Athletes switched out their jerseys and backpacks for suits and dresses Tuesday night as they filed into Hewlett Auditorium for the third annual Stannys, a play off of the ESPYs, in which student-athletes and teams are honored for their accomplishments over the past year. While the 18 awards given out could not possibly cover all of this year’s stellar Cardinal play over all 36 varsity sports, the ceremony served as a reminder of some of the year’s highlights.
Let’s look at some of the awarded to reminisce, yet also see if any individuals, teams or plays were overshadowed or overlooked.
Most inspirational team: Women’s water polo
At the end of the day, the women’s water polo team did what no other Stanford team could achieve this year: win a national championship. Its title was earned and certainly not given: In the NCAA tournament two weekends ago, the Cardinal had to fight through both USC and UCLA — the other top-two teams in the sport — to keep the trophy on the Farm. Thanks to water polo, Stanford’s streak of winning at least one national championship every year extended to 39 years.
Breakthrough season: Men’s soccer and field hockey
Despite opening the season with a 2-0 loss against Creighton, men’s soccer roared back to go nearly undefeated for the rest of the regular season, pulling out wins against Delaware and Washington and tying UCLA twice. More importantly, the team won its first Pac-12 championship since 2001 in what is considered one of the most difficult conferences in the sport. While junior Brandon Vincent led the team with 6 goals, most of the attention during and after the season fell on sophomore Jordan Morris, who earned three caps for the USMNT, including one in April when he started and scored in the team’s friendly against Mexico.
But a special shout out also goes to men’s cross country and Stefan Nastic: Cross country placed second in NCAAs, the program’s highest finish since 2003, while Nastic played his best ball this season, averaging 13.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Field hockey (19-3) had its most successful season in recent history: The team notched a 6-2 record against top-20 teams and spent three weeks at the No. 3 spot in the country. Perhaps most impressively, the program earned its first ever NCAA victory when it beat Louisville in the first round of the tournament, before it lost to eventual champion UConn in Storrs.
Most inspirational player: Jordan Morris and Hannah Farr
Stanford star. USMNT player (who started and scored against Mexico). Diabetic who beat the odds. Family man. And an overall humble guy. What else is there to say about Morris?
Not many athletes play two sports in college, let alone at Stanford. Even fewer make a huge impact on both their teams. Hannah Farr was able bring her intense competitive drive to both the soccer and lacrosse teams during her time on the Farm. She was part of the soccer team when it won the national championship in 2011, and this year played in all 25 matches, including 15 starts, while also playing in every minute of the Cardinal’s NCAA run. On the lacrosse field, she earned MPSF Player of the Year her junior year, while her senior senior she continued her outstanding play, coming in at second on the team with 34 goals and 18 assists.
Rookie of the year: Corey Baird
Baird, a midfielder, had an incredible start to his Stanford career: He ended the season tied for third-most goals (4), two of which were game-winning goals, and started 14 of the team’s 19 games. While Baird’s accomplishments are commendable, I likely would have given the honor to football’s Christian McCaffrey, who ended his season with 796 all-purpose yards (an average of 61.2 per game) and two receiving touchdowns. His 138 all-purpose yards against Maryland in the Foster Farms Bowl turned heads, and his versatility (he can do punt and kickoff returns, catch or rush) was one of the bright spots for the team’s rocky season. Regardless, both Baird and McCaffrey will carry their teams great lengths in the years to come.
Best play: Austin Meyer and Jane Campbell
Austin Meyer surprisingly beat out teammate Jordan Morris for best play: While Jordan scored his goal on the international stage, Meyer’s goal won Stanford the Pac-12 championship against rival Cal in double overtime, its first conference title since 2001. Pretty cool that a player who redshirted his first year and only played in two games the year after earned his team a conference championship in his final season.
On the women’s side, soccer’s Jane Campbell won the award for best play. Although being a women’s basketball writer may make me biased, I believe the award should have gone to basketball’s Amber Orrange for her game-tying three against UConn with 1.38 seconds to play. The basket forced the game into overtime, during which the Cardinal defeated the No. 1 team in the country and the defending national champions. (Stanford would also be the only team to beat UConn all year, as the Huskies finished their season undefeated and won their gazillionith national championship.)
Stanford’s win over UConn was likely the second-biggest win on the Farm this year (behind the women’s water polo championship), and Orrange’s clutch shooting that night made it possible.
Contact Alexa Philippou at aphil723 ‘at’ stanford.edu.