At the conclusion of another season of Stanford athletics, The Daily’s sports staff took a look at the freshmen among the student-athletes that had the biggest impacts on their teams and/or their sports through just the first seasons of their careers.
10. Mikey Diekroeger, baseball
Before a left shoulder injury ended his season early, Mikey Diekroeger took off where his two older brothers left off and emerged as one of the best bats in a very young Stanford lineup. The third baseman ranked second on the team with a .315 batting average and added 1 home run and 15 RBIs prior to his injury sustained while playing Utah.
9. Shannon Aubert, women’s golf
As the only player on the list who had a part in a team national championship, Shannon Aubert has a lot to be proud of. Aubert won all three of her matches in the match play component of the NCAA Tournament, including a much needed 4-and-3 win in the finals that paved the way for senior Mariah Stackhouse’s dramatic title-clinching victory.
8. Christian McCaffrey, football
Emerging from a crowded backfield to help fill the shoes of 1,700-yard running back Tyler Gaffney, Christian McCaffrey cemented his status as an anchor of the Cardinal offense moving forward and is one of the most hyped players in the conference for 2015. The back and punt returner tallied 796 all-purpose yards and 2 receiving touchdowns and is primed to play a huge role for the team in the remaining years of his career.
7. Corey Baird, men’s soccer
During a season in which Stanford jumped 18 spots in the rankings and won a Pac-12 title, Corey Baird proved to be a clutch asset for the team. Baird tallied 4 goals and 4 assists on the season, highlighted by a two-goal performance in Stanford’s 2-2 tie with No. 1 UCLA.
6. Kaylee Johnson, women’s basketball
Forward Kaylee Johnson established herself as a presence down low for Tara VanDerveer’s team, leading the team in rebounds (344) and blocks (51). Johnson also shot a 52-percent clip from the field and was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.
5. Kelly Myers, women’s lacrosse
Kelly Myers proved to be a crucial part of the Stanford women’s lacrosse team’s season, starting in 16 of the team’s 17 regular season games. Six of Myers’ 28 goals in the season came in a clutch performance in one of the biggest games of the year, as the Cardinal defeated Colorado to clinch the MPSF championship. The midfielder also set a program record for most draw controls in a single game by pulling in 10 against Vanderbilt.
4. Harrison Williams, track and field
Harrison Williams brought a series of talents to the Stanford track and field team in his first season, evidenced by his success in the decathlon. During Pac-12 championships last month, Williams broke a 63-year-old school record held by two-time Olympic gold medalist Bob Mathias with a score of 7,679 in the event, scoring second overall in a competition dominated by upperclassmen.
3. Tom Fawcett, men’s tennis
As the No. 26 men’s singles player in the nation, Tom Fawcett came to Stanford and established himself as a Court 1 regular right away. Fawcett posted a 26-12 singles record on the season, as well as a 20-6 doubles record. Fawcett also captured the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships title in October and was named to the Pac-12 First Team.
2. Elizabeth Price, women’s gymnastics
The Stanford women’s gymnastics team, which ranked 11th before the NCAA Tournament, surprised many by reaching the Super Six. Elizabeth Price was the team’s MVP in the Tournament, scoring above 9.900 in all four events. The 2012 U.S. Olympic alternate and former world No. 1 didn’t stop there, however, and she captured the individual vault title by posting a 9.9333 just two days later.
1. Simone Manuel, swimming
Simone Manuel made quite a splash as a freestyle specialist, winning four titles at NCAA Championships in the 50 free, 100 free, 400 free relay and 400 medley relay. Along the way, she set school records at all four events plus the 200 free, with her time in the 100 free giving her the American record in the event. The seven-time All American won honors as the Pac-12 Swimming Freshman of the Year and figures to be one of the country’s strongest over the next few years.