Honor Roll No. 1: All-around, Janiga a star

During the summer months, we are releasing the 10 winners of this prestigious award, one by one. Our first announced member of The Bootleg's 2009-2010 Honor Roll is gymnast Carly Janinga.

In a June 15 article, we released the 31 finalists for The Bootleg Honor Roll for the 2009-2010 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."

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Counting both individual and team championships, this year's ten Honor Roll finalists won 10 national championships in the last year alone. There wasn't even room on our 10-athlete Honor Roll for some additional finalists who won national titles: swimmers Chad LaTourette and Betsy Webb and gymnasts Ryan Lieberman and Eddie Penev each won individual titles, and though both teams are represented, we simply couldn't honor everyone on the men's volleyball and women's tennis national champion squads.

So for gymnast Carly Janinga, a 2010 graduate in education and psychology, it wasn't just a national title that earned her our first spot on the 2009-'10 Honor Roll, though her performance one spring night certainly didn't hurt. Indeed, given all she's accomplished as an athlete, as a student, as a volunteer and as a leader, Janiga truly embodies the ideals our Honor Roll looks to reward.

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Though just 4-foot-11, Janinga stood tall for her team when it mattered most. At this year's national championships in Florida, Janiga, a co-captain, saw a teammate suffer an early fall on the balance beam, eliminating whatever margin for error Stanford might have had. In a pressure-packed situation, Janiga kept her composure and then some, posting an unbelievable 9.95 on the uneven bars (including a perfect 10 from one judge), and similarly strong scores throughout the rest of the team finals to help Stanford finish fourth in the nation.

The next day brought individual championships, and with a 9.9375 on the uneven bars, Janiga become the second individual national champion in program history, and first since 1998. She tied for second on the balance beam with a 9.8875, and, overall, finished third in the all-around (39.545) for the highest Individual Event Finals score in program history. The resulting three First Team All-American honors give Janiga five in her career, and her nine All-American honors are third-best in program history.

"Carly was what she has been for our team for the past four years: amazing, and an absolute rock for our program," coach Kristen Smyth told The Stanford Daily. "She is going to be impossible to replace, and it has been such a privilege to work with someone with her work ethic and character."

Janiga and the other 2010 seniors – Allyse Ishino, Tenaya West, Blair Ryland and Stephanie Carter – led Stanford to the six-team NCAA Finals three times, most of any class in program history. Janiga aided the effort with four Pac-10 individual titles after winning floor exercise this year, and has been recognized amply by the sport's governing bodies for her efforts athletic and scholastic.

First, Janiga won an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and a Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete award, both of which should help her as she starts Stanford's Teacher Education Program (STEP) this summer. She is one of just four Stanford student-athletes to win an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, and also won the Donald Kennedy Award at the recent Stanford Athletics annual banquet (the origin of most of this series' pictures, by the way), "presented to the senior athlete who best exhibits the combination of excellent academics, strong athletic ability, and a commitment to community service." She was a finalist for the AAI Award for the top female senior collegiate gymnast, a finalist for the Honda Award honoring gymnastic and academic excellence, and was a candidate for NCAA Woman of the Year.

So Carly's no stranger to winning awards, not to mention awards that come with physical trophies or monetary remuneration, but nonetheless we hope she appreciates our honor, our way of letting her know that she, and her four years of hard work, is most appreciated by the Stanford community.

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