Stanford junior Nicole Gibbs successfully opened defense of her singles crown on Wednesday afternoon, defeating Yang Pang of Arkansas, 7-5, 6-4, in the opening round of the NCAA Singles Championship in Urbana, Ill.
Gibbs is bidding to become Stanford's first repeat champion since Amber Liu in 2003-04.
"I'm definitely not feeling 100 percent yet," said Gibbs. "I was talking to (head coach) Lele (Forood) on the changeovers, and I'm just waiting for that second wind to kick in for this tournament. Yesterday and really the entire week have been incredibly emotional, and bouncing back from that has been a challenge, but it's one I'm up for."
Stanford won the NCAA team title on Tuesday night, its first such crown since 2010.
Cardinal freshman Krista Hardebeck also advanced to the second round, outlasting Auburn's Pleun Burgmans, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Much like her victories over Georgia and Florida in the team competition, Hardebeck dropped her first set before rallying for the win.
Meanwhile, Kristie Ahn was knocked out of the tournament by Kansas State's Petra Niedermayerova 6-2, 6-1. Ahn provided the clinching point in Stanford's 4-3 win over Texas A&M in the finals.
Thursday signals the start of doubles play, with Stanford fielding teams of Ahn/Gibbs and Stacey Tan/Ellen Tsay.
On the men's side, Stanford's John Morrissey was beaten by fourth-seeded Anthony Rossi of Kentucky, 7-5, 6-1.
Stanford senior All-American pitcher Mark Appel was named the Pac-12 Conference Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, as announced Wednesday.
The award, which is presented in each of the 22 sports sponsored by the league, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes who are standouts both academically and in their athletic discipline.
Appel, who hails from Houston, Texas, and has been the club's Friday night starter for the past three seasons, also has been named a semifinalist for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's Dick Howser Trophy and found a spot on the midseason watch list for the Diamond Sports Pitcher of the Year Award presented by the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Appel was named the NCBWA Pitcher of the Year and garnered numerous All-America accolades from the NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America in 2012. The preseason All-American has gone 8-4 in 12 starts for the Cardinal this season and boasts a 1.97 ERA and a .201 opposing batting average.
Appel leads the Pac-12 and ranks fourth in the NCAA with 110 strikeouts and is a top contender for a number of postseason awards, including the Golden Spikes Award. Appel is one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, given annually to the player who best exemplifies excellence in four core areas: community, classroom, character and competition.
After being selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, Appel opted to return for his senior season at Stanford. In March, Appel earned his degree in management, science and engineering.
He was a Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention performer as a junior in 2012 and as a sophomore in 2011.
In order to be eligible for the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, student-athletes must be a senior (in athletics eligibility) on track to receive a degree, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, participate in at least 50 percent of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution.
Each Pac-12 institution may nominate one individual per sport, and the winners are selected by a committee of Pac-12 staff members at the conclusion of each sport's regular season. The athletic accomplishments of the nominees are a considered in the voting for the award.
Stanford posted an even-par 288 to move into a tie for fifth after the second round of the NCAA D1 Women's Golf Championships on Wednesday at the University of Georgia Golf Course.
After yesterday's 290, the No. 10 (Golfweek) Cardinal came back two strokes back and moved up two spots, tying with No. 7 Purdue (289-289) at two-over 578 overall.
No. 1 USC (284-276), who opened at a tie for first, became the lone leader on the 24-team field at 560 (-16). No. 2 Alabama (288-284) took second with 572, while No. 3 Duke (286-289) checked in third at 575. In the fourth spot was No. 6 UCLA (289-287).
Freshman Mariah Stackhouse shot a four-under-par 68 for the team's low of the day and moved into fifth at 140 (-4) on the individual leaderboard.
"There was no doubt there that she was going to have a low round today," said Anne Walker, Stanford's Margot and Mitch Milias Director of Women's Golf. "I felt like she was motivated before the round. In looking at some of the scores, she saw that there were some low numbers out there and I think she went out with that mentality. Mariah is a player who plays with a number in her head. Before she tees off, she sets a number that she thinks will put her in the hunt."
Stackhouse, who opened with a 72, made five birdies and a single bogey today. The Riverdale, Ga., native teed off the 10th hole for a birdie and went three under at the turn after birdies on 16 and 18. Through the back, she birdied the second but followed with a bogey on the third. Another birdie on the seventh capped a solid round.
For Mariko Tumangan, who shared the first-round low score of 71 with Lauren Kim, this round comprised of 16 pars. Tumangan birdied the 10th and bogeyed the fourth for a 72, tying for 16th at 143 (-1) overall.
As with Kim, 16 pars marked her round, plus bogeys on the third and fifth holes that pushed her three strokes back for a 75. The freshman is tied for 29th at 146.
On her last hole and two last putts, the horn blew warning of lightning. After more than an hour delay, Kim went back on the course to par the ninth.
Going three strokes better, Sally Watson fired a 73. At the turn she was three over, but she came back with birdies on the second and fourth holes to return one over, moving into a tie for 60th at 149.
Rounding out the lineup is Danielle Frasier (84-76) who finished eight strokes better. The junior tied for 123rd at 160.