2004-05 Honor Roll: Michael Robertson

When SMU shut down their track & field program following the 2004 season, Stanford was blessed with the transfer of discus thrower Michael Robertson. Immediately elligible to throw in his junior season, the Arkansas native delivered the Cardinal an historic NCAA individual title which had not been found on The Farm for decades.

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, Erica McLain and Ogonna Nnamani amongst this year's winners.  Our eighth announced member of the The Bootleg's 2004-05 Honor Roll is men's track & field performer Michael Robertson.

Lyndon Johnson was President and the Beatles ruled the day the last time Stanford won the NCAA title in discus.  At the 2005 NCAA Championships in Sacramento, junior transfer Michael Robertson's discus didn't just slice through over 200 feet of air.  A mighty throw ended a 40-year drought in Stanford track history.

Robertson captured the national crown when his toss of 202-5 beat India's 2004 Olympian and North Carolina student Vikas Gowda by over five feet.  Robertson's winning distance equaled the school record and personal best he set earlier in the season.  Robertson's performance also had an impact on the team standings, as Stanford's eighth NCAA discus champion, but the first since 1965, led the Cardinal to a seventh-place overall finish.

Robertson's NCAA victory followed an entire season of sustained excellence.  Just before the NCAA Championships, his effort of 201-0 won the NCAA West Track & Field Regionals by over ten feet.  Perhaps the extent to which Robertson has distanced himself from his opponents was best demonstrated at the Pac-10 Championships.  Though Robertson threw just 192-7, nearly 10 feet off his PR, he still claimed Stanford's first conference discus championship in 40 years.

Robertson became the NCAA Champion by continually improving throughout the course of the season.  Consider the Mt. SAC Relays and the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, just two days apart.  One of Robertson's initial tosses on the weekend set a personal best, but the thrower had just begun.  By the time the weekend ended, Robertson had set an unbelievable five PRs and was named the Pac-10 Athlete of the Week for his remarkable demonstration of sustained improvement.

Stanford is the latest successful stop for Robertson, who is majoring in Economics on the Farm.  He was a two-time All-American and placed third at the 2004 NCAA Championships while enrolled at Southern Methodist University.  However, the Mustangs dropped their men's track & field program after the conclusion of that 2004 season, so Robertson was immediately eligible to compete when he transferred to Stanford.  Before attending SMU, the Beebe, Arkansas native was a four-time high school state champion and the 2002 U.S. Junior National champion.

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