Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - April 4, 2014

Stanford roundup: Lee wins swimming's top award

Cardinal tennis teams take on UCLA and USC in a crucial weekend

Stanford senior Felicia Lee was named the Honda Sports Award winner for swimming & diving on Thursday. With the honor, Lee becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2014 Honda Cup.

The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies "the best of the best in collegiate athletics." Lee was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Lee's teammate and Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year Maya DiRado, Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin (California), Olympian Breeja Larson (Texas A&M) and Brittany MacLean (Georgia).

"I'm truly honored to be receiving the Honda Sports Award this year," said Lee. "It has been a special year for Stanford swimming and diving and it's important to recognize that it's not really just an award for me; it's for my coaches, my teammates, my parents, and everyone who has helped me along the way to get here. I couldn't be more thrilled to have been able to represent Stanford and win the award for my school."

Head coach Greg Meehan, whose Stanford program produced two finalists for the first time since 2010, echoed Lee.

"We are honored that we had two members of the program nominated for the award this year in Maya DiRado and Felicia Lee, along with the other three outstanding candidates," said the second-year head coach. "We're thrilled that Felicia is being awarded the Honda Award and grateful to the administrators for recognizing the incredible work that Felicia did this year."

Lee (Wayne, N.J./Towson HS (Md.)) earned seven All-America honors at the 2014 NCAA championships while capturing five NCAA titles. She finished first in the 100 fly and with relay teams in the 200 and 400 free and the 200 and 400 medley. Her effort in the 400 medley relay helped the Cardinal to an American record.

Women's tennis

In what is quickly shaping up as the most important weekend on the Pac-12 women's tennis schedule, the Bay Area schools are scheduled to host the Southern California schools in critical dual matches.

For No. 4 Stanford, that means visits to The Farm from No. 3 UCLA (17-1) on Friday at 1:30 p.m. and No. 13 USC (14-4) on Saturday at noon, weather permitting. No. 12 California hosts the same schools on opposite days.

All four schools enter the upcoming weekend with a 5-0 conference record, providing a golden opportunity for any team that can emerge with a sweep. Picking up valuable head-to-head tiebreakers will provide an inside track to the Pac-12 regular-season title, which has either been won outright or shared by either Stanford, UCLA or USC over the last 16 years.

Stanford will bring a 13-0 record into the weekend. The Cardinal has notched eight shutouts and boasts quality victories over nationally ranked teams such as Texas, Rice, Florida, California and Arizona State.

Stanford has won 19 consecutive matches dating to last year's NCAA championship run, in which the Cardinal closed out the postseason with six wins in a row.

Men's tennis

Stanford (9-2, 2-0 Pac-12) has won six in a row, its longest winning streak since a 13-match stretch that spanned from March-May back in 2011. The Cardinal's most recent victory, Tuesday's rain-shortened 4-0 shutout of No. 22 Boise State, is the type of signature win that, along with a 4-2 win over No. 36 Washington in late January, will greatly enhance a postseason resume.

But the road gets a little tougher this weekend, with Stanford traveling to Southern California for matchups against No. 2 USC (Friday at 1:30 p.m.) and No. 3 UCLA (Saturday at 1 p.m.). Both squads are 2-0 in conference play while the Trojans are 20-2 overall and Bruins 15-2.

Track and field

More than 3,300 athletes, including entrants from 114 four-year college programs, will converge on Cobb Track and Angell Field on Friday and Saturday for the 39th Stanford Track and Field Invitational. Action begins Friday with field events at 9 a.m. The final running event starts at 10:38 p.m. On Saturday, field events start at 9 a.m., with running events at 10 a.m.

Wrestling

Redshirt freshman 165-pounder Jim Wilson has been tabbed the Pac-12 Wrestling Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, the conference announced Thursday.

Wilson finished his rookie year with a 35-8 overall record, tying former Stanford NCAA champion Matt Gentry for the second-most wins by a freshman in program history. He qualified for the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City, where he went 2-2 as the No. 16 seed at 165 pounds.

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