Bilderback tapped as Academic All-American

His college football career may not have turned out quite the way as he would have liked, but Phil Bilderback will walk away from Cornell College with a couple of nice souvenirs in the form of All-American awards.

Bilderback, a 2002 graduate of South Kitsap, was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team back in November and in December was selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America second team in football as an offensive lineman.

Even though Bilderback knew he was in the running for a couple of All-American teams — he had, after all, been asked to put together a pseudo-resume by Cornell College’s Sports Information Department documenting his accomplishments – it still was a nice surprise when the word came down.

“I was totally surprised,” Bilderback said last week during a trip home to visit family. “It was awesome to be named. It was huge.”

Bilderback said he knew there was a chance of making the All-American team after being named to the All-District team but when his father Don ran across the award on the internet and called his son to inform him, it was a nice surprise.

Bilderback is the ninth Cornell athlete to land on an Academic All-America team since 1997. He is the school’s first since Anna Doherty was selected to the third team in track and field/cross country last season, and the first football player since Matt Weiss in 1998.

Bilderback, who has a 3.96 grade point average (“but who’s counting?” he said) was a member of an offensive line that helped the Rams pass for an average of 204.4 yards and rush for 109.7 yards per game.

He is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology and is scheduled to graduate this spring.

In his four years at Cornell, an NCAA Division III school in Mount Vernon, Iowa, the Rams compiled a 12-28 record, including a 2-8 mark in 2005. Bilderback, who blocked for Ryan Cole while at South Kitsap, saw most of his action on special teams but said he got a few opportunities to play on the offensive line when it mattered most.

“It was rewarding even if we didn’t have a great run while I was there,” Bilderback said. “I definitely didn’t see the kind of success as I did at South Kitsap, at least on the field.”

Bilderback has applied to a pair of medical schools in hopes of continuing his education. The University of Iowa has talked with him already and he is hoping to get an interview at the University of Washington, his first choice, so he came return home.

“I would love to come back home, I really loved living here,” Bilderback said. “UW is one of the best schools in the country and I’m really hoping that works out.”

Bilderback is the son of Don and Pam Bilderback, who now live in Smyrna, Del. His older brother Greg still lives in Port Orchard while another brother is in Bellingham.

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