NCAA ti­tle and CWS trip helps se­cure Top-25 Di­rec­tors’ Cup fin­ish

The Saline Courier Weekend - - SPORT - Spe­cial to the Courier

FAYET­TEVILLE – A na­tional cham­pi­onship in women’s out­door track and field and a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive trip to the Col­lege World Se­ries in base­ball capped a suc­cess­ful year for Ra­zor­back Ath­let­ics and helped the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas to a No. 23 fin­ish in the 2018-19 Learfield IMG Col­lege Di­rec­tors’ Cup. Arkansas earned a spot among the na­tion’s top in­ter­col­le­giate ath­let­ics pro­grams, fin­ish­ing with 803 points in the fi­nal rank­ings re­leased on Fri­day by the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Col­le­giate Di­rec­tors of Amer­ica (NACDA).

A to­tal of 13 Ra­zor­back sports scored in this year’s com­pe­ti­tion re­sult­ing in the sev­enth time Arkansas has scored as many as 800 points in the Di­rec­tors’ Cup. Arkansas fin­ished in the top 25 for the fifth con­sec­u­tive year and the 10th time in the past 12 years. Arkansas fin­ished first in the na­tion in the rank­ings among schools with 19 or fewer sports. In fact, Arkansas was the only school with 19 or fewer sports to earn a top-25 fin­ish in the fi­nal Di­rec­tors’ Cup stand­ings.

“Once again our 465 stu­dent-ath­letes and coaches have com­bined for a truly mem­o­rable year of ath­let­ics com­pe­ti­tion,” Vice Chan­cel­lor and Di­rec­tor of Ath­let­ics Hunter Yu­rachek said. “With two NCAA cham­pi­onships, four

South­east­ern Con­fer­ence team crowns and count­less in­di­vid­ual NCAA and SEC in­di­vid­ual ti­tles, these remarkable young men and women have suc­ceeded at the high­est level ath­let­i­cally while proudly rep­re­sent­ing the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas. As the na­tion’s top-ranked pro­gram with 19 or fewer sports, we con­tinue to rank among the na­tion’s best even while com­pet­ing against pro­grams with up­wards of 30 sports pro­grams.

Our sus­tained suc­cess can be at­trib­uted to the com­mit­ment of our stu­den­tath­letes, coaches and staff, as well as the loyal sup­port of Ra­zor­back Foundation mem­bers, sea­son-ticket hold­ers and fans through­out Arkansas and around the world.”

Since 1993-94, the Di­rec­tors’ Cup has tracked the na­tion’s most suc­cess­ful in­ter­col­le­giate ath­let­ics pro­grams for their on-field per­for­mances through­out the year. In the Di­rec­tors’ Cup, schools may count points in up to 19 sport pro­grams, four of which must be men’s and women’s bas­ket­ball, vol­ley­ball and base­ball, allowing pro­grams with ad­di­tional sports to count only the best team per­for­mances.

Arkansas’ spring sports once again vaulted the Ra­zor­backs into the

na­tion’s top 25 in the fi­nal Di­rec­tors’ Cup stand­ings. The Ra­zor­backs earned a to­tal of 370.5 points in the spring sports seg­ment, in­clud­ing 100 points from the women’s track and field team for its na­tional cham­pi­onship.

An ex­cit­ing fin­ish re­sulted in the Ra­zor­back women’s track and field team win­ning its fourth NCAA ti­tle in school his­tory. Arkansas and South­ern Cal were tied in the team stand­ings with 56 points with one event re­main­ing, the 4x400me­ter re­lay, at the NCAA Out­door Track and Field Na­tional Cham­pi­onships in Austin. Arkansas rose to the oc­ca­sion fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the race to clinch the sec­ond NCAA ti­tle this year and the fourth na­tional cham­pi­onship in the his­tory of the women’s pro­gram. Along the way, Ja­neek Brown (100-me­ter hur­dles) and Tori Hog­gard (pole vault) both earned NCAA in­di­vid­ual ti­tles and counted among the 17 to­tal All-amer­ica hon­ors earned by the Ra­zor­back women’s team.

On the base­ball di­a­mond, Arkansas made pro­gram his­tory earn­ing a trip to the Col­lege World Se­ries in back-to-back sea­sons. The Ra­zor­backs won a share of the SEC Western Divi­sion cham­pi­onship on its way to a No. 5 na­tional seed in the NCAA Tour­na­ment. Arkansas swept through its re­gional at Baum-walker

Sta­dium be­fore down­ing SEC ri­val Ole Miss in an NCAA Su­per Re­gional in Fayet­teville. The NCAA Su­per Re­gional win gave Arkansas its sec­ond trip to Omaha in as many sea­sons and its 10th Col­lege World Se­ries ap­pear­ance over­all. Arkansas fin­ished the sea­son with a 46-20 record, earn­ing 73 points for the Di­rec­tors’ Cup stand­ings.

The Ra­zor­back men’s team se­cured an­other top-15 fin­ish at the NCAA Out­door Track and Field Cham­pi­onship. Arkansas

earned 10 All-amer­ica hon­ors on its way to its ninth con­sec­u­tive top-15 fin­ish at the NCAA Out­door meet. For its ef­forts, Arkansas net­ted 59.25 Di­rec­tors’ Cup points.

For the first time in school his­tory, the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas played host to the NCAA Men’s and Women’s

Golf Cham­pi­onships at the Bless­ings Golf Club. The Ra­zor­back women’s team ad­vanced to the NCAA Cham­pi­onship as a team. Led by NCAA

in­di­vid­ual stroke play cham­pion Maria Fassi, the Ra­zor­backs ad­vanced to the match play round, be­fore be­ing elim­i­nated. Arkansas earned 72.75 points for its per­for­mance in the women’s tour­na­ment.

A month af­ter win­ning its first SEC team ti­tle in 24 years, the men’s golf team earned a spot at the NCAA Men’s Golf Re­gional in Austin, Texas. The Ra­zor­backs fin­ished one spot shy of ad­vanc­ing as a team to the NCAA Cham­pi­onship. Arkansas fresh­man Ju­lian Perico did ad­vance to the NCAA in­di­vid­ual stroke play com­pe­ti­tion. Arkansas earned 40.5 points for its NCAA Re­gional fin­ish in men’s golf.

For the third straight sea­son, the Ra­zor­back soft­ball team se­cured a berth in the NCAA Soft­ball Cham­pi­onship. Arkansas earned the No. 2 seed in the Still­wa­ter (Okla.) Re­gional. The Ra­zor­backs were elim­i­nated in two games, fin­ish­ing the sea­son with a record of 38-20. Arkansas earned 25 points for mak­ing the NCAA Tour­na­ment field.

Arkansas earned a to­tal of 272 points in the win­ter Di­rec­tors’ Cup scor­ing seg­ment. Ranked No. 1 na­tion­ally from pre-sea­son to the NCAA In­door Track and Field Cham­pi­onships, Coach Lance Harter led the Ra­zor­back women’s squad to its third NCAA cham­pi­onship in pro­gram his­tory

and helped se­cure the

44th NCAA Cham­pi­onship over­all in cross coun­try and track and field at the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas. Arkansas led the na­tion with 21 All-amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing 18 who earned first-team hon­ors, in­clud­ing back-to-back NCAA In­door pole vault cham­pion Lexi Ja­cobus and three-time 2019 In­door All-amer­i­can Pay­ton Chad­wick. The Ra­zor­backs racked up 100 Di­rec­tors’ Cup points for win­ning the na­tional ti­tle.

The Arkansas men also turned in a strong per­for­mance, earn­ing a top-15 team fin­ish at the NCAA In­door Cham­pi­onships at the Birm­ing­ham (Alabama) Cross­plex. The Ra­zor­backs fea­tured 11 All-amer­i­cans, led by Gabe Moore, who fin­ished as the na­tional runner-up in the men’s hep­tathlon. Arkansas earned 61.5 points for its 13th-place fin­ish in the men’s team stand­ings.

In his fi­nal sea­son as head coach, Mark Cook led the Ra­zor­back gym­nas­tics team to its 16th-con­sec­u­tive NCAA Re­gional ap­pear­ance. Cook helped form the pro­gram be­gin­ning in 2001 and coached the Gym­backs from 200319. Arkansas earned 55.5 points for its fi­nal NCAA ap­pear­ance un­der Coach Cook.

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