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Spelfogel’s guide to Stanford sports traditions


Stanford Sports Traditions:

Welcome to Stanford! Among many other benefits of being Cardinal, one that comes along with the elite academic honors of the institution is the University’s top rated athletics program. You might have heard that Stanford has won a record setting 22 consecutive Directors Cup’s, for the best collegiate athletic program. But take a moment to actually look at the wiki page, it’s staggering (

While Stanford is known as one of the best worldwide research institutions for a variety of subject matters, its athletic program is also one of the best country. Here is a guide to the best sporting moments of the past four years, and some of the best ones to expect in the next year.

Date: November 18th, 2014.
Sport: Women’s Basketball
Opponent: #1 UConn
Venue: Maples Pavilion
Final Score: 88-86 (OT)
Headline: “Women’s basketball avenges Final Four loss with upset of UConn.”

I remember this one like it was yesterday. With the clock winding down at the end of regulation, Lili Thomson hit a tying three pointer. That was a harbinger of things to come with an unstoppable performance in OT. That was my first court storm!

Date: November 26th, 2015.
Sport: Football
Opponent: #4 Notre Dame
Venue: Stanford Stadium
Final Score: 38-36
Headline: “The New Big Game.”

This was a sentimental victory for QB Kevin Hogan and the rest of the the football team. Konrad Ukropina kicked a game winning field goal as time expired to come from behind and beat the Fighting Irish. I might have been the first student to rush the field, but thousands of others followed in what was one of the most memorable nights in Stanford football history.

Date: August 22nd 2016.
Sport: Olympics (all)
Opponent: the world
Venue: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Final Score: 27 medals
Headline: “Stanford Olympians bring home a record 27 medals.”

Let’s just say that Katie Ledecky became the most famous Stanford student not to yet start school. The Maryland native brought five gold medals to the farm from Rio. Too bad she couldn’t put that on her college application, as she was already admitted!

Date: January 1st, 2016.
Sport: Football
Opponent: #5 Iowa
Venue: Rose Bowl
Final Score: 45-16
Headline: “Stanford annihilates Iowa in 102nd Rose Bowl with historic effort from McCaffrey.”

Stanford’s bowl tare continued into 2016, with Christian McCaffrey proving the Heisman haters wrong with a performance for the record books. The Cardinal quite literally ran the Hawkeyes out of state of California, it was that powerful a performance.

Date: December 11th, 2016.
Sport: Mens Soccer
Opponent: #2 Wake Forest
Venue: Houston, Texas
Final Score: 5-4 (penalties)
Headline: “Stanford wins College Cup championship in penalty kicks.”

Stanford has now won two consecutive national titles for the first time in program history. Led by senior Foster Langsdorf, the team looks to achieve an unprecedented 3rd consecutive title this fall.
With all that glory in the past, here are the top sporting events to look forward this year:

  1. Big Game
    Stanford, Cal, Football, Thanksgiving break, a great time to beat our bitter rivals for an eighth consecutive year.
  2. Women’s Basketball Domination.Stanford looks to return to a second consecutive Final Four. It’s team is stronger and ready to play, returning to Maples Pavilion soon.
  3. Winter Olympics. The Winter Olympics kick off in South Korea this February. Stanford athletes will once again be a part of the most prestigious athletic competition in the world. If 2016 is any indicator, Stanford might out medal many small countries.
  4. Another December run for Men’s soccer. The two time defending champs look to return to winning ways at Colgan Stadium. The team has lost only twice this season and is in a good position to make a run at the Pac-12, and national title.
  5. Men’s Basketball return to March Madness. It’s been a long four years since Stanford last graced the hardwood of college basketball’s preeminent tournament. With improvements and new recruits, Stanford could be well positioned for a run at the Pac-12 title as well as a return to March Madness.

What other traditions have been most impactful in your Stanford career, and what sporting events are you most looking forward to this year!?

By Michael Spelfogel

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