2007-08 Honor Roll No. 2: David Sender

Men's gymnastics finished second in the country this year on the strength of the leaps and vaults of senior star David Sender, TheBootleg.com's second 2007-08 Honor Roll winner. Sender graduates Stanford a school-record nine-time All-American, two-time national champion and two-time Block S winner for academic and athletic excellence.

In the latest issue of The Bootleg Magazine, we released the 30 finalists for The Bootleg Honor Roll award for the 2007/2008 school-year.

The criteria are as follows:

Each academic year, The Bootleg's Honor Roll will recognize the top ten Stanford student-athletes who have performed at an exceptional level, with athletic accomplishments that are both extraordinary and inspirational.  While achieving athletic success, these athletes should also have displayed uncommon leadership, sportsmanship and respect towards their fellow teammates and opponents.  Finally, these honorees' performances and actions should also demonstrate their love for their particular sport as well as their school pride, the famed "Spirit of Stanford."

During the months of June and July, we are releasing the 10 winners of this prestigious award, one by one.  We have previously recognized baseball's Jason Castro as our first winner this year. Our second announced member of The Bootleg's 2007-08 Honor Roll is gymnast David Sender.

Honor Roll Winner: David Sender

The scary thing about David Sender is that the best may be yet to come.

That's a bold statement for a man who graduates from Stanford a nine-time All-American, breaking a school record for most career All-American honors. It's a bold statement for a two-time national champion, one of eight Stanford men's gymnasts ever to be on the World Team and one of 15 ever to make the U.S. National Team. But Sender's goals are clear: with the Olympic trials in mid-July, the Chicagoland native would love nothing more than to become the fourth Cardinal men's gymnast to compete on the world's grandest stage.

And did Sender ever set himself up well this year. First, he claimed his eighth and ninth All-American awards on rings (15.775) and vault (16.350), with the mark on the vault giving Sender the school All-American record. Just as importantly, Sender made sure his team performed up to their lofty preseason hype. As the undisputed leader of the squad, Sender deserves plenty of credit for the team's second-place finish at the Stanford-hosted NCAA Finals, just 0.5 points behind national champion Oklahoma.

For his efforts, Sender was named a finalist for the Nissen-Emery Award, the Heisman of gymnastics. Sender also earned an invite to the 2008 Visa U.S. Championships in Houston. Once there, Sender didn't disappoint – winning the 39-man event outright to become one of 14 Americans to advance to the Olympic Team Trials July 19-22 in Philadelphia.

2007-08 caps off a collegiate career for the ages for Sender. Off the Farm, he has been on the Senior Men's National Team for the last five years, the World Championships team in 2006, and competed in the 2004 Olympic trials. At Stanford, he has won two national titles in vault (2006, 2007) and is a two-time recipient of the Stanford Block S Award, a tribute to his excellence in athletics and academics.

In the classroom, Sender graduates with a B.S. in Biology, one of Stanford's most time-intensive and difficult majors. (General Studies, this is not.) He somehow found time to do additional research in a neuroscience lab that works on minimizing neurological damage from brain tumors and surgeries, and in a comparative medicine lab that is trying to find a model of autism in squirrel monkeys. Suffice to say Sender is more than qualified to achieve his lifelong goal of becoming a veterinarian.

But squirrel monkeys and veterinary school will have to wait a little longer for Sender, with the Olympic trials just weeks away. Judging by his performances throughout his college career, here's betting Sender earns an all-expenses-paid trip and a chance to study more exotic animals yet -- in Beijing.

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