Tops in Sports
Boosted by the national championship men’s soccer team and runner-up NCAA appearances by the field hockey and women’s basketball teams, Tufts varsity athletics program finished a best-ever third in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Division III standings for 2016-17.
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 NCAA finish in up to 18 sports—nine women’s and nine men’s. This marks Tufts’ fifth straight year in the top ten and ninth overall. (See the final report [PDF].)
The Jumbos finished with 926.75 points, behind second-place Washington University-St. Louis (1227) and first-place Williams College (1335.25). Five fall teams scored 365.50 points for the Jumbos this academic year. In the winter, the Jumbos had six teams add 333.50 points, and 227.75 points in the spring came from five different teams.
In the fall, the Jumbos got points from head coach Josh Shapiro’s national championship men’s soccer squad. Head coach Tina McDavitt-Mattera’s field hockey team fell in a double overtime thriller that went to penalty strokes to finish as the second best team in the nation. Winter saw women’s basketball head coach Carla Berube taking her team to the Final Four for the fourth straight year, collecting second place points after falling to Amherst in the national championship.
Volleyball was led by head coach Cora Thompson, whose Jumbos hosted and won an NCAA regional to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time since 2009 and collect fifth place points. Head coach Kristen Morwick’s women’s cross country finished eighth at the NCAA championship meet and men’s cross country, led by head coach Joel Williams, collected points for a 33rd place finish.
Men’s basketball head coach Bob Sheldon’s team was back in the NCAA tournament again; he guiding his team to a ninth place finish, as the Jumbos ended up falling to eventual national champion Babson in NCAA tournament play. The men’s indoor track and field team picked up an 18th place finish on the national stage, which was highlighted by senior Tim Nichol’s national championship run in the 5K. Head coach Adam Hoyt led a pair swimming teams to national finishes, as the men finished in 10th place and the women collected points for a 46th place finish. The indoor track and field team also collected points in the winter for the Jumbos.
First-year head coach Casey D’Annolfo led the men’s lacrosse team to a ninth place finish in the spring. That was matched by head coach Kate Bayard’s women’s tennis team, who also collected ninth place points in the spring season. Men’s track and field ended up 16th at the NCAA outdoor championships, while Morwick’s women’s track and field team was led by junior Brittany Bowman, who was an All-American all three seasons this year. Head coach John Casey’s baseball team played in an NCAA regional in Syracuse, New York, making them the fifth spring team to collect points for the Jumbos.
The NCAA’s Division III includes 334 schools ranked in the Directors’ Cup standings.