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Top 10: Stanford sports moments of 2013

1. Jason Collins ’01 comes out, becoming the first openly gay male athlete in a major American team sport

The courageous announcement by Jason Collins '01 (above) in April tops Stanford's 2013 in sports. (DAVID GONZALES/StanfordPhoto.com)

The courageous announcement by Jason Collins ’01 (above) in April tops Stanford’s 2013 in sports. (DAVID GONZALES/StanfordPhoto.com)

In a year of great sports moments for Stanford athletes, Jason Collins’ announcement in April 2013 regarding his sexual orientation was tremendously courageous. One can only hope that Collins’ announcement leads to greater acceptance and tolerance of LGBT rights in the sports world.

2. Stanford women’s tennis wins NCAA Championship, leading Card to 19th consecutive Directors’ Cup

Stanford women’s tennis kept the Cardinal’s national championship streak alive in the most dramatic of fashions; as the No. 12 seed, the Card took down four out of the top five seeds in the final rounds of the NCAA tournament en route to the title.

3. Stanford football wins second consecutive Pac-12 Championship, earns berth in 100th Rose Bowl Game

Stanford football once again won the Pac-12 Conference in 2013 while leaving an indelible mark on the national landscape; after winning the Rose Bowl on the first day of 2013 with a win over Wisconsin, the Card subsequently reaffirmed its status as one of the best programs on the West Coast with a statement win against No. 3 Oregon and another conference title.

4. Stanford women’s lightweight crew wins fourth consecutive IRA National Championship

Women’s lightweight crew continued to add to its dynasty in 2013 with yet another IRA National Championship. In the process, the Cardinal earned the Collegiate Crew of the Year Award.

5. Cardinal baseball pitcher Mark Appel ’13 sets career strikeout record, is drafted No. 1 overall to Houston Astros

Appel cemented his legacy as one of the greatest pitchers in program history by earning the career strikeout record in the Friday night opener of the Card’s final series against UCLA. Appel also subsequently validated the decision to return for his senior season when he was drafted No. 1 overall by his hometown Houston Astros in June.

6. Women’s basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer earns 900th career victory

VanDerveer continued to add accolades to her Hall of Fame career with her 900th win, which came in November in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, against Florida Gulf Coast. In the last 12 months, VanDerveer also helped the Card to another Pac-12 title and a No. 1 seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament.

7. Women’s water polo falls in epic quadruple-overtime NCAA Championship Game against USC

Stanford women’s water polo played in 2013 NCAA Championship Game, a contest that some people have called the greatest collegiate water polo game ever. Although the Cardinal came out on the losing end, Stanford and USC captivated their audience with a back-and-forth affair that finally ended in the third sudden-death period.

8. Synchronized swimming wins U.S. Collegiate National Championship

During the 2013 season, the synchronized swimming team captured its seventh national championship, and its first since 2008, while dispatching Ohio State for the crown.

9. Women’s lacrosse wins first NCAA tournament game in program history over Notre Dame

Women’s lacrosse set a new high-water mark for its program with its first-round victory against Notre Dame. Junior Hannah Farr scored the winning goal with four seconds left to shock the Fighting Irish.

10. Sand volleyball competes in its first season

The athletics department debuted a new varsity sport in the spring of 2013, when the women’s sand volleyball team competed in its inaugural season. The Card posted a 7-1 record, with wins over Santa Clara, Pacific and San Francisco.

Contact David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About David Cohn