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Jumbo Athletics finishes seventh in final 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings
softball players congratulate the pitcher
Tufts softball helped propel the university to a strong finish in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup. Pitcher Allyson Fournier, E15, is greeted at the mound after striking out a batter in Tufts’ 3-0 win over Wesleyan on April 28. Photo: Kelvin Ma
June 12, 2012

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After a strong spring season that saw four national top-10 finishes by Tufts teams, the Jumbo Athletics program placed seventh in the final 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings for Division III.

“Finishing seventh in the Director’s Cup, out of more than 450 Division III institutions, is a credit to our tremendous student-athletes and outstanding staff,” says Bill Gehling, director of athletics. “They obviously have been achieving great competitive success, but just as important, they also represent Tufts with dignity and class. I’m proud to be associated with them.”

The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 18 NCAA sports, nine women’s and nine men’s. The Jumbos finished with a total of 724.75 points in the three seasons, just behind sixth-place Emory  with 727 points.

This is the fourth top 10 finish in the Directors’ Cup for the Tufts varsity athletics program. The program finished in sixth place for 2009-10 and was 10th overall for 2008-09. The Jumbos were sixth in the 2005-06 Directors’ Cup, which matched 2009-10’s effort as the best ever. Tufts was 16th in 2007 and 16th again in 2008. Last year (2010-11), the Jumbos ranked 25th in the standings.

Tufts placed 24th following the fall season, scoring 147 points as the men’s and women’s cross country and volleyball teams made NCAA appearances. In the winter, Tufts nearly doubled that total as the women’s basketball, men’s swimming and diving, women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams accumulated 286 points. The Jumbo total of 433 through the fall and winter seasons was good for 10th place.

The spring season was even better than the winter, with Tufts teams accumulating 291.75 points. Coach Mike Daly’s men’s lacrosse team played into the NCAA semi-finals and earned 83 points for its third-place finish. Softball, led by coach Cheryl Milligan, was one of eight teams to reach the NCAA Championship Finals and scored 78 points with a fifth-place finish. Coach Kristen Morwick’s women’s outdoor track and field team had a 10th-place showing at the NCAA meet, adding 66.75 points to the Tufts total. The women’s tennis team, coached by Kate Bayard, scored 64 ninth-place points.

In the winter, Morwick’s women’s track and field team placed ninth at the NCAA Indoor Championship meet, scoring 69 points. The women’s basketball team, coached by Carla Berube, reached the round of 16 and totaled 64 points. Coach Ethan Barron’s men’s track and field Jumbos added 57 points to the total with a 17th-place finish at the nationals. The men’s swimming and diving team, coached by Adam Hoyt, came in 23rd at the NCAAs, scoring 51 points. Coach Nancy Bigelow’s women’s swimming and diving team scored 45 points with their 28th place NCAA finish.

For the fall, Barron’s men’s cross country squad was the top Tufts scorer with 63 points for ninth place at the NCAA race. Coach Cora Thompson’s volleyball team earned credit for a 17th-place finish and 50 points. Morwick, whose teams scored in all three seasons, saw her women’s cross country team place 20th at the NCAA Championship for 34 points.

Paul Sweeney, Tufts’ sports information director, can be reached at paul.sweeney@tufts.edu.

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