CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Six Virginia student-athletes were named to the 2018-19 Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Academic All-State team, the organization announced on Friday (July 12).
Brendan Casey (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Vivian Tafuto (Hummelstown, Pa.) from swimming and diving, Betsy Brandon (Littleton, Colo.) from women’s soccer, Ryan Conrad (Timonium, Md.) from men’s lacrosse, Carl Soderlund (Stockholm, Sweden) from men’s tennis and Jocelyn Willoughby (East Orange, N.J.) from women’s basketball were named to the academic team, joining a list of 197 athletes from 33 colleges and universities within the state to earn the academic honor.
Brandon posted a 3.91 GPA in Spanish and speech communication disorders. She recorded five goals and three assists during the season for 13 points, including two goals during the team’s match against Liberty. She also assisted on the game-winning goal against Bucknell. Brandon was a nine-game starter and competed in all 22 matches during the season. She was named to the ACC Women’s Soccer All-Academic Team and was selected 16th in the NWSL Draft by the Houston Dash.
Casey graduated with a GPA of 3.46 in commerce. He led the men’s swimming and diving team during the season, recording three All-America honors at the 2019 NCAA Championships with a fourth-place finish in the 400-yard individual medley, a fifth-place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle and a 13th-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle. Casey also tied as the top point scorer at the ACC Championships, winning the conference title in the 400-yard individual medley and the 1650-yard freestyle, while finishing second in the 500-yard freestyle. Casey was named the VaSID Swimmer of the Year, elected to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar Athlete Team and was listed on ACC All-Academic Team.
Conrad posted a 3.43 GPA in commerce. He was named MVP of the ACC Tournament and was named to both NCAA and ACC All-Tournament teams. He finished the season with 32 goals, 18 assists and 49 points as well as 95 ground balls. Conrad emerged as the only player in the nation with 13+ points and 70+ ground balls and led the nation’s offensive players in ground balls. His 49 points are tied for No. 3 all-time at UVA for a single season by a midfielder and his 18 assists are tied for No. 4 all-time for a single season by a UVA midfielder. Conrad, a first-team All-American, was also named the Senior CLASS Award winner, the ACC Men’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and an USILA Scholar All-American.
Soderlund captured a GPA of 3.68 in economics. The ACC Men’s Tennis Player of the Year and an ITA Singles All-American, Soderlund finished the season with a 20-5 record in singles, including a 9-1 run in conference play. He was ranked as high as No. 3 in singles during the season and concluded the year ranked No. 5. He clinched five-match wins for the Cavaliers. Soderlund was named an All-ACC First Team selection, ACC Men’s Tennis Scholar Athlete of the Year, ITA Atlantic Region Player to Watch and All-ACC Academic Team honoree.
Tafuto recorded a 3.95 GPA in economics and INTER-statistics. The four-time NCAA qualifier, concluded her collegiate career as a 2017-18 All-American in the 200-yard medley relay. She competed in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke at the 2019 NCAA Championships. At the 2019 ACC Championships, Tafuto advanced to the top heat of the 200-yard breaststroke where she captured a fifth-place finish. She holds the third-fastest times in school history in both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke.
Willoughby posted a GPA of 3.87 in INTER-global studies. She led the team in two statistical categories, scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg), and ranked seventh in the ACC in rebounding. Willoughby scored 20 points or more during six games and reached double-digits in scoring on 24 occasions during the season. She became the 35th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Additionally, she tallied her 500th career rebound during the season. Willoughby was a 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District III, ACC Academic Team and VaSID All-State Second-Team honoree.
To be eligible, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average and be a sophomore or higher.
VaSID is comprised of sports information or athletics communications professionals from intercollegiate institutions throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Membership is open to any individual affiliated with one of the state’s institutions at the NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, USCAA, NJCAA, community college and independent levels, provided that individual’s area of responsibility lies within the realm of sports information.