The criteria are as follows:
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.
We are now releasing the 10 winners of this award, one by one. Our previously announced members of the Honor Roll are baseball's Mark Appel, field hockey's Becky Dru, swimmer David Nolan, distance runner Kathy Kroeger, diver Kristian Ipsen and tennis' Nicole Gibbs. Our seventh announced member of The Bootleg's 2012-2013 Honor Roll is water polo's Melissa Seidemann.
Women's water polo is Stanford Athletics' single strongest program right now. That's no small claim at a school with 36 varsity sports, many of them perennial national contenders. That's a bolder claim yet considering that while women's tennis won a national title, women's water polo came up just short this year, losing to USC in a quadruple-overtime NCAA Final, one of the greatest collegiate water polo games ever played.
Still, Stanford's women's water polo won the two previous national titles before their second-place finish this year. This year's squad sported three Olympians who helped Team USA to gold in London last summer (Seidemann, Annika Dries and Olympics MVP Maggie Steffens). Incredibly, the team has on its roster two winners of the Cutino (the sport's Heisman) in Dries and rising junior Kiley Neushul. It's a 1992 Dream Team or 2012 Miami Heat-esque collection of Olympic and MVP talent on the Farm. With only Seidemann graduating of the quartet mentioned, Stanford may well be favored to win next year's NCAAs, no matter what USC does. (Also graduating is goalie Kate Baldoni, the 2012 NCAA Finals MVP, alongside Jillian Garton, Alexis Lee and Victoria Kennedy.)
To put Stanford's rise in perspective, consider that the women's water polo team had won one national title in its history when Seidemann arrived on the Farm in 2008. They're at three now, couldn't have possibly come closer to four, and could well be at five or six championships by the time that Steffens, a rising sophomore, graduates. While no single person deserves all the credit (and if anyone did, it probably would be Coach John Tanner), it would be understatement to say that Melissa Seidemann leaves the program in better shape than she found it.
Seidemann caps her Stanford career with 239 goals, tied with Lauren Silver ('09) for the school record. Scoring at least 50 goals every year, Seidemann led the team in scoring for all but her junior years, when she placed second to Dries. This year, Seidemann's 75 goals shattered her previous best of 59, and included a team-high three goals when they mattered most: in that epic finale against USC.
In her four years on the Farm, Melissa Seidemann won two national titles. During that run, she took a gap year to train for the Olympics, which paid off in the form of a gold medal. It's been a ridiculously productive college career for Melissa Seidemann and a ridiculously productive run for Stanford women's water polo, and The Bootleg is proud to acknowledge both with Seidemann's spot on this year's Honor Roll.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!