Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - April 26, 2013

Cardinal women golfers look ready to host NCAA regional

by Rick Eymer

Freshman Mariah Stackhouse became the first Stanford women's golfer to earn first team All-Pac-12 Conference honors in 12 years. Imagine what she could do on a course where she feels even more comfortable.

Stackhouse, a co-leader after two rounds of the Pac-12 Championships that wrapped Wednesday at the Valencia Country Club, shot a 1-over 73 on the final day and finished with a 3-under 213.

The 11th-ranked Cardinal hopes to carry the momentum of its best conference finish since 2001 into the NCAA West Regional, which will be held on the Stanford Golf Course beginning May 9.

Stanford also saved its best for last, firing an even-par 288 to climb into a fourth-place tie with No. 6 Arizona. The Cardinal began Wednesday in seventh place. The 288 matches the fourth-best round of the season for Stanford.

Stackhouse, who won one of her two titles on her home course, was Stanford's best performer a fourth consecutive tournament and for the sixth time in nine starts overall.

"Mariah will be a much better player because of the pressure and stress she played under," Stanford coach Anne Walker said. "This won't be the last event she has a chance to win and next time she will be twice as ready."

Stackhouse recorded her eighth top-10 finish and earned a spot on the first team All-Pac-12 team. The last Stanford women golfers to receive that honor were best friends Hilary Homeyer and Stephanie Keever, both in 2001. Homeyer went on to win a U.S. Open title.

"The round was pretty steady all around," said Stackhouse, who holds a 71.7 stroke average in 25 rounds of competition. "I made the best of an off ball striking day and placed in the top three. I am more than pleased with my play this week."

Stanford's Mariko Tumangan finished tied for 14th after firing three birdies for a 2-under 70 on the final day of the conference championships. Tumangan, Lauren Kim and Sally Watson also have been Stanford's best player in a tournament this year.

Watson won the Sonoma State Invitational, playing as an individual, and has finished in the top 10 twice. Kim has also been in the top 10 twice, while Tumangan and Danielle Frasier have each appeared once.

"We have to continue to work on our attitude and fight," Walker said. "We have a lot of talent on our team but trusting that talent, letting it work and fighting to compete are characteristics we want to have ingrained before the NCAA Regional."

The NCAA championship tournament will be held on the Georgia Golf Course beginning May 21. Georgia last hosted the championship in 1993.

Meanwhile, Watson was named the Pac-12 Women's Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The senior becomes the first Stanford women's golfer to earn the honor since its inception in the 2007-08 academic year.

The award, which is presented in each of the 22 sports the conference sponsors, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes who are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline.

"I feel extremely honored to be named Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year," Watson said. "It always feels good to have your hard work on and off the course recognized."

Watson, an International Relations major, holds a 3.75 cumulative GPA. She earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 and first-team Pac-12 All-Academic as a junior in 2012, as well as being selected as a NGCA Academic All-American her sophomore and junior year. As a freshman, Watson received second-team All-Pac-10 honors and was an honorable mention All-America selection by the National Golf Coaches Association.

Men's golf

Stanford opens play in the Pac-12 Championships Monday at the Los Angeles Country Club. The tournament runs through Wednesday.

In its most recent action, the Cardinal finished third at the Western Intercollegiate and won the U.S. Intercollegiate.

Patrick Rodgers, a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award and selected to play on the United States Palmer Cup team, has won three titles, finished second once, and finished among the top 10 six times. He carries an average score of 70.5. He has shot rounds of 69 or better six times.

David Boote and Cameron Wilson have each finished among the top 10 four times this year, with Wilson finishing second at the Gifford Collegiate Championship and Boote recording a third-place finish at the Pac-12 preview, twice shooting rounds of 69.

Wilson shot a 10-under 61 during the Gifford Collegiate. Menlo School grad Patrick Grimes shot a 5-under 66 at the same tournament.

Andrew Yun and Steve Kearney have each recorded a pair of top-10 finishes. Grimes have been a steady player, with a 16th place finish and a three-day round of 217 his best of the season.

Yun's top rounds are a 65 at the U.S. Intercollegiate and a 68 at The Prestige. Kearney shot a 65 at the U.S. Intercollegiate.

Baseball

Stanford senior pitcher Mark Appel has been named one of 10 NCAA Division I baseball players selected as a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, as announced Wednesday.

The Senior CLASS Award is given to student-athletes who excel both on and off the field. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

The Houston, Texas, native has been Stanford's Friday night starter for the past three seasons. As a junior, Appel was named the NCBWA Pitcher of the Year and garnered numerous All-America accolades from the NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America.

A first team All-Pac-12 selection in 2012, Appel posted a 10-2 record and led the Pac-12 Conference with 130 strikeouts en route to being named a Golden Spikes Award finalist and a Dick Howser Trophy semifinalist.

The preseason All-American has gone 7-2 in nine starts for the Cardinal this season and boasts a 1.54 ERA and a .188 opposing batting average. Appel leads the Pac-12 with 84 strikeouts.

After being selected eighth overall in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft, Appel opted to return for his senior season at Stanford and last month earned his degree in management, science and engineering.

Appel is deeply involved in campus ministries and youth services.

The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA College World Series (June 15-26) in Omaha, Neb.

Appel is expected to be on the mound Friday night when Stanford takes on host Oregon in the first of three Pac-12 games.

The Cardinal, coming off a 17-2 romp over visiting San Jose State on Tuesday, is hitting .348 with a .629 slugging percentage over its past six games and seeks a fifth straight Pac-12 series win when it visits the Ducks.

Stanford is tied for third with UCLA in the conference standings at 9-6 with Oregon State (11-4) and Oregon (13-5) leading the pack. Stanford has yet to play any of the three teams.

Men's volleyball

Brian Cook has become the 18th player in Stanford history to be named first-team All-American.

The junior opposite hitter from Santa Cruz was joined by teammate Steven Irvin on the two 10-player All-America teams announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association on Thursday. This is the first All-America honor for either player.

The 6-foot-5 Cook ranks fourth in the nation with 4.01 kills per set while totaling 417 kills this season. Cook was a consistent performer with a total of six matches of 20-plus kills, including two season-highs of 24.

Cook becomes the eighth Stanford junior to earn first-team AVCA honors, joining Canyon Ceman (1993), Matt Fuerbringer (1996), Dave Goss (1992), Mike Lambert (1995), Brad Lawson (2011), Erik Shoji (2011), and Kawika Shoji (2009).

Irvin, a 6-5 junior outside hitter from Pacific Palisades, had 331 kills for a per set average of 3.31. In early February, he had a streak of three consecutive 20-kill performances, including a team season-high 27 kills with only four errors in 42 attempts, for a .548 hitting percentage in a five-set victory at Hawai'i on Feb. 1.

He followed with 22 kills against the Warriors the next night. Beyond his hitting, Irvin was a versatile player, leading the Cardinal in digs (183, 1.76) and aces (25, 0.24), and was second in kills.

Earlier, Cook received his first All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation first-team honor and Irvin was named to the second team. Together, they helped Stanford to a 15-13 record, a sixth-place MPSF finish, and a No. 6 AVCA ranking.

Stanford extends its streak of first-team honors to five consecutive seasons. Cook joins Lawson (2010-12), Erik Shoji (2009-12), Kawika Shoji (2009-10) on that list, totaling 10 first-team All-America honors among them.

With the additions of Cook and Irvin, Stanford's all-time All-America list now totals 25 for a program that began varsity play in 1976.

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