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BRIEFS: Thomas named Lott semifinalist; basketball and three other women’s sports name Class of 2017 signees

Chase Thomas one of eight Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalists

Redshirt senior linebacker Chase Thomas was named a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which recognizes both athletic performance and personal character, on Thursday.

Redshirt senior linebacker Chase Thomas was named a Lott IMPACT Award semifinalist on Thursday. (SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily)

Thomas is no stranger to postseason awards, having been named a first-team All-Pac-12 outside linebacker in 2011 by leading the league with 1.35 tackles per loss per game and earning Sporting News All-America honors as well.

But after that 52-tackle campaign — good for fourth on Stanford’s shutdown defense — Thomas passed on the NFL Draft for a final season on the Farm and has stepped into an even larger role. Besides pacing the Cardinal with 50 tackles through 10 games, as a team captain Thomas has led the best rush defense (58.6 yards per game) in the country.

 

Women’s basketball, swimming, gymnastics, golf teams sign recruits

Several Stanford women’s sports teams announced their classes of next year’s incoming freshmen on Thursday, with the No. 4 women’s basketball team signing four top recruits.

The Card’s haul on Thursday included forwards Erica McCall, listed by ESPN as the 11th best high school player in the nation, and Kailee Johnson, listed 20th. McCall won gold medals with USA Basketball’s U16 and U17 National Teams.

Wing Karlie Samuelson and point guard Khaliyah “Lili” Thompson — who hails from running back Stepfan Taylor’s hometown of Mansfield, Texas — round out the women’s basketball class.

The swimming and diving team signed six athletes, including Lia Neal, who won bronze at this summer’s London Olympics in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Also coming to the Farm is Nicole Stafford, who qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in four swimming events, and Kassidy Cook, who came within a point of qualifying the Olympics in synchronized diving.

“She’s definitely the greatest high school diver I’ve ever recruited,” diving coach Rich Schavone told GoStanford.com.

The Cardinal women’s gymnastics team will soon benefit from three elite high school recruits, such as Rachel Daum, who won national championships in 2011 in vault and the floor exercise.

The women’s golf team, meanwhile, added four-time Wisconsin state champion Casey Danielson, German Girls National Champion Quirine Eljkenboom and 2012 U.S. Women’s Open qualifier Jisoo Keel.

 —Joseph Beyda

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