2011-2012 Bootleg Honor Roll: Stanford men

The Stanford women's time to shine was Monday. Now, it's time to recognize 2011-2012's top five men's athletes with the The Bootleg's special Honor Roll.

In a previous article, we revealed our thirty Honor Roll finalists for this last school year of 2011-2012. The criteria for selecting each year's 10 Honor Roll awardees are as follow:

"Each academic year, The Bootleg's Honor Roll will recognize the top ten Stanford student- athletes who have performed at an exceptional level, with athletic accomplishments that are both extraordinary and inspirational. While achieving athletic success, these athletes should also have displayed uncommon leadership, sportsmanship and respect towards their fellow teammates and opponents. Finally, these honorees' performances and actions should also demonstrate their love for their particular sport as well as their school pride, the famed "Spirit of Stanford."

We recently announced our five female awardees:

• Nnemkadi Ogwumike, basketball
• Nicole Gibbs, tennis
• Kiley Neushul, water polo
• Teresa Noyola, soccer
• Lindsay Taylor, soccer

We are now pleased to present the five male awardees named to our 2011-2012 honor roll.

• Kristian Ipsen, diving

Ipsen was on the short list to make our final cut of ten Honor Roll winners by the end of winter, when as a true freshman, he became Stanford's first male diver in 82 years to win a national title. He took home the NCAA Championship at the three-meter event, came in second at the one-meter and, despite it being his second-ever competition in the discipline, took tenth nationally on the platform. 

Then came London, where Ipsen competed in the three-meter synchro (and was within a whisker of qualifying to represent the U.S. at the three-meter individual event as well). With partner %%MATCH_4%% Dumais, Ipsen took home a bronze on the biggest stage of his sport. Projecting ahead over the next three Games, Ipsen looks to be America's best bet at fighting the Chinese stranglehold on diving hardware. Congratulations to Kristian, with a national title and an Olympic medal under his belt before the age of 20.

Andrew Luck, football

A once-in-a-lifetime talent at the premier position in college athletics' premier sport, Andrew Luck is arguably the greatest player to ever wear a Stanford football uniform. Luck twice finished the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, led Stanford to consecutive BCS bowls after a decade-plus absence, and was the most highly-regarded No. 1 NFL draft pick since Peyton Manning.

The Walter Camp Player of the Year and a two-time All-American, Luck leaves the Farm with a .816 winning percentage (31-7), 10,387 passing yards and 82 touchdown passes, all career records, and a season-record 37 touchdown passes. He holds career Pac-12 records with a 162.8 passer efficiency rating and 67 percent accuracy, and a single-season Pac-12 record of a 71.3 percent completion percentage in 2012.

Luck's personal story is similarly incredible. He was his high school's valedictorian, and that intelligence carried over into football, as Luck became the only modern-day college quarterback to call his own plays in the huddle. He shocked the world by passing up a No. 1 NFL pick to return to Stanford to complete his senior year and degree in architectural design. There is no shortage of incredible student-athletes or incredible stories at Stanford University, but we will never see another one quite like Andrew Luck.

• Eddie Penev, gymnastics

In 2012, rising senior Penev was the NCAA Champion on floor exercise and vault and became a three-time All-American. Having won the individual national title in vault his freshman year, Penev's three national crowns are second to only 1972 Olympian Steve Hug in school history. He won the Athletic Department's Outstanding Male Junior Award alongside four fellow stud athletes: baseball's %%MATCH_7%% and %%MATCH_5%%, and football's All-American candidates Stepfan Taylor and %%MATCH_6%%.

Men's gymnastics has won national titles in 2008-09 and 2010-11. With Penev leading next year's squad, Stanford could very well continue its semiannual pattern.

• Chris Derrick, track

Chris Derrick graduates from Stanford a three-time NCAA runner-up and 14-time All-American. He was one of four Stanford student-athletes to be named Phi Beta Kappa this past year, and one of four to earn an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. He was cross country's national scholar-athlete of the year, and GoStanford.com dubbed him "arguably the top athlete in Stanford's storied distance tradition and one of the most consistently great runners in NCAA history." It is no surprise, then, that Derrick shared the Donald Kennedy Award, presented to a senior for academic, athletic and community service excellence, with the final man on our list.

As a runner, Derrick was nothing if not consistent. He becomes the sixth athlete in NCAA history to place in the top-10 all four years at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. He proved durable not only across years, but also across the distances, as he holds three school records in drastically different events. His indoor 3,000 meter mark of 7:46.81 and indoor 5K time of 13:19.58 are "merely" school records, while his 10K time of 27:31.38 is also the American collegiate record.

While the demands on all Stanford student-athletes are great, distance runners are the only athletes who are in a competitive season in fall (cross country), winter (indoor track) and spring (track) quarters alike. That Derrick could achieve such consistent academic and athletic excellence every quarter in each of his four years at Stanford is nothing short of incredible.

• Nick Amuchastegui, wrestling

Amuchastegui leaves the Farm Stanford's first wrestler to make consecutive NCAA finals, and Stanford's second wrestler to earn three All-American honors. He was wrestling's Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the men's at-large Academic All-American of the Year for the second straight season, and shared the aforementioned Kennedy Award with Derrick.

In 2012, Amuchastegui was the Pac-12 Wrestler of the Year after winning the conference title in the 174-pound division. The NCAA Finals match would be the only one Amuchastegui would drop his entire senior season. Indeed, he went 15-0 in dual meets to start the season on a 24-match winning streak, the second-best such spurt in school history.

The Bootleg wishes to credit the fine folks at Go Stanford for their research and detailed write-ups, without which this series would not be possible. Most importantly, The Bootleg congratulates all ten of its 2011-2012 Honor Roll winners and wishes them the best in the years to come.

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