Kristin Smith, Blaine Thomas named to Verizon Academic All-District squads
Thursday, November 13, 2003

BEMIDJI, Minn. - Two Bemidji State student athletes, volleyball setter Kristin Smith and football offensive lineman Blaine Thomas, have been named to the Verizon/College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) College Division Academic All-District V Team, as announced today by CoSIDA.

Smith, a junior from Rockford, Ill. who holds a 4.0 grade-point average in biology and is a four-time member of the Bemidji State Dean’s List, earned Verizon/CoSIDA First-Team All-District V College Division honors. It marks Smith’s second career Verizon award, as she received All-District Third Team honors and was named Academic All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference a season ago.

After leading the 2002 club and having the fourth-best average in the league with 11.5 assists per game, Smith maintains a 10.66 clip this season. She tallied her fourth-best career output with 62 assists against Northern State (10/21/03). Also, she is fourth on the team averaging 2.47 digs per game. She picked up her 13th career 50-assist effort and sixth of the season with 55 against No. 13 Concordia-St. Paul on Oct. 24. BSU stands 8-1 when Smith posts 55 or more assists.

She is currently fifth all-time at BSU with 2,230 career assists, and her 991 assists this year rank ninth on the BSU single-season charts. Her 1,173 assists in 2002 ranks fourth all-time.

Smith is the lone junior on this year’s First Team; the other five honorees are seniors. Also, Smith is just one of three NSIC players to be honored on either the first, second or third team. Winona State senior Brita Hofmann earned second-team honors and Minn.-Duluth junior Callie Zweller was named to the third team.

Joining Smith on the first team are:
•Melissa Braaksma, Lakeland College, Sr., 4.00 GPA, Accounting/Business Administration
•Emily Buehler, St. Thomas, Sr., Sr., 3.97 GPA, Justice & Peace Studies
•Kelly Cusack, Elmhurst, Sr., 4.00 GPA, Accounting
•Jessica Oolman, Minnesota State, Mankato, Sr., 4.00 GPA, Biology
•Melissa Trvdik, Wisconsin-River Falls, Sr., 3.80 GPA, Psychology

Thomas, a senior from Williams, Minn. who holds a 3.51 GPA in business administration, was named Verizon/CoSIDA Third-Team All-District V College Division. He has started nine of 10 games at right tackle for Bemidji State this season, clearing the way for an offense which has tied the school single-season record with four games of 40 or more points scored. Thomas was an Academic All-NSIC pick a year ago.

Thomas has been a mainstay on the BSU front five for the last two years. He played eight games as a reserve in 2002 and helped block for a BSU offense which set a school record with its fourth consecutive season with 1,800 or more rushing yards, despite starting four different running backs due to injury.

The award for Thomas marks the second consecutive season a BSU football player has been recognized as Academic All-District. Defensive end Mike Thomas earned third-team honors in 2002.

Thomas is one of just five NSIC gridders to be honored by Verizon. The others were Minn.-Duluth receiver Tim Battaglia, named to the first team, second-team honorees Chad Davison of MSU-Moorhead and David Blaskowski of Winona State, and third-team honoree Quentin Anderson of Southwest Minnesota State.

Bemidji State student athletes have now won eight All-District V academic awards over the last two seasons.

The Verizon Academic All-District Teams are selected by a vote of the 1,800-member CoSIDA. To be eligible, an athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.20 on a scale of 4.00. Sports information directors nominate eligible athletes from their schools who are named to the all-district teams. First-Team All-District honorees advance to the All-America ballot.