Winter Sports Roundup

While football recruits may be getting the lion's share of attention here at The Bootleg in recent days, we don't want to forget about any of Stanford's nationally-renown winter sports. You might not have been following every swim meet or men's volleyball match these past two months, so we have the solution for you: a CliffNotes version of what Stanford teams have been up to this winter. Enjoy!

A good number of the Stanford athletes mentioned below will end up on our annual list of 30 Honor Roll finalists, to be released in May, and 10 Honor Roll winners, to be released in June. Stay ahead of the curve -- read up now to know who we're talking about.

Sports You Might Know

Men's Basketball – 20-14, 6-12 Pac-10, loss in CBI Semifinals
Women's Basketball – 33-4, 17-1 Pac-10, loss in NCAA Final Four

Winter Sports You Might Not Know

Men's Gymnastics -- If you're looking for Stanford's first NCAA Championship of the year, tonight might well be your night. The Card, No. 1 in the country, finished first in their qualifying group yesterday, with No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Cal second and third respectively. All three qualify for tonight's NCAA Finals. Sophomore Josh Dixon won two events yesterday – vault and floor – while sophomore Tim Gentry won the individual event crown in still rings. As a team, the Card finished first in four of six events yesterday, so tonight, Minneapolis could well be the site of something special.

Women's Gymnastics -- In marked contrast, their season ended in disappointment last night, with the Cardinal just missing out on qualifying for their third-straight NCAA Finals. While six total teams qualify, Stanford's group could send only three, and the Card finished 0.15 points behind second-place Florida and 0.075 points behind third-place LSU to end up in the one spot they didn't want to be – fourth. Nicole Ourada and Carly Janiga earned All-American status with their performances on uneven bars, and will compete for an individual NCAA Championship.

Squash -- The Card finished seventh of the eight teams at the Howe Cup, squash's national championship, matching their best performance in the East Coast-dominated sport, set last year. The Card lost 8-1 to Harvard and 6-3 to Cornell, before downing Williams 7-2 in the 7/8 match.

Men's Swimming -- Stanford took third to champion (and men's superpower) Auburn and runner-up Texas in last month's NCAA Finals. Austin Staab won an individual title in the 100 fly and took sixth in the 100 free, Bobby Bollier took fourth in the 200 fly, and defending 200-breast NCAA Champion Paul Kornfeld broke a school record in the NCAA final, but settled for third.

Synchro Swimming -- Stanford football might have beat out Ohio State, among others, for recent WR commit Tai-ler Jones, but the Buckeye synchro swimmers had their day too. Ohio State, Stanford's archrival in the sport, broke the Card's four-year streak of national titles at the NCAA Championship at the end of March, winning 98-80.

Women's Swimming -- The women finished fourth at the NCAA Championships at Texas A&M, beating out Texas in the final day's final 400-free relay to finish in the top-four for the third straight year, and bring home the associated trophy. The Card also took home three individual titles – Julia Smit won the 200 and 400 IM, and Elaine Breeden, also a junior, won the 200 butterfly.

Men's Volleyball -- The men have bounced back from some truly grim times in recent years, as they're 20-9 overall, 13-7 in the MPSF, and No. 5 in the nation. They've been a pleasant surprise thus far, led by junior All-American setter Kawika Shoji. Alas, however, the Cinderella ride looks like it might come to a close soon. The Card aren't going to earn an autobid into the NCAA Tournament, so they're going to need to win the MPSF – the nation's toughest league -- to qualify. USC, UC-Irvine, Pepperdine and UCLA are among the teams standing between Stanford and an MPSF crown, so the Card have their work cut out for them.

Wrestling -- Perhaps still reeling from former Coach Kerry McCoy's departure, the squad finished just seventh at Pac-10 Championships and 8-13-1 overall. Senior Luke Fiest and redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui qualified for and competed in the individual NCAA Championships, but failed to make a serious run at the podium.

Women's Water Polo -- If men's gymnastics doesn't pull through tonight, this squad figures to represent Stanford's best remaining shot at a national title. The Card are No. 1 in the nation at 22-1 overall and 6-0 in the MPSF, with a visit to No. 2 USC (19-1, 6-0 MPSF) looming tomorrow. Win or lose, the Card figure to see the Trojans again in next weekend's MPSF Championship in Honolulu, and, quite possibly, NCAA Championships the week after.

Bonus: Spring Sports Sneak Peek

Women's golf is ranked 21st in the country, with Pac-10 Championships coming up April 24.

Men's golf is ranked 6th in the country, with Pac-10 Championships starting April 27.

Continuing to look ahead to spring sports, women's lacrosse is 9-3, 6-0 in conference, and ranked 14th in the country. The MSPF doesn't automatically qualify for the 16-team NCAA Tournament field, so the women will have to stay hot if they hope to earn an at-large bid and compete for a national title – they're right on the cutline today.

Softball has just started Pac-10 play and is No. 2 in the country, 36-4 overall and 6-3 in the league. They're setting themselves up for a great NCAA seed. In the past, highly-ranked (albeit not this highly ranked) Stanford softball teams have underperformed in the NCAA Tournament (think men's basketball), so the question will be if the Card can keep their momentum going for another month or two.

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