08-09 Honor Roll No. 9: Missy Penna

The Bootleg has previously announced swimmer Julia Smit, volleyball's Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo, gymnastics' Sho Nakamori, basketball's Jayne Appel, distance runner Chris Derrick, baseball's Drew Storen and football and baseball star Toby Gerhart as 2008/09 Honor Roll winners. Our ninth announced member of The Bootleg's 2007-08 Honor Roll is softball's Missy Penna.

In a May 29 article, we released the 30 finalists for The Bootleg Honor Roll award for the 2008/2009 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 June and July, we are releasing the 10 winners of this prestigious award, one by one. The Bootleg has previously announced swimmer Julia Smit, volleyball's Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo, gymnastics' Sho Nakamori, basketball's Jayne Appel, distance runner Chris Derrick, baseball's Drew Storen and football and baseball star Toby Gerhart as 2008/09 Honor Roll winners. Our ninth announced member of The Bootleg's 2007-08 Honor Roll is softball's Missy Penna.

Many an athlete wonder what to do when their careers end. Some turn to family, some to hobbies they never had time for before. Some find it harder to let go, clinging for too long to what once was.

At the end of her Stanford career, though, the next logical step for Missy Penna was easy: just sit back and clear room in the cupboard for all the awards.

Penna racked up no shortage of accolades her senior year. She finished Stanford's fifth First Team All-American (alongside Alissa Haber, Jessica Mendoza, Dana Sorensen and Sarah Beeson) and, with a 3.49 GPA in civil engineering, Stanford's second Academic All-American. (Beeson was the first.) Penna was also Stanford's first 2009 USA Softball National Player of the Year finalist, and she was a four-time All Pac-10 nominee.

Penna was on the mound as the Card completed its first-ever sweep of the Arizona schools. For her effort, Penna earned a sweep of her own – winning both the NFCA and USA Softball National Player of the Week awards. Earlier this past season, 18 scoreless innings against Washington, the eventual national championos, made Penna the first Cardinal to sweep those national awards. We suppose sweeping the Arizona schools made her the first Cardinal to sweep those national awards twice.

Notice we haven't gotten to the numbers yet. (And in contrast to cross-country, as we pointed out at the time, softball has no shortage of statistics.) Penna graduates atop Stanford's record book in strikeouts (1,267), shutouts (50), wins (119), no-hitters (5) and innings pitched (1,086.1). She is Stanford's first player with three 300-strikeout seasons and first to crack 1,200 strikeouts, and she is the 14th-winningest pitcher in NCAA history.

Fittingly, Penna's senior season was one of her finest. She went 35-8 with a 1.64 ERA, notching 364 strikeouts, a school-record 18 shutouts -- and a streak of 53 straight innings without allowing an earned run! Penna went the distance in 40 of the 44 games she started, racking up 294.1 innings in the process and holding opponents to a .188 average. In the process, Penna earned five Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week awards in 2009, tying the league record.

Penna also had a Feb. 7 no-hitter against Kansas, and a one-hitter in a victory over Arizona hinted at above. The victory against Arizona, by the way, was Penna's last regular season home game for Stanford. Can't say she doesn't have a sense of timing.

Sometimes the story speaks for itself and all any additional narrative can do is clutter. Such is the case with Missy Penna. For four years, as the numbers powerfully attest, Penna dominated collegiate softball, and elevated Stanford's program in the softball hierarchy. The Bootleg congratulates her on her career and wishes her all the best in whatever comes next.


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