Heading toward the determination of the winner of the 2013-14 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, gostanford.com will provide a progression of each of Stanford’s 19 consecutive victories. Here is the 17th, in 2010-11:
Directors' Cup No. 17 (2010-11) | 2010-11 Season In Photos
Nothing embodied Stanford’s sustained excellence in athletics as much as what that number represented: 100 NCAA team championships.
The first was achieved on a dusty Chicago oval, at the 1925 track and field championships. The 100th also was achieved in the Midwest, this time in Columbus, Ohio, at the men’s gymnastics finals.
On April 15, 2011, Cardinal gymnastics scored 363.450 points to defeat second-place Oklahoma handily, and to earn the right to unveil the No. 100 banner. The women’s water polo team took it a step further, winning No. 101.
In the process, Stanford wrapped up its 17th consecutive Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, scoring a record 1,550.25 points. Sixteen Stanford teams finished among the Top 10 in NCAA sports (not including a second consecutive IRA women’s lightweight rowing title), including 10 inside the top five.
The most notable achievement came not from an NCAA championship team, but from a football program that rose from 1-11 to 12-1 in four years. The Cardinal, behind the feats of junior quarterback Andrew Luck, among an increasingly great collection of talent, reached the Orange Bowl and completed its best season since 1940 by routing Virginia Tech, 40-12.
Luck, in his second season as a starter, began to grow a legend. As if his passing accomplishments weren’t enough, he fumble-causing hit on a USC defensive back his collision into a Cal defender on a downfield run looped endlessly on the nation’s sports highlight shows.
Another legend developed as well, that of two-way starter Owen Marecic. The fullback-linebacker was called “the perfect football player,” by coach Jim Harbaugh and lived up to that compliment with his exploits on both offense and defense.
Against Notre Dame, Marecic scored on offense and defense only 13 seconds apart, first on a one-yard run and then, on Notre Dame’s next play from scrimmage, on an interception return. In those 13 seconds, Stanford’s lead grew from 19-6 to 34-6 during Stanford’s first victory at Notre Dame since 1992.
The Orange Bowl victory unleashed a level of joy that had been building for years. When the team reached the hotel after the game, coach Jim Harbaugh stood at the entrance of each team bus as it rolled in, congratulating every player and coach and staff member, with a hug, handshake or slap on the back, as they stepped off.
The players walked off the bus and into a tunnel of fans who had made the cross-country trip. Their cheering and yelling could be heard all the way to South Beach.
It was during that trip, that the football team took a break from its preparation, to watch basketball. On national television, the Stanford women were locked in a battle of their own, against No. 1 Connecticut and its’ record 90-game winning streak.
Jeanette Pohlen scored a career-high 31 points, hitting five three-pointers, to lead the Cardinal to a 71-59 victory, UConn’s first loss since a 2008 NCAA final at the hands of the Cardinal. The season ended in the NCAA semifinals, with a 63-62 loss to Texas A&M, completing a 33-3 season.
A day later, coach Tara Van Derveer, was elected into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
Nick Amuchastegui didn’t carry the same name cache as, say, Luck or basketball All-America Nnemkadi Ugwumike. But Amuchastegui, an All-America wrestler, was one of those great Stanford stories nonetheless.
"Wrestling," Amuchastegui said, "Is one of the sports where if you are willing to try harder than anybody else, putting in more training and wanting to win more than the other person, there is a difference that significantly plays into the outcome of the match."
In Talent, Ore., a town up against the Siskiyou Mountains in the southern end of the Rogue Valley, Amuchastegui grew up fishing, hunting, and baling hay. His parents taught him to be physically and mentally strong.
Amuchastegui, who carried a 3.98 GPA, became the second Stanford wrestler ever to reach an NCAA final and led the Cardinal to its best NCAA finish, of 11th place.
"My dad used to always tell me what his grandma used to tell him and he would say, `I don't care if you end up being a ditch digger so long as you become the best ditch digger there ever was,'" Amuchastegui said. "`Dig the deepest, straightest ditches and I'll be the happiest dad in the world.'"
Christen Press followed the feat of former teammate Kelley O’Hara by winning the Hermann Trophy as the best women’s soccer player in the country. Press led the nation’s women’s soccer players in goals (26) and points (60) while helping the Cardinal reach the College Cup final and a 23-1-2 record. Her 26 goals tied the school's single-season scoring record, set in 2009 by O'Hara.
Press left as the most prolific scorer in Stanford history, establishing the career record in goals (71), assists (41) and points (183). She earned Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year and NSCAA first-team All-America honors, and was a first-team Academic All-American and the Pac-10's Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
And, she was a winner. Stanford had an impressive 67-0-1 record when Press had a goal or assist during her collegiate career.
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More highlights from 2010-11:
• Englishwoman Senior Xanthe Travlos earned her second consecutive All-America honor. She also was a four-time All-West Region pick while leading the Cardinal to its 10th NCAA appearance.
• Lindsay Burdette and Hilary Barte teamed to win the NCAA women’s tennis doubles crown.
• Elliott Heath unleashed a blazing kick over the final lap to win the NCAA 3,000-mter title.
• Maria Koroleva and Olivia Morgan teamed to win the duet at synchronized swimming’s U.S. Collegiate championships.
• Austin Staab won his second NCAA 100-yard butterfly tittle, and added another men’s swimming crown by winning the 200 individual medley.
• Lauren Schmidt earned All-America honors after leading Stanford to its second NCAA women's lacrosse tournament and a ranking that was as high as No. 6, the team's highest ever.
• Alix Klineman was named national Player of the Year by Volleyball Magazine and became the second player in school history to exceed 2,000 kills.
The Final Count:
1) Stanford, 1,550.25
2) Ohio State, 1,277.05
3) California, 1,219.50
4) Florida, 1,212.25
5) Duke, 1,171.50
Stanford’s Top Scoring Teams:
1 (tie), Men’s gymnastics, women’s water polo, 100 points each; 3 (tie), women’s soccer, women’s rowing, 90 each; 5, women’s swimming and diving, 85.
Directors' Cup No. 1: 1994-95
Directors' Cup No. 2: 1995-96
Directors' Cup No. 3: 1996-97
Directors' Cup No. 4: 1997-98
Directors' Cup No. 5: 1998-99
Directors' Cup No. 6: 1999-2000
Directors' Cup No. 7: 2000-01
Directors' Cup No. 8: 2001-02
Directors' Cup No. 9: 2002-03
Directors' Cup No. 10: 2003-04
Directors' Cup No. 11: 2004-05
Directors' Cup No. 12: 2005-06