By Cybele Zhang
This article is the first in a two-part series on the 2019-20 Athlete of the Year bracket. Click here to view the next article, which breaks down the No. 3-16 seeds.
The Stanford Daily’s Sports Twitter published a bracket and corresponding polls in search of the top Stanford athlete of the 2019-20 season.
The interactive voting system features 64 Cardinal athletes, half from women’s teams and half from men’s teams. The finalists were selected by writers and editors from the sports section.
Each poll is open for 24 hours, and the athlete receiving the most votes will move on to the next round until only one athlete remains.
The bracket includes nearly all Stanford teams. Excluded, however, are sailing, lightweight rowing and men’s rowing — which are not NCAA sanctioned — and synchronized swimming and women’s rowing. Many of these sports have an inherent group nature that makes it difficult to differentiate and recognize just one athlete.
Listed below is a voting guide of seeds No. 1 and 2, which notes the methodology behind why each athlete was selected. The subsequent seeds will be broken down in a subsequent article.
No. 1 Ben Hallock (men’s water polo)
Hallock represented the United States at the 2016 Olympics and is expected to join the national team again in Tokyo. The redshirt junior was also integral to Stanford’s NCAA championship run, leading the team in scoring with 73 goals on the season.
No. 1 Kathryn Plummer (women’s volleyball)
Despite missing much of the season to injury, Plummer was integral to Stanford’s dominant NCAA championship tournament play and ultimate title. The senior outside hitter and reigning Sullivan Award winner, put up a team-high 492 points this season.
No. 1 Brody Malone (men’s gymnastics)
Although his season was cut short, Malone is arguably the top-collegiate gymnast and was recently named MPSF Gymnast of the Year. The sophomore is also a three-time NCAA All-American (all-around, parallel bars, vault) and has a spot on the senior U.S. national team.
No. 1 Catarina Macario (women’s soccer)
The reigning MAC Hermann Trophy winner was key to the Cardinal’s NCAA title victory and scored a team-high 32 goals over the season. The junior forward also boasted 23 assists and was a constant threat on the field, opening up countless opportunities for teammates to score.
No. 2 Grant Shoults (men’s swimming)
The senior led Stanford to a third place finish at Pac-12’s, earning the third Pac-12 title of his career and the 12th-fastest time in the country this season in the 500-yard freestyle.
No. 2 Jenna Gray (women’s volleyball)
Along with Plummer, senior setter Gray also had a phenomenal year that ended with the NCAA title. She started as setter for every game and put up 1395 assists. She also competes in javelin for track and field.
No. 2 Shane Griffith (wrestling)
The redshirt freshman was the first Stanford athlete to win both Pac-12 Wrestler of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in single season. On top of that, he was also named a WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy Finalist.
No. 2 Morgan Hentz (women’s volleyball)
Holding down things defensively for the national championship volleyball team was senior libero Hentz, who recorded 603 digs this season. She averaged 5.03 digs per game, while adding 151 assists.
Click here to view the next article, which breaks down the No. 3-16 seeds.
Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu.