Westmont finishes in top 20 in Learfield Directors’ Cup standings

Westmont College Athletics finished in 19th place in the 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup NAIA final standings, an improvement of more the 50 places over last year. Nineteenth, out of nearly 300 schools, is the highest finish for the program in nine years.

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 12 sports ? six women?s and six men?s.

NAiA Player of the Year Tugce Canitez led the Westmont women’s basketball team to the national quarterfinals.

“We’ve had somewhat of an athletics revival at Westmont the last few years,” said Westmont athletic director Dave Odell. “There has been no one particular initiative that has led to the improvement. I would say it has been a combination of the following:

Recognition that pursuing excellence is our goal and that this is honoring to God.

Renewed commitment from the college and our amazing donors led to an enhancement of our athletic scholarship offering and of our facilities.

Renewed commitment to recruiting great student-athletes.

Enhancement of our strength and conditioning and overall athlete wellness.

Coaching changes brought new life to struggling programs like men’s tennis, women’s soccer and baseball. I expect similar results for volleyball. Each of those programs showed meaningful improvements under new leadership.

Our athletes’ commitment to hard work and attention to detail.”

Westmont received its 471.5 points from nine sports. Women’s Basketball and Men’s Tennis each tallied 70 points with quarterfinal finishes at their respective NAIA national tournaments. Women’s Soccer grabbed 53 points by reaching the second round of the national championship.

Westmont’s cross country teams earned 48 points each when both the men’s and women’s team’s finished 14th at the national championship last November.

The Westmont Track and Field teams added significantly to the Director Cup Standings. The women’s team added 50.5 points at the indoor national championships and 51 at the outdoor national championships. The men’s team added 40 at the indoor championships and 41 at the outdoor championships.

“The Directors’ Cup is a measure of the overall improvement and strength of our athletic program,” noted Odell. “I like the Directors’ Cup because it doesn’t discriminate; each sport and gender has equal weight. I believe we have all the pieces in place to continue this success. Taking the next step is going to require us to get closer to our rivals relative to funding. We have increase funding of certain sports and those sports have benefited from this. However, it should be noted that we remain in the bottom of our conference in athletic related financial aid. I believe that our success on the field will lead to additional funding from our stakeholder group.”