For third time in the past four seasons, Stanford has won the Pac-12 Conference Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.
The Cardinal secured the 2013 crown Saturday evening at the King County Aquatic Center by holding off second-place USC, which trailed Stanford by only eight points heading into the final day of competition in Federal Way, Wash.
USC fell short of its come-from-behind upset with 1,418.5 second-place points. Cal (1,333.5) was third and Arizona (1,128.5) was fourth among the nine scoring teams.
Stanford earned silver in a pair of races and posted a clean 400 free relay to end the meet for 1,439.5 overall points, giving the Cardinal its 19th league crown and first under head coach Greg Meehan. Meehan was handed the reins of the Cardinal program last fall.
"Our team really stepped up today when the championship was on the line," Meehan said. "Our seniors were awesome both today and all week long. We are excited to continue this journey in three weeks at the NCAA Championships."
The Cardinal now eyes a bigger piece of hardware when it heads to Indianapolis for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships (March 21-23).
Andie Taylor's fourth-place showing in the 1,650 free (16:13.82) got things rolling for the Cardinal.
Maya DiRado clocked her third individual NCAA 'A' cut with a 1:51.65 in the 200 back for second place. Earlier in the meet, DiRado swam to NCAA 'A' cuts in the 200 and 400 individual medley.
Stanford's Maddy Schaefer, who was second in the 50 free, took silver honors in the 100 edition with an NCAA 'A' cut 47.85. Andi Murez could not have been any closer behind Schaefer after touching second in 47.86. Gunn High grad Rachael Acker of Cal was fourth in 48.41.
Stanford's Katie Olsen (2:12.18) was eighth in the 200 breast and Taylor went 1:58.74 in the 200 fly for seventh, while Palo Alto High grad Jasmine Tosky of USC finished third in the fly in 1:55.49.
Lillian Hinrichs was Stanford's highest finisher off the platform, as her 249.15 earned sixth-place points. Kelly Markle (199.30) was 12th and Alexandra Clay (193.05) was 14th overall.
Holding a 19-point lead heading into the final relay, Stanford closed the door on the competition with another NCAA 'A' cut in 3:12.63. Schaefer, DiRado and Felicia Lee swam the first three legs with Murez anchoring the Cardinal to third in the final Pac-12 swim of the senior's career.
Acker swam second on Cal's winning 400 relay (3:12.37) while Tosky swam third on USC's fourth-place squad.
Stanford's Kristian Ipsen fell short of taking his third title in as many days with a second-place finish in the platform event Saturday during the 2013 Pac-12 Conference Men's Diving Championships.
Ipsen won the 1- and 3-meter events earlier in the week at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.
Ipsen was fourth after the prelims with a 344.80, over 50 points behind first-place Harrison Jones (395.10) of Arizona State.
The sophomore roared back with a 398.40 in the finals, falling just 1.50 points short of first-place Rafael Quintero. The Arizona diver outlasted Ipsen with a 399.90.
Stanford received a 10th-place finish from Noah Garcia (270.60). Taylor Sishc (261.20) was 11th and Connor Kuremsky (241.00) was 13th overall.
The swimming portion of the championships begins Sunday.
The 15th-ranked Cardinal run-ruled Cal State Fullerton (14-1 in five innings) and topped Northwestern 5-2, Saturday, at the Easton Invitational in Fullerton. The Cardinal now stands at 14-5 overall, while the Titans fall to 8-10 and the Wildcats to 8-9.
Senior pitcher Teagan Gerhart earned the win against Cal State Fullerton, allowing just one run on two hits with a strikeout. She is now 7-3 overall this season. Jasmine Antunez took the loss for the Titans, dropping to 5-6.
Freshman pitcher Kesley Stevens improved to 9-2, racking up nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work. Gerhart entered the game in the seventh to notch her second save of the year. Northwestern's Amy Letourneau falls to 5-5.
The Cardinal captured a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning against Cal State Fullerton. Freshman first baseman Kayla Bonstrom led off the inning with a walk. Sophomore catcher Erin Ashby then roped her third home run of the season to left field.
The Titans answered in the bottom of the second, cutting the lead to 2-1. Third baseman Eliza Crawford led off the inning with a solo shot to left field.
Stanford carried it offensive momentum into the third inning, pushing its lead to 6-1 and tacked on three more runs in the fourth to go up 9-1.
Against Northwestern, the Cardinal scored five runs on two hits in the bottom of the second inning.
Stanford cruised past No. 9 California, 6-1, on Saturday afternoon at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium in the latest chapter of the competitive Bay Area rivalry series.
Bouncing back from a 4-2 loss at No. 4 Florida six days ago, Stanford (5-2, 0-0 Pac-12) responded with a solid all-around performance while notching its second win over a top-20 foe this year.
Stanford has now won seven in a row against California (5-4, 0-0 Pac-12) dating to April 18, 2009.
Saturday's contest represented the first of six consecutive home matches for the Cardinal. Additionally, Saturday's result will not factor into the conference standings, as the April 19 rematch in Berkeley will serve as the Pac-12 counting match.
Tied through two matches in doubles, Stanford locked up a 1-0 lead when the No. 2 duo of Stacey Tan and Ellen Tsay put away Cal's Kelly Chui and Klara Fabikova 8-4. Stanford has captured the doubles point in all but one match this year.
The Cardinal quickly jumped ahead 3-0 following convincing victories at the top of the lineup. Kristie Ahn defeated Lynn Chi 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 2 spot before Nicole Gibbs easily handled Anett Schutting 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 1 position.
That left four matches on court, with Krista Hardebeck and Ellen Tsay the likely candidates to provide the clincher.
Hardebeck ultimately secured the match with her team-leading 17th victory of the year, taking down Fabikova 6-3, 7-5 in a battle of talented freshmen at No. 3.
Tsay followed shortly after with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph on court five, while Tan prevailed in a gritty three-setter at No. 4.
Track and field
The Stanford Outdoor Opener was low-key, but Rebecca Hammar and Elaine Patten provided their best performances to highlight the track and field event Saturday at Cobb Track & Angell Field.
Hammar, a sophomore, threw the discus a personal record 171-10 to move into No. 7 on Stanford's all-time outdoor performance list.
And senior high jumper Elaine Patten cleared 5-8 3/4 to earn her collegiate best and move into a tie for No. 10 on Stanford's all-time list.
Hammar and Patten joined Geoffrey Tabor (men's discus) and Lucas Rowley (hammer) among Stanford winners in the five-school non-scoring meet. Stanford, Cal, Fresno State, UC Davis, and USF brought athletes to the meet.
A night after competing in the shot put at the UW Final Qualifier indoor meet, Tabor made his season discus debut with a throw of 182-6 in his main event. Rowley, a sophomore making his collegiate debut, won the hammer throw at 182-11.
Brian Cook had 24 kills, including five in the fifth set, to lead No. 4 Stanford to a 25-17, 20-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-13 victory over No. 5 Pepperdine in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action at Maples Pavilion on Saturday night.
Stanford (11-6 overall, 8-6 MPSF) rode Cook over the final two sets. The junior from Santa Cruz had 13 kills and a .667 hitting percentage in that span and hit .476 overall.
As a team, the Cardinal hit a strong .349 while extending its Maples winning streak to 12, doing so in front of a crowd of 1,109. Stanford also extended its home winning streak against the Waves (9-6, 9-6) to six.
Steven Irvin had 17 kills, Grant Delgado had 12 often-spectacular digs, and freshman setter James Shaw had 56 assists for the Cardinal, which next plays USC on Saturday night at 7 at Maples Pavilion.
Women's water polo
Six Cardinal players scored twice to lead a balanced attack Saturday in second-ranked Stanford's 16-3 MPSF water polo win over visiting CSU Bakersfield.
Cory Dodson, Annika Dries, Kaitlyn Lo, Melissa Seidemann, Maggie Steffens and Anna Yelizarova all found the back of the cage twice as Stanford (13-1, 1-0 MPSF) got back into the win column after suffering its first setback last Sunday against USC.
Catherine Carpenter, Kaley Dodson, Melena Masson and Rachel Johnson each added a goal, while on the other end of the pool goalies Gabby Stone and Menlo-Atherton grad Emily Dorst held the Roadrunners to just three goals. Stone got the start, playing the first and third periods and making five saves while Dorst made three saves over the second and fourth periods.
Stanford junior Bret Baumbach captured the 165-pound title as Stanford finished fifth overall (103.5 points) at the 2013 Pac-12 Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz.
Baumbach becomes the 15th conference champion in school history. He posted a 4-1 decision over Boise State's Holden Packard in the semifinals and a 7-1 decision over top-seeded Seth Thomas of Oregon State in the final.
Baumbach, a native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, is now 22-10 and receives an automatic berth into the 2013 NCAA Championships, held this year in Des Moines, Iowa.
Redshirt freshman Evan Silver was the runner-up for the Cardinal at 125 pounds. He defeated Oregon State's Joey Palmer, 8-3, in the semifinal. Silver fell to top-seeded Tyler Iwamura of CSU Bakersfield, 6-2, in the finals. He is now 25-13 this season.
Junior heavyweight Dan Scherer took fourth for Stanford and receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships for the first time in his career. He fell to fourth-ranked Chad Hanke of Oregon State in the first round, 5-1. Scherer captured a 2-0 decision over CSU Bakersfield's Sammy Cervantes in the consolation round before falling 4-2 to No. 16 Levi Cooper of Arizona State in the second tiebreaker.
Also finishing fourth for Stanford was sophomore Alex Manley (133 pounds), senior Timmy Boone (149 pounds), junior Kyle Meyer (157 pounds) and redshirt freshman Michael Sojka (197 pounds).
The Stanford synchronized swimming team captured the Western Regional title, Saturday, with 98 team points at the Avery Aquatics Center in Stanford, Calif. The University of Arizona (84 points) finished second, while Arizona State (58 points) took third.
"I was excited to see our team compete against ASU and UofA at the Western Regional Championship today," said head coach Sara Lowe. "After weeks of endurance work and routine changes, I was anxious to see the girls perform."
The Cardinal captured first in the team, duet and trio swims, while the Arizona Splashcats won the solo. Swimming for Stanford in the team routine, scoring a 90.500, was senior Madison Crocker, senior Morgan Fuller, junior Leigh Haldeman, senior Megan Hansley, senior Mariya Koroleva, senior Michelle Moore, senior Olivia Morgan and freshman Evelyna Wang. Arizona finished second with a 75.000, while ASU was third with 72.000 points.
In the duet, Morgan and Hansley captured the title with an 89.250. Finishing second was Crocker and Fuller (89.000), while ASU's Jana Cunningham and Payton Landers were third with a 75.000.
Morgan and Hansley were joined by Fuller to place first in the trio competition with an 88.500. Crocker, Moore and Koroleva were second with an 87.500, while sophomore Anna Boyle, freshman Mina Shah and freshman Carolyn Morrice were an honorary third place trio with an 80.750. Arizona's Madeline Gustafson, Kathryn Surber and Alexandra Starrett finished in third.
"Each routine put in a strong performance today in our last competition before the Collegiate Nationals later this month," said Lowe. "This makes me feel confident our training plan is working well and we are on track to have our peak performances at the national championships."
Stanford will now have almost three weeks to prepare for the U.S. Collegiate Nationals. The Cardinal will be hosting the event at the Avery Aquatics Center, March 21-23.
After being recognized for his contributions to the Stanford men's gymnastics team as part of Senior Night, Eddie Penev did his best to ensure his final performance in Burnham Pavilion was a memorable one.
Penev did just that, claiming individual victories on floor, vault and in the all-around with scores that were not only personal season highs, but the highest of any Stanford gymnast this season.
His standout performance helped lead No. 5 Stanford (7-1) to a second place finish Saturday night in the Collegiate Challenge, trailing only the Japanese Collegiate National Team - comprised of Japan's top collegiate gymnasts - by a score of 438.850-431.200. Stanford finished ahead of No. 9 California (422.750), Arizona State (389.900) and Washington (357.700).
The victory over Cal (1-7) marked Stanford's fifth on the season and sixth consecutive dating back to the 2012 MPSF Championship Tournament on April 7.
Seniors Paul Hichwa and James Fosco were also honored in a pre-meet ceremony celebrating their commitment to the program. Hichwa had a strong night, delivering impressive performances on floor, parallel bars and high bar. Fosco, ranked 13th in the nation on rings, used the night to rest and did not compete.
Along with competing against four other teams, the competitors also had to adjust to the new "five-up, five-count" scoring format that was enacted March 1, in which each gymnasts' score would count toward his team's overall total. The previous format saw six gymnasts perform, with only five scores counting and the lowest being dropped.
Penev and Hichwa got Stanford started on floor with season-best performances. Competing in the anchor position, Penev provided the exclamation point to the Cardinal's first-place team score of 74.300, with a season-high 16.000. It is the highest score on floor by any Stanford gymnast this season.
Hichwa performed in the third slot and delivered a season-best 14.800. Sophomore Sean Senters contributed a 14.850 while classmate Michael Levy added a 14.500.
A week after posting its highest score of the season on pommel horse, Stanford had some difficulty on the event. Gabe Alvarado and Chris Turner led the way, posting 14.500s.
Stanford would get back on track on rings, paced by the emergence of freshman Dennis Zaremski. After two solid routines by Kevin Baker (14.450) and Turner (14.350), Zaremski delivered a career-best 15.350. Zaremski's score is the highest by any Stanford gymnast this season.
Performing again in the anchor position, Penev capped off the event by tying his season-high of 14.450. Stanford seemed to regain its momentum as it headed to vault, one of its strongest events.
However, the Cardinal would need to overcome a shaky start after its first competitor suffered a fall. Hichwa and Baker followed the missed routine with good performances, earning scores of 14.450 and 14.000, respectively.
That set the stage for Penev, who delivered a season-best 15.600 to claim first in the event. His score is the highest of any Cardinal gymnast on vault this season. Penev was followed by Senters who earned a 15.100.
Cameron Foreman led Stanford on parallel bars with a top team score of this own, earning a career-high 15.600. His score ranks first among Stanford gymnasts this season on parallel bars. Hichwa made his 2013 debut in the event with a solid performance, earning a 14.250.
Foreman continued to deliver in the bars events with a season-high 15.100 to pace the Cardinal. Penev contributed the second-highest Stanford score with a 14.650 and secured the all-around title with a season-best total of 88.950. Turner set a season-high with a 14.600.
Stanford will hit the road for its next meet as it heads to West Point, N.Y. to take on Army and Springfield on March 9 at 4 p.m. (PT).