Heading toward the determination of the winner of the 2013-14 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, gostanford.com has provided a progression of each of Stanford’s 19 consecutive victories. Here is the 19th, in 2012-13:
Directors' Cup No. 19 (2012-13) | 2012-13 Season In Photos
NEVER HAD THE competition for the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup been any closer. And thanks to a gutsy performance by freshman Krista Hardebeck, it remained in Stanford’s hands for a 19th consecutive year.
With Stanford and Florida tied, 3-3, in the NCAA women's tennis team semifinals, Hardebeck rallied to a 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory at No. 3 singles to give Stanford the victory. Stanford would go on to win the title with another dramatic triumph, this time by Kristie Ahn against Texas A&M in the final.
However, it was the 14-point point swing (according to the Directors' Cup scoring system) against Florida from Hardebeck’s result that would prove to be the difference in Stanford’s Directors’ Cup victory, regardless of whether the Cardinal went on to beat A&M.
Stanford clinched the victory by capturing sixth in women's track and field, thanks largely to Kori Carter’s first- and second-place finishes in the hurdles races, to give Stanford 72.75 Directors’ Cup points.
Stanford finished with 1,261.25 points to 1,244.75 for runner-up Florida in the closest margin (16.5 points) in the 20 years of the Directors’ Cup. The closest previous margin was 111 over Michigan in 2003-04.
The women’s tennis title also extended Stanford’s streak of NCAA team championships to 37 consecutive academic years, an ongoing record.
At Stanford, a Rose Bowl victory is the ultimate measure of football success. And, for the first time in 41 years, the Cardinal claimed victory there as well, beating Wisconsin, 20-14. There were many great stories of individuals who helped the Cardinal on its road to Pasadena, but one of the most compelling was that of kicker Jordan Williamson.
Williamson did not run away from his failure. He missed three field goals in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, including a potential winner in the final seconds and another for the lead in overtime. Yet, he used that adversity to make himself better.
It was not easy. Williamson sobbed in the locker room after the game – a 41-38 loss to Oklahoma State and had to come to grips with it emotionally. But Williamson found that his teammates never blamed him for the loss. In fact, they supported him unshakably. Their response moved Williamson’s mother, Linda Burton, to thank the families of his teammates.
As described by Elliott Almond of the San Jose Mercury News, her message said in part: "While our family has learned many powerful life lessons over the last few days, one key message that has come clear like no other is 'WE ARE IN A SPECIAL PLACE.' Never in my life have I seen the kindness, maturity, and love that has been displayed by this Stanford family and in particular your AMAZING boys."
Their faith in Williamson was well placed. He kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime to beat then-No. 1 Oregon on the road and helped send Stanford to its first Rose Bowl since the 1999 season.
The road victory stunned the nation and turned the BCS standings upside down. However, it was no stunner to Stanford (12-2), which advanced to its third consecutive BCS bowl.
The Cardinal won that one too. Stepfan Taylor rushed for 89 yards and scored a touchdown in the Rose Bowl to increase his career totals to school records of 4,300 yards and 45 touchdowns.
Usua Amanam, a Bay Area native, clinched the victory with an interception with 2:30 left. Amanam’s father was a self-made man who grew up in a mud hut in Nigeria and received a formal education only after his extended family and village raised enough money for him to do so.
Usua not only won Rose Bowl Defensive MVP honors, but co-termed in energy resources engineering and will earn his masters at this month’s commencement ceremony.
* * *
More highlights from 2012-13:
• Kori Carter set a collegiate record to win the 400-meter hurdles, and was second in the 100 hurdles, to lead Stanford’s women’s track and field team to sixth place at the NCAA Championships.
• Nicole Gibbs won her second consecutive women’s singles title in tennis.
• Alexander Massialas won an NCAA title in men’s foil and helped the Cardinal fencing team to eighth place.
• David Nolan won the 100-yard backstroke and the 200 individual medley at the NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships.
• Fresh from winning an Olympic bronze medal in the synchronized 3-meter springboard in London, Kristian Ipsen won NCAA titles in the 1- and 3-meter events.
• The Stanford women’s lightweight rowing team reached its third consecutive IRA national title.
• The Cardinal field hockey team won its fifth NorPac title in six years and advanced to the NCAA tournament before losing to No. 1 North Carolina, 4-1, in the first round.
• Stanford unveiled its 36th varsity sport, sand volleyball.
The Final Count:
1) Stanford, 1,261.25
2) Florida, 1,244.75
3) UCLA, 1,227.25
4) Michigan, 1,138.25
5) Texas A&M, 1,131.5
Stanford’s Top Scoring Teams:
1, Women’s tennis, 100 points; 2, women’s water polo, 90; 3 (tie), women’s cross country, men’s gymnastics, 85 each; 5, women’s soccer, 83.
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
Directors' Cup No. 13: 2006-07
Directors' Cup No. 14: 2007-08
Directors' Cup No. 15: 2008-09
Directors' Cup No. 16: 2009-10
Directors' Cup No. 17: 2010-11
Directors' Cup No. 18: 2011-12