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California’s Finlayson, Stanford’s McGinley named 2021 Pac-12 Rowing Scholar-Athletes of the Year

May 16, 2021


SAN FRANCISCO – CALIFORNIA’s George Finlayson was named the Pac-12 Men's Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Grace McGinley of STANFORD was tabbed the Pac-12 Women's Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the 2021 season, the Conference office announced today. The award, which is presented in each of the 24 sports the Pac-12 sponsors, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes who are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline.

Finlayson, a native of Sydney, Australia, owns a 3.91 grade-point average studying history with a minor in creative writing. He earned IRA All-Academic honors in 2019, and was a Pac-12 All-Academic First Team selection as a sophomore. The senior was also named to the Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll last year. He has played a significant role in helping the California Men's Rowing team win the Newmark Award for having the highest team GPA at the university for three consecutive years. Athletically, Finlayson has been a member of California’s varsity eight for almost all of the four years of his collegiate rowing career. As a freshman, he helped the Bears win the bronze medal at the IRA national championships and a silver at the Pac-12 Championships in 2016. As a sophomore, he stroked the varsity eight that took second at the Pac-12 Championships. He then helped the Bears' second varsity eight win the IRA national championship. Last season, Finlayson was in the varsity eight again for the two competitions Cal had before the COVID-19 shutdown. This season, he has been in the varsity eight all year as well, winning all but one race. He is the third Golden Bear to earn Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors for men’s rowing since the award was established in 2007-08.  

McGinley, a native of Westport, Conn., boasts a 4.06 grade-point average while triple majoring in comparative literature, classics and film and media studies at Stanford. She made the Pac-12 All-Academic First Team in 2019, and Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll in 2020. The senior is also a two-time CRCA Scholar-Athlete (2019, 2020). McGinley has been in the NCAA lineup every season for Stanford and was a prominent member of Stanford’s second varsity eight as a freshman, which placed seventh at the NCAA Championships and third at the Pac-12 Championships in 2018 and fourth at the NCAA Championships and second at Pac-12's in 2019. She has helped lead Stanford to a 3-0 record over California, USC and UCLA this season, rowing in the varsity four against all three. She is the fifth Cardinal to earn Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors for women’s rowing since the award was established in 2007-08.  

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 percent of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum 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 athletics accomplishments of the nominees are a consideration in voting for the award.

A Scholar-Athlete of the Year is 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. The award was first established during the 2008-09 academic year.

ALSO NOMINATED (MEN): Jacoby Wilson, OSU; Chase Deitner, WASH.

ALSO NOMINATED (WOMEN): Tessa White-Parsons, OSU; Audrey Goodman, UCLA; Mireille Codjia, USC; Tabea Schendekehl, WASH; Abigail Linnenkohl, WSU.


Year Men’s Women’s
2020-21 George Finlayson, California Grace McGinley, Stanford
2018-19 Maarten Hurkmans, California Paige Danielson, Washington State
2017-18 Natan Wegrycki-Szymczyk, California Ida Gortz Jacobsen, USC
2016-17 Brendan Larkin, Stanford Mihaela-Teodora Berindei, Washington State
2015-16 Landon Alecxih, Stanford Kendall Chase, California
2014-15 Kaess Smit, Stanford Naomi Cornman, Stanford
2013-14 Austin Hack, Stanford Ali Fauci, Stanford
2012-13 Seamus Labrum, Washington Katie Dick, Washington State
2011-12 Sam Ojserkis, Washington Marielle Higgins, Stanford
2010-11 Alex Syverson, Stanford Erika Roddy, Stanford
2009-10 Simon Taylor, Washington Christina Sprouse, UCLA
2008-09 Mark Murphy, Stanford Robin Hextrum, USC
2007-08 Justin Wagner, Oregon State Kaylie Towne, Oregon State