2004-05 Honor Roll: Ogonna Nnamani

Sometimes we surprise you with our final winners of The Bootleg's Honor Roll. Sometimes there is a choice so obvious that it obviates all mystery. The latter is the case for Ogonna Nnamani, who for the last several years has been the queen of college volleyball. Her greatest legacy, perhaps, was created her senior season, when she carried the Cardinal to the 2004 national title.

In the Summer Issue of The Bootleg Magazine, we released the 30 finalists for The Bootleg Honor Roll award for the 2004/2005 school-year.

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 as their school pride, the famed “Spirit of Stanford.”

During the month of August, we will be releasing the 10 winners of this prestigious award, one by one.  We previously have recognized Tony Azevedo, Alice Barnes, Nicole Barnhart, Caroline Bruce, Gary Marshall and Erica McLain amongst this year's winners.  Our seventh announced member of the The Bootleg's 2004-05 Honor Roll is women's volleyball performer Ogonna Nnamani.

Two-time national champion in volleyball.  Four-time All-American.  The collegiate woman athlete of the year.  A future medical doctor.  No, that's not that script for one of those cheesy "the NCAA cares about its student-athletes" spots; that's just the last four years in the life of outside hitter Ogonna Nnamani.

Entering her senior year, Nnamani had already encountered plenty of success.  High school saw the two-time state champion from Normal, Illinois named both the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year and class valedictorian.  Freshman year at Stanford, Nnamani was so influential in leading the Cardinal squad to the NCAA title that she earned her first AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) All-American honors.  She starred on the 2004 U.S. Women's Olympic team at Athens and was within striking distance of several school records.  However, with Stanford falling short of the national title both her sophomore and junior seasons, Nnamani still had one chapter left to add to her legacy.

This fall, after a solid, but not spectacular regular season, Stanford Volleyball caught on fire at just the right time.  The senior outside hitter sparked that fire by saving her biggest performances for her biggest games.  Her 62 kills in the national semifinals and finals set an NCAA record, and her .562 kill percentage in the NCAA Finals surely contributed to her being named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

When the dust cleared after Stanford's straight-set sweep of Minnesota, Nnamani finished with a conference-record 823 kills on the season, an NCAA-Tournament-record 145 kills in the 2004 postseason, and her fourth All-American award.  Most importantly though, Nnamani brought yet another national title to the Farm.

After the season, Nnamani won the Honda-Broderick Cup, awarded to the collegiate woman athlete of the year.  Off the court, the Human Biology major graduated in June. She's well-along her way to becoming a medical doctor, her lifelong dream.

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