sharpe currently holds the nation's fourth-best and California's No. 1 jump for the 2009 outdoor season. His best last season was 6-10.

The men's class includes 14 high school seniors and covers all event groups.

"This class covers all the areas of track and field and cross country," Stanford Director of Track and Field Edrick Floreal said. "These young men are highly motivated and nationally competitive they hold true to our philosophy of a well-balanced team."

Other male signees include Evan Appel (from Colorado), Darien Bailey (Menifee), Andrew Berberick (Littleton, Colo.), Kevin Cardey (Napa), Ramsey Chapin (Bethesda, Md.), Spencer Chase (Phoenix), Colin Hester (Indianapolis), Robert Hintz (Bellevue, WA), Tyler Stutzman (Charlottesville, Va.), and Sean Wallace (Owatonna, Minn.).

Appel was selected as the Colorado Gatorade Cross Country Athlete of the Year in 2008. Stutzman currently leads the national indoor 3200-meter list with his 9:05.58 victory at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

The women's class includes nine athletes that Floreal calls, "A star-studded and highly sought- after group. We are very excited by the level of achievement that some of these women have attained, from a USA national team member to school recordholders. This class contains some of the best talent in the country across all the event areas."

Among the other female signees are Karynn Dunn (Diamond Bar), Alexandra Dunne (San Clemente), Hannah Farley (Indianapolis), Nicole Heinl (Barrington, R.I.), Kathy Kroeger (Franklin, Tenn.), Carissa Levingston (Midwest City, OK), Maria Malone (Folsom) and Elaine Patten (O'Fallon, Ill.).

Karynn Dunn is the 2008 California state long jump runnerup and ranked No. 5 in the U.S. last season with a best of 20-2. Alexandra Dunne is a 2008 California state cross-country champion, who recently qualified for the 2009 Junior World Cross Country Championships after finishing third in the Junior USA National Championships.

Kroeger is the 2008 Wendy's High School Heisman National winner. She is a four-time Footlocker National finalist and four-time Tennessee state cross-country champion. In her four years at the Footlocker National Championships, she has finished 16th, sixth, second, and was the 2006 national champion.

Men's tennis

Stanford grad Peter Rennert will be inducted into the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in Athens, Ga. on May 20, joining eight others (six players, one coach, and one contributor).

Rennert, the ITA Player of the Year in 1980, was an All-American in both singles and doubles in 1979 and 1980. He also advanced to the singles final in the 1980 NCAA Championships.

During his time on The Farm (1977-80), Rennert posted a 56-14 singles record (.800 winning percentage) in dual matches and following graduation, reached his highest pro doubles rank of No. 9 in 1983.

-- PA Weekly Online Sports

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