June 14, 2007
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois senior gymnast Jody Yednock (West Chicago, Ill./West Chicago HS) capped off a stellar academic and athletic career Thursday by adding two of the most prestigious academic honors presented on the national and league levels.
Yednock, who graduated from NIU in April with a perfect 4.0 grade point average in math, probability and statistics, was named a First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American Thursday, becoming the first Northern Illinois student-athlete to earn a first team nod from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) since Thomas Hammock (football) in 2001. She is also the first NIU women's gymnast ever to earn first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America recognition and is the 18th overall first team honoree in school history, dating back to 1972.
The 15 members of the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America At-Large team are nominated from any of 13 NCAA sports, making it one of the most selective squads presented by the organization. Last year, Huskie gymnast Ashlee Williams was a second team selection to the same team. To be nominated, student-athletes must be at least sophomores and have a cumulative grade point average above 3.2, a standard easily surpassed by Yednock's perfection in the classroom.
The national award comes one day after Yednock became the second Huskie in as many years to earn the Bob James Memorial Scholarship from the Mid-American Conference. The $5,000 Scholarship, which is annually presented to one male and one female student-athlete at a MAC school, honored Yednock for her excellence in demonstrating character, leadership and citizenship in addition to academic performance. She followed Huskie volleyball player Marie Zidek, who earned the honor in 2006 and was the first student-athlete in school history to win the award, as the James Award winner.
"Jody has been the epitome of excellence throughout her college career," said NIU Head Coach Mark Sontag. "It says a lot for the program and for the university to have a student of her caliber choose to come and compete and graduate from NIU. She was instrumental to the success of our program, not only with what she did in the gym, but also as a tutor to her teammates and other student-athletes. She is a great example of a true student-athlete and I know that she will go on to great success in the future."
NIU's top performer on the uneven parallel bars in 2007, Yednock competed in every meet on the bars and in 11 of 12 meets on the balance beam. She recorded five scores of 9.800 or better on the bars this season, including three season-best scores of 9.850. She tied for second on bars at the 2007 Mid-American Conference Championships and won the event at four meets. Yednock, a three-year team captain, was an alternate selection to the NCAA South Central Regional on the uneven parallel bars.
Outside of the gym, Yednock received numerous university-wide honors, including the Dean's Award (2006-07), awarded to students who made substantial contributions to the university and who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship, and twice was awarded the Gail Masters Gallagher Memorial Scholarship. She was a finalist for the 2006-07 Northern Illinois University Student Lincoln Laureate, an honor reserved for the top senior from each of the state's public and private four-year institutions. She tutored fellow student-athletes in math for three years and received the Outstanding Tutor Award from the Student-Athlete Academic Support Services office in 2004-05. She also volunteered with children in the community at Kishwaukee Hospital and at EnerGym, where she taught simple gymnastics techniques to children with disabilities.
"What Jody was able to accomplish academically, athletically and socially at Northern Illinois during her career is an inspiration to her coaches, teammates, the athletic staff and to every student-athlete on our campus," said NIU Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Jim Phillips. "She defines the term `success' and it is gratifying to see her receive recognition from CoSIDA and from the Mid-American Conference."
Overall, Yednock is the 48th Northern Illinois student-athlete honored by CoSIDA as an Academic All-American on one of their three teams. Last year, both Williams and softball player Lindsey LaChiana were honored as second team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans.
Yednock graduated from NIU in April and will pursue a postgraduate degree in biostatistics at the Medical University of South Carolina.
-- NIU --