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Home of Champions - Voices of Champions
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 05/02/2014

Athletes rarely tell their own stories. In sports media coverage, outside perspectives interpret the actions and experiences of athletes, filtering their stories through a limited lens. At Stanford, however, our scholar-athletes assert h4 voices, on and off the field, bringing a unique perspective to the performance of scholarship and sport. A rare and exceptional group of individuals, Stanford scholar-athletes deserve to be heard.

The Voices of Champions project showcases Stanford scholar-athlete writers and artists. To do so, Voices presents a combination of first-person written narratives, profile pieces, artistic performances, and multi-media products created by Stanford scholar-athletes. These works provide a close, vivid look at the multifaceted scholar-athlete experience.

An NCAA champion and first-team All-American sings the alma mater. A writer takes us on a journey from his small neighborhood park in Texas to Stanford’s Cagan Stadium, while another traces the compelling story of the world’s best water polo player. These innovative pieces invite us to share in the struggles and celebrate the triumphs that define Stanford scholar-athletes.

Voices of Champions marks the beginning of an ongoing collaboration between the Stanford Program in Writing and Rhetoric, the Hume Writing Center, and the Department of Athletics. Throughout the year, Voices of Champions will feature a range of personal narrative essays, profile pieces, and multi-media works, all produced by Stanford scholar-athletes.

Dr. Kelly Myers
Stanford Program in Writing and Rhetoric

For more information about the Voices of Champions project, please contact Kelly Myers:


Why vs. How

by Doug Baldwin, '11, Stanford Football

You may recognize me as Doug Baldwin, number 89, a five-foot 10-inch tall wide receiver who played football at Stanford. You might remember me running over to the Stanford student section and putting my ear to the crowd before every game. You might know that I have caught 13 career touchdowns while at Stanford. Maybe ...


Almost There

by Tori Pennings, '12, Stanford Cross Country and Track

“Come on Tor. That a girl. Diggg. Five-fifty-one, five-fifty-two, comeon, five-fifty-three, four, five-fifty-five.” My dad reads off the mile splits to me from his bike. At my running pace, biking is not physically demanding, but he is still in his full workout getup. He’s wearing the Cardinal Nike dry-fit T-shirt I got him for Christmas ...


Interview with a Fan

by Chase Beeler '11, Football

As a freshman at the University of Oklahoma, I found myself confronted with an issue that appeared to have no solution.  Though I had long observed the tension that existed in my life between athletics and academics, I had managed to balance the two apparently competing facets of my personality in childhood and throughout high ...


Brenda Villa: Balance and Belief

by Kim Krueger, '11, Stanford Women's Water Polo

Women’s Water Polo player Kim Krueger draws strength and inspiration from Stanford teammate and three-time Olympian Brenda Villa, who vaulted over obstacles to seize her opportunities to shine.

Melanie Murphy, ‘10

I Got Bounce

by Melanie Murphy, ‘10, Stanford Women’s Basketball

Lyrics by Melanie “Mel” Murphy; performed by Mel and the Stanford Women’s Basketball team. In writing the lyrics, I was inspired by our team, as well as the overall success of Stanford Athletics. Although the slogan for athletics is “The Cardinal Rules,” the theme for our team in particular is “Got Bounce?” which is a play ...


The Other Kind of Championship

by Bobby Warshaw, '11, Stanford Men's Soccer

Most of the stories about Stanford athletes involve hard work and grueling hours. They are incredible accounts about persevering through adversity and performing countless hours of painful training. They are both breathtaking and true. But they leave out an important part that cannot be explained in training schedules or game scores. I want to tell ...

Stanford Athletes holding NCAA championship plaque

My Extra Step to a Championship

by Austin "Gus" Ellis, '12, Stanford Men's Volleyball

For Austin “Gus” Ellis, winning the men’s volleyball national championship was a tribute not only to he and his teammates on the court, but also to the team that helps him battle a lifelong disease.


The Sand Dunes

by Alyssa Wisdom, '13, Stanford Women's Track & Field

“The bonding my teammates and I undergo clawing up the sand dunes, bent over breathless at practice, and turning back to make sure everyone finishes the workout together as a team has formed some of the closest and h4est friendships that will no doubt last a lifetime,” says student-athlete Alyssa Wisdom.



by Christen Press '11, Stanford Women's Soccer

December 7, 2010 The tide does turn. It has before, but the feeling is somehow different this time. I watch with an eerie indifference as the clock winds down. Amid the shrill screams emanating from a sea of deep navy blue, a calm washes over me like the final wave. The thought, “This cannot be ...


Stanford: "Home" of Champions

by Kelsey Gerhart, '13, Stanford Softball

February 11, 2011 It was 7:30 in the morning. I double-checked my luggage, ensuring that my uniforms were packed and ready to make the trip to Arizona.  In a few hours I would be on my way, with the Stanford softball team, to the Kajikawa tournament, looking to start off our 2011 season with a ...

JV kid sports-featured

Vandersmash: A Man of Many Trades

by Lizzy Collins, ‘13, Stanford Women's Rowing

“I’m afraid of being boxed in, being mediocre.” Jake Vandermeer joined the Stanford men’s volleyball team as a walk-on in the fall of his sophomore year.  After he competed with the club volleyball team during his freshman year, his coaches encouraged him to try out for the varsity team, an extremely uncommon invitation.  “Nobody ...

Ashley Hansen featured image

Ashley Hansen: Focused on Home

by Jaquilyn Edwards, ‘13, Stanford Softball

Her eyes glint with fierce determination as she crouches poised and alert. Glove at the ready, she inches forward slowly. One step, then another. Her body is tense, ready to react, yet at the same time completely graceful. Effortless movement. Whack! The yellow softball jumps off the bat and flies across the ground. She springs ...


Building a Dream

by Clayton Holz, '12 Stanford Men's Soccer

A childhood remembered with parents as coach, teacher, driver, motivator, champion, cheerleader, friend: ‘It’s been one hell of a journey.”


All-Around: The Stanford Scholar-Gymnast

by Tenaya West, '10, Stanford Women's Gymnastics

In her video, gymnast Tenaya West celebrates the life of the scholar-athlete and the spirit of community that teammates take with them throughout their lives.


Hail, Stanford, Hail

by Brad Lawson, '12, Stanford Men's Volleyball

With his rendition of the Stanford Hymn, “Hail, Stanford, Hail,” men’s volleyball standout Brad Lawson displays a passion beyond the court or classroom in the music studio.


David Banks: The American Dream

by Donny Simkin, '07, Stanford Men's Rowing

An associate head coach for men’s rowing recalls the drive and determination that carried Stanford teammate David Banks from walk-on collegiate rower to U.S. Olympian.


Allyse Ishino: The Sunrise after a Stormy Night

by Jenny Peter '12, Women's Gymnastics

Her petite figure stands in front of me at 5 feet 1 inch tall. She resembles both a dancer and a gymnast with her toned arms, small waist, tight muscles and smooth lines. “You ready, SWG?” she asks, giving us a side smile that exudes confidence. “Let’s get it.” Again, she says it with the ...


Katherine Kuchenbecker: Science and Sport

by Cassidy Lichtman, '11, Stanford Women's Volleyball

Reflecting on the Stanford and professional careers of a former student-athlete, Cassidy Lichtman says the same characteristics and skills that translate to success on the court or the field might just be the ones that help athletes succeed in the classroom and in life.





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