2005-06 Honor Roll: KC Corkery

Stanford Athletics events on campus were memorable once again in 2005-06, but this spring finished with a very special dual-hosting of the men's and women's NCAA tennis championships. Those two weeks in May, we watched a fantastic flourish to finish the senior season and Cardinal career of KC Corkery, fighting injury and top opponents. We announce him today as our 10th and final Honor Roll winner.

In the Summer Issue of The Bootleg Magazine, we released the 30 finalists for The Bootleg Honor Roll award for the 2005/2006 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 months of August and September, we are releasing the 10 winners of this prestigious award, one by one.  We previously have recognized Peter Varellas, Tabitha Yim, Ben Wildman-Tobriner, David Sender, Arianna Lambie, Laura Shane, Chris Minaker, Alice Barnes and Candice Wiggins amongst this year's winners.  Our 10th and final announced member of the The Bootleg's 2005-06 Honor Roll is men's tennis performer KC Corkery.

Here at The Bootleg, we bend over backwards to make sure our Honor Roll does not transform into a career achievement award, but instead recognizes the 10 most gripping athletic and personal performances of the year.  While KC Corkery makes our list for his 2005-06 season alone, any discussion of the 26th four-time All-American in collegiate tennis history would be remiss without revisiting the milestone accomplishments of his Stanford career.

And what a career it was.  Corkery was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Stanford Freshman Athlete of the Year in 2002-03 and, with Sam Warburg, the NCAA Doubles Champion in 2004 and Semifinalist in 2005.  Corkery also excelled on the singles court, where he went 105-26 over his Stanford career, including a 32-6 mark his senior season.

Mere statistics can only take you so far toward understanding Corkery's senior season, however, as he was the team's captain, the team's heart.  And under his leadership, Stanford shrugged off heavy losses from the season before to exceed expectations.  Corkery did so despite a back injury that plagued him much of the year, which makes his fight, leadership and on-court success particularly at the end of the year all the more valiant and praiseworthy.

First, the Stanford squad went 6-1 in the Pac-10, capped by a dominant 5-2 victory over Cal, to snag a share of the league title.  Then, Stanford opened the NCAA Tournament with three straight easy victories (including wins over #20 Cal and #4 Duke by 4-0 margins) in front of its home fans, setting the stage for a dramatic quarterfinal tilt with #5 Baylor.

After rain stripped the Cardinal of its home-court advantage, moving play from Taube to an indoor facility in San Francisco, Stanford responded from a loss at doubles to pull within one point of advancing to the NCAA semifinals with three straight singles victories.  Highlighting them all was Corkery's gut-check 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 win against Lars Poerschke, the fourth-ranked player in the nation, at the top singles spot.  Unfortunately, while Corkery brought his team within inches of advancing, his teammates could not finish the job, dropping three narrow matches to lose 4-3 in heartbreaking fashion.  But, like any true champion, Corkery performed at his best when the stakes were highest, and for that alone he belongs on this list.

Corkery had to quickly recover from his team's loss for NCAA Singles Championship play, where he punctuated his career with a flourish.  He advanced all the way to the semifinals before dropping a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 decision to Virginia's Somdev Devvarman.  Along the way, he notched big wins over #7-ranked Arnau Brugues and #15-ranked Arnaud Lecloerec, both with impressive ease.

Corkery, a Manhattan Beach, Calif. native, left the Farm this June with a Communications degree, but Stanford fans will be talking about his performances for years to come.

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