Student-athlete Sam Wopat dies at 19

March 26, 2012, 5:35 p.m.

The Stanford community mourns the loss of sophomore student-athlete Samantha “Sam” Wopat, who died Sunday, March 25, at Stanford Hospital, surrounded by family, friends and teammates. Wopat, a member of the women’s volleyball team, died after a weeklong battle in the intensive care unit of Stanford Hospital. She was hospitalized Saturday, March 17, following a medical emergency in her campus residence, the University announced Monday.

Student-athlete Sam Wopat dies at 19
The Stanford community mourns the loss of sophomore student-athlete Sam Wopat. (Courtesy of Stanford Athletics)


“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sam Wopat,” said Bob Bowlsby, the Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics at Stanford in a University statement. “She was an integral member of the Stanford Athletics family and a tremendous student and athlete. On behalf of our administration, coaches and students I extend my condolences to Sam’s siblings, parents, relatives and friends. Stanford University and the Women’s Volleyball program have lost a wonderful young woman.”


Samantha Alohilani Wopat was born on Oct. 13, 1992 in Santa Barbara. She graduated in 2010 from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, Calif., where she lettered in volleyball, track and field and basketball. She and her twin sister, Carly, also a member of the Stanford women’s volleyball team,  were both named the 2010 Dos Pueblos High School Top Female Athlete.


In an October interview with The Daily, Wopat spoke about majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing.


Wopat joined the Stanford women’s volleyball team in 2010 and excelled as an outside hitter. She appeared in 25 sets as a sophomore and averaged 1.16 kills per set. She saw action in 11 sets as a freshman and registered a .571 season hitting percentage.


Wopat’s athletic successes began well before she enrolled at Stanford. She was a member of Junior Olympic teams in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2009 she was a member of the U.S. Youth National Team that competed at the World Championships and in 2010 she competed on the 2010 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team. In 2010 she helped the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club win the 2010 Southern California Junior National Qualifier.


As a high-school senior, Wopat led her team in kills and aces and helped win the CIF Division 1A Southern California title. In 2009, she was named a PrepVolleyball High School All-American and a Volleyball Magazine Second Team All-American. PrepVolleyball’s Senior Aces rankings listed her as one of the nation’s top volleyball players.


Wopat is survived by her parents, Ron and Kathy Wopat of Santa Barbara, Calif.; her twin sister, Carly Wopat ‘14, also a member of the Stanford women’s volleyball team; and two younger brothers, Jackson and Eli.


The Daily will update this post with information about memorials for Wopat as it becomes available.


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