UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University Athletic Department has selected two Cardinal student-athletes from a familiar hometown as the 2013-14 recipients of the "Ryder Athlete of the Year" award. Jeff Janis and Emily Short, both graduates of Tawas Area High School, received the annual honor for the top male and female athletes, respectively, for the 2013-14 season.
The "Ryder Athlete of the Year" stands as the most prestigious Cardinal athletic award. During his tenure, former SVSU president, Dr. Jack M. Ryder and his wife, Lila, were both passionate fans of Cardinal Athletics. Their support and contributions to the SVSU Athletic Department are recognized on an annual basis with the presentation of the "Ryder Athlete of the Year" award, which is presented to the top male and female Cardinal student-athletes.
Jeff Janis - Football
Janis had a sensational senior campaign to round-out his career in a Cardinal uniform. The 6-3, 219 pound wide receiver hauled-in 83 catches for 1,572 yards and 14 touchdowns. He posted 100 yards receiving in eight games for the 2013 season, highlighted by a 15-catch, 331 yard, four touchdown performance against the Hillsdale College Chargers.
Janis was selected as the GLIAC "Offensive Back of the Year" for the second straight season and racked-up several All-American accolades for the second year in a row as well. He finished his career at SVSU with two of the top three GLIAC single season receiving performances, as he is 1st with 1,492 yards in 2013 and 3rd with the 1,468 conference yards he put up this past fall. He is second in GLIAC career receiving yards with 3,879.
He currently holds the GLIAC and SVSU single game records with 331 receiving yards and 18 receptions. Janis is SVSU's all-time leader in receiving yards (4,274), receptions (241), touchdowns (45) and receptions-per-game (5.6).
Janis went on to be drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, where he has signed his rookie contract and is awaiting training camp for the upcoming season with the defending NFC North Division Champions.
SVSU Football Head Coach Jim Collins on Jeff Janis:
"I am extremely proud of Jeff and all that he accomplished on the field and in the classroom as a student-athlete here at Saginaw Valley State University. He has contributed mightily to the overall success of this program and his success will continue to serve as a benchmark for current and future student-athletes to strive for."
Emily Short – Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field
Short started the 2013-14 season by earning her second-consecutive All-American showing in the NCAA Division II Women's Cross Country National Championships in Spokane, Washington. She ran to a 15th place finish in the event with a time of 21:32.6. The mark paced the Lady Cardinals as they posted their best ever finish at the Championships with an 11th place showing.
Emily carried that success right over into the indoor track & field season, where she represented SVSU in the national indoor championships. She narrowly missed out on another All-American honor, finishing 12th in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 9:59.50.
Short will return for SVSU in the 2014-15 season for her senior campaign, one that looks to be very promising based on her past success.
SVSU Cross Country/Track & Field Head Coach Rod Cowan on Emily Short:
"The old saying that adversity will either make or break you is a very true statement. As a true freshman, Emily ran as a qualifying member on our women's DMR team. At the indoor national championship meet, I made a difficult decision to run a senior in place of Emily. For a lot of student-athletes that moment would have been too big to overcome, but she used it as fuel to never have that decision be a difficult one again. Since that meet, she has gone on to earn four All-American honors; two in track and a pair in cross country. Her competitive fire is what makes her standout as a GREAT student-athlete instead of just a good student-athlete. She has been a leader in our program both on the field of play and in the classroom. To receive the department's highest athletic honor is very deserving, as she exemplifies what Cardinal Athletics are all about."
Janis and Short will be recognized at the annual SVSU Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, September 26th and again at halftime of the Cardinals' home football game against Ferris State on Saturday, September 27th.