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CGB Hall of Fame: (8) Caitlin Leverenz vs. (9) Hardy Nickerson, Sr.

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Our doubleheader continues as an Olympic medalist takes on one of the best linebackers in Cal history.

Streeter Lecka

(8) Caitlin Leverenz

Cal Athletics: Bears in London - Caitlin Leverenz (via calathletics)

NorCalNick gives us some info:

Let’s start with the obvious achievement: Caitlin Leverenz is an Olympic medalist already, winning a bronze in the 200m Individual Medley. Cal athletes win plenty of medals, but it’s still pretty rare to win one when you’re still enrolled as a student. And to get a medal in an event that is essentially measuring how well-rounded you are as a swimmer? Even cooler!

But in a way, her collegiate accomplishments seem somehow more impressive. At the 2011 NCAA championships she swam in five events and placed 5th, 4th, 3rd, 1st (relay) and 1st (relay). In 2012, she again swam in five events (3 individual, 2 relays), and this time she recorded four wins and one 2nd place finish . . . and that 2nd place finish was an American record. And Cal won national titles both years.

2013 wasn’t quite as illustrious as 2012, but Leverenz again competed in five events and finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd and 6th. 15 NCAA championship races, and finishing 6th or higher every time. That’s a level of versatility and endurance rarely seen, and I have no doubt the Bears will miss her next year.


(9) Hardy Nickerson, Sr.

From the Cal Hall of Fame writeup:

For three straight seasons from 1983-85, Nickerson led the Golden Bears in tackles and was voted the team's Most Valuable Player. A first team All-Pac-10 selection as a senior, he reeled off tackle totals of 141 in 1984, 167 in 1985 and 132 in 1986. His 167 stops as a junior remains a Cal single season record, while his 501 career tackles rank second behind David Ortega's 525 in school history.

He went on to play in the NFL for 16 years (primarily for the Steelers and Bucs), where he was a five-time pro bowler, and was named to the 1990s all-decade second team. He is now a coach at Bishop O'Dowd, where his twins (boy/girl) go to school. I am hoping to see him on the Cal staff sometime soon.

Nickerson's son, Hardy Jr., is a highly touted linebacker whom Cal is recruiting. (Ed note: Since this was written Hardy Jr is indeed a Golden Bear and is expected to be a force in the linebacker corps for the next few years)

The elder Nickerson was a member of the 1986 Cal team, which defeated heavily favored Stanfurd 17-11 in one of the biggest upsets in Big Game history. The 1986 Big Game was Joe Kapp's last game as Cal coach.

And of course he now roots on Junior as HN Jr. seeks to fill some very large shoes at the same linebacker position.