June 20, 2009
Dragons 5th best program in nation
For the 14th consecutive year, SUNY Cortland has finished in the Top 20 in the final Learfield Sports Directors Cup Division III standings that rank the top athletic programs in the country.
The Red Dragons are ranked fifth in the 2008-09 final standings, boosted by national championship performances by the men’s lacrosse team this past spring and the men’s cross counter team in the fall.
The award is presented annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, Learfield Sports and USA Today recognizing overall excellence among collegiate athletic programs.
Cortland is one of only six schools nationwide, and the only New York institution, to place in the Top 20 each of the 14 years the standings have been compiled on a Division III level. The Red Dragons finished in the top five for the third time in four years and are in the Top 10 for the fourth straight year and seventh time overall.
Cortland had 14 teams participate in NCAA postseason competition in 2008-09, 11 of which placed in the Top 20 nationally. The field hockey and football teams each tied for fifth place, the softball team tied for seventh place, the women’s cross country team finished ninth and the women’s lacrosse team tied for ninth.
Men’s outdoor track and field tied for 14th, the men’s soccer and women’s basketball teams each tied for 17th, and the wrestling team finished 19th. The women’s gymnastics team finished sixth nationally at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Division III Championships, but that result is not counted in the Directors’ Cup standings.
The standings are compiled based on schools’ national finishes in different sports. Teams earn points by qualifying for the NCAA postseason and additional points for advancing in the playoffs. The national champion in each sport receives 100 points.
Cortland finished with a total of 861 points. Williams College of Massachusetts won its 11th straight Cup with 1,066.5 points, followed by Middlebury (Vt.) College with 923 points, Amherst (Mass.) College with 910, Washington University (Mo.) with 873 and Cortland rounding out the top five.
There are four Directors’ Cup Awards, one to honor overall champions in each of the NCAA’s Divisions (I, II and III) and the NAIA. It is the first-ever cross-sectional all-sports national recognition award for both men and women. NACDA, which is now in its 44th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,100 college athletics directors, associates, assistants and conference commissioners at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada.
WAGER HONORED: Cortland runner Justin Wager has been named to the ESPN the Magazine District I men’s track and field/cross country all-academic team for the second straight season. The junior from Guilderland was named to the all-district first team this year after earning second team honors as a sophomore.
The academic all-district teams are selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America and include Division II and III schools from New York and New England. As a first team selection, Wager was eligible to earn Academic All-America honors, but he was not chosen to the national team.
Wager is a kinesiology major with a 3.74 cumulative grade point average, prior to this past spring semester. He earned All-America honors last fall with a 28th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Men’s Cross Country Championships, helping Cortland win a team national title. He also earned cross country all-region honors with a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Atlantic Regionals.
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