Stanford's Michelle Xiao named Pac-12 women's soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year

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SAN FRANCISCO - STANFORD’s Michelle Xiao was named the 2018 Pac-12 Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the Conference office announced on Thursday. The award, which is presented in each of the 24 sports the Pac-12 sponsors, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline.

Since the award's inception in 2008, Xiao is the seventh Cardinal to with the award in women’s soccer. The senior midfielder from Omaha, Neb., studies biomechanical engineering at the Stanford School of Engineering and has a cumulative GPA of 4.032. She currently conducts research under the guidance of Dr. Geoff Abrams, who specializes in sports medicine, studying the efforts of micoRNAs on tendinopathy. As a part of the Stanford Bio-X USRP program, Xiao also worked in the Stanford Soft Tissue Biomechanics Lab (STBL). Even over her summer break in 2016, she spent time in the medicinal chemistry research lab at the University of Nebraska Medical Center working on synthesizing small molecules that could treat Alzheimer’s Disease. She has even published a paper from her research on Alzheimer’s Disease in the Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters Journal titled “Design and synthesis of new piperidone grafted acetylcholinesterase.” Xiao also dedicates her time in the community as a playroom volunteer at Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and at the East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring program.

Xiao’s impressive academic resume has earned her a significant amount of recognition across collegiate sports. She was awarded the NCAA Elite 90 Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average at the NCAA Women’s College Cup, and helped the Cardinal eventually claim the 2017 NCAA title. Xiao was recognized by CoSIDA in 2017 as an Academic All-America first team member and was also named first team Academic All-District. Additionally, she was a United Soccer Coaches Academic All-Region third team honoree. She was named to the 2016-17 Pac-12 All-Academic first team and was an honorable mention in 2015.

On the field, Xiao was instrumental in Stanford’s 2017 title and current 42-game unbeaten streak. In 77 total games at Stanford, she has tallied 21 goals, seven of which were game-winners, 10 assists and 52 points. She was named to the All-Pac-12 second team during the 2017 title run her junior year. In her freshman campaign in 2015, she was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention, named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team and was a TopDrawerSoccer Postseason Freshman Best XI second team honoree. Sports Illustrated highlighted her strong freshman debut in its “Faces in the Crowd” segment on Oct. 5, 2012. Xiao also has U.S. youth national team experience, playing in several age groups from the U-14 level to the U-19 level. She also attended the U.S. U-20 camps during 2016 and traveled with the team for the La Manga Tournament in Spain.

In order to be eligible for the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, student-athletes must be a senior (in athletics eligibility) on track to receive a degree, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, participate in at least 50% of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution. Each Pac-12 institution may nominate one individual per sport, and the winners are selected by a committee of Pac-12 staff members at the conclusion of each sport’s regular season. The athletic accomplishments of the nominees are a consideration in the voting for the award.

A Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be named in each of the Pac-12’s 24 sponsored sports: baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, beach volleyball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, football, men’s golf, women’s golf, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, men’s rowing, women’s rowing, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, softball, men’s swimming & diving, women’s swimming & diving, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s track & field, women’s track & field, women’s volleyball, and wrestling.

Also Nominated: Lainey Burdett, ARIZ; Kylie Miniefield, ASU; Jorian Baucom, COLO; Marissa Everett, ORE; Allison Pantuso, OSU; Julia Hernandez, UCLA; Ally Prisock, USC; Hailey Skolmoski, UTAH; Maddy Haro, WSU.

Previous Women's Soccer Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Year Scholar-Athlete School
2018-19 Michelle Xiao Stanford
2017-18 Nicole Molen USC
2016-17 Maddie Bauer Stanford
2015-16 Sheaffer Skadsen Arizona
2014-15 Sarah Killion UCLA
2013-14 Jasmine Roth Arizona State
2012-13 Mariah Nogueira Stanford
2011-12 Teresa Noyola Stanford
2010-11 Christen Press Stanford
2009-10 Ali Riley Stanford
2008-09 Nicole Dobrzynski Oregon
2007-08 Rachel Buehler Stanford
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