Cal Athletics: The Bears' All-Sport Elite Athletes in the 2010's - The Decade's Dozen

Cal quarterback Jared Goff, right, celebrates the 2015 Armed Forces Bowl victory.Photo courtesy of Cal Athletics

Jeff Faraudo

The decade of the 2010s began with Cal’s first men’s basketball conference title in a half-century and ended with a flamboyant linebacker leading the nation in tackles and the Bears to a bowl victory.

In between, Cal athletes excelled on a wide range of platforms, both while representing the university and in their post-collegiate careers.

Choosing just 12 elite performers as Cal’s best athletes of the 2010 decade was not easy. Although we have detailed their achievements after college, they were judged primarily on what they did while competing for the Golden Bears. As a result, an athlete such as Jaylen Brown, who is blossoming as an NBA star but had a less distinguished Cal career, did not make the cut.

Here are the best we found over 10 years, arranged alphabetically, followed by an honorable mention list. If we left anyone out, we expect to hear from you.

THE DECADE’S DOZEN

Nathan Adrian won 11 NCAA titles in freestyle sprints and relays.
Nathan Adrian won 11 NCAA swim titles for Cal..Photo by Rob Schumacher, USA Today

— Nathan Adrian, Swimming: Won 11 NCAA titles, including five in freestyle sprints and six relays . Still owns Cal’s school records in the 50 and 100 free and the 200 and 400 free relays. Helped Cal to 2011 NCAA team title. Beyond Cal: Has won 32 medals in major international competitions, including the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Has four Olympic gold medals, one silver and two bronze.

Kristine Anigwe was National Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.
Kristine Anigwe was National Defensive Player of the Year.Photo courtesy of Cal Athletics

— Kristine Anigwe, Basketball: Named the 2019 Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team AP All-American. She was a Naismith National Player of the Year finalist after finishing 2nd in Pac-12 scoring at 22.5 points while leading NCAA in rebounding at 16.2 per game. She set a Pac-12 records last year for single-season rebounds (533) and single-game rebounds (30), and scored a school-record 50 points vs. Sacramento State as sophomore (tied for second all-time in Pac-12). Anigwe was the first Cal women’s player named to the All-Pac-12 first team four times. Beyond Cal: Was the No. 8 pick of the WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun.

— Valerie Arioto, Softball: A two-time All-American (2010 and ’12) and the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2012, Arioto set a Cal record with 23 home runs in 2012 while assembling a .912 slugging percentage. She holds Cal career records with 222 runs scored and 431 total bases, and is second all-time with 54 home runs and 186 RBI. Beyond Cal: A star for USA Softball, she led the national team to gold medals at the 2016 and ’18 World Championships, batting .611 at the former.

Luca Cupido was a 4-time All-American for Cal.
Luca Cupido, right, was a 4-time All-American at Cal.Photo by Daniels Powers, USA Today

Luca Cupido, Water polo: Winner of the 2017 Peter J. Cutino Award as college water polo’s national player of the year. Cupido was a four-time All-American and led Cal to the 2016 NCAA championship. Beyond Cal: Played on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.

Missy Franklin was a 7-time NCAA champion for Cal.
Missy Franklin won seven NCAA titles for Cal.Photo by Erich Schlegel, USA Today

— Missy Franklin, Swimming: 2015 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year and CSCAA Swimmer of the Year. Honda Sports Award winner in 2015. Was a 7-time NCAA champion in 2014 and 2015 (5 of them in 2015). Led Cal to winning the 2015 NCAA team title. Beyond Cal: Five Olympic gold medals and one bronze - won 4 golds and a bronze in 2012 and one relay gold in 2016.

— Jared Goff, Football: Earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors as a junior in 2015 after passing for 4,714 yards and 43 touchdowns. Set Cal career records with 12,195 yards and 96 TDs. Beyond Cal: Was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, and led the Los Angeles Rams to the 2019 Super Bowl.

— Jolene Henderson, Softball: A two-time All-American (2011-12), Henderson pitched 4 no-hitters and was a three-time All-Pac-12 first team selection. Henderson was the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year in 2011 and 2012;. She had school-record totals of 40 pitching wins in 2011 and 130 for her career. Beyond Cal: She plays professionally with the USSSA Pride, for whom she was 10-0 with an 0.40 earned run average in 2018.

Alex Morgan, right, duels for the ball during the 2019 World Cup.
Alex Morgan led Cal in goals for 4 straight seasons.Photo by Michael Chow, USA Today

— Alex Morgan, soccer: All-America honors as a senior in 2010 and twice was a first-team all-conference selection. Led Cal to the NCAA tournament her final two seasons. Scored 45 goals in her four years with the Bears, leading the team each season. Recorded five hat tricks for Cal. Beyond Cal: Has played professionally in the U.S. and France since 2011 and has played on the U.S. national team over that same span. She played for the 2012 and ’16 Olympic gold medal squads and won World Cup titles in 2015 and ’19. Morgan has scored 107 international goals and has appeared on the covers of Time and Sports Illustrated.

Ryan Murphy won 12 NCAA individual and relay titles for Cal.
Ryan Murphy won 12 NCAA individual and relay titles.Photo by Stan Szeto, USA Today

— Ryan Murphy, Swimming: Set NCAA records in the 100-yard backstroke (43.49) and 200-yard backstroke (1:35.73) to win both events at the 2016 NCAA championships. Won 12 NCAA titles - 8 individual (4 in 100 back 4 in 200 back) and 4 relays. Set a world record while winning a gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke (51.85). Led Cal to 2014 NCAA team title. Beyond Cal: Three-time Olympic gold medalist at the 2016 Games and world record-holder in the 100-meter backstroke.

Jerome Randle helped lead Cal to its first conference title in 50 years.
Jerome Randle is Cal's career scoring leader.Photo courtesy of Cal Athletics

— Jerome Randle, Basketball: Led Cal to the 2010 Pac-10 championship, the program’s first conference title since the days of Pete Newell 50 years earlier. Set Cal’s career record with 1,835 points. Also dished 524 assists - third-most school history. Was a 2-time All-Pac-12 pick and the Pac-10 Player of the Year as a senior. Beyond Cal: Continues to enjoy a successful pro career in Europe and Australia.

Andrew Vaughn won the 2018 Golden Spikes Award.
Andrew Vaughn was the 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner.Photo by Robert Edwards

— Andrew Vaughn, Baseball: The right-handed first baseman was the 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner as college baseball’s best player and a two-time first-team All-American. In 2018 as a sophomore, Vaughn batted .402 with 23 home runs and 63 RBI. He finished his Cal career with a three-year batting average of .374 batting, along with 50 home runs and 163 RBI. Beyond Cal: Taken No. 3 overall in the 2019 Major League baseball draft pick by the Chicago White Sox.

Evan Weaver led the nation in tackles in 2019.
Senior Evan Weaver led the nation in tackles this season.Photo by Al Sermeno, KLC fotos

— Evan Weaver, Football: A consensus All-American choice at linebacker in 2019 and the NCAA leader in tackles with a school-record 173, just 12 shy of the all-time FBS record. Weaver was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Butkus Award. He led Cal to consecutive bowl berths.

HONORABLE MENTION

Keenan Allen, football

Dora Antal, water polo

Danny Barrett, rugby

Steve Birnbaum, soccer

Brittany Boyd, basketball

Layshia Clarendon, basketball

Allen Crabbe, basketball

Reshanda Gray, basketball

Jorge Gutierrez, basketball

Mychal Kendricks, football

Collin Morikawa, golf

Mike Morrison, track & field

Ivan Rabb, basketball

Camryn Rogers, track & field

Tom Shields, swimming

Abbey Weitzeil, swimming

Comments (2)
No. 1-2
Gobears
Gobears

I’d put Thomas Robles, rugby, won 2 nat champs i think and was all American at least once

parkermikel
parkermikel

Id place a vote for Max Homa, Golf. Won 2013 NCAA men’s championship, leader on team that wins 2013 NCAA stroke play and part of the most successful golf team in Cal history. Winning member of Walker Cup and 2019 Wells Fargo Championship.

The 2013 golf team should definitely be near the top of the Cal teams of the decade.


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