MEDFORD – For the sixth straight year and 10th time overall, the Tufts University varsity athletics program finished in the top 10 of the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings with their eighth-place ranking for 2017-18.
The Learfield 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.
A total of 14 Jumbo teams scored Directors' Cup points for their performances in NCAA events during 2017-18. This spring, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, women’s tennis and men’s outdoor track & field scored for Tufts. Women's basketball, men's swimming & diving, women's indoor track & field, men's indoor track & field and women's swimming & diving gave Tufts five winter teams who contributed to the Directors' Cup total. For the fall, women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball qualified for NCAA competition.
Tufts’ three-season total in the Director’s Cup was 787.50 points. They scored 220 in the fall, 301.5 in the winter and 266 in the spring. The Jumbos edged the Amherst College Mammoths (773.5) in the standings by 14 points.
For the spring season, head coach Casey D’Annolfo’s men’s lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals to score a season-best 73 Cup points. The NCAA Regional finalist women’s tennis team coached by Kate Bayard added 64 points to Tufts’ total. Head coach Cheryl Milligan’s softball team and head coach Courtney Shute’s women’s lacrosse team both scored 50 points for their 17th-place NCAA finishes. Men’s outdoor track & field, coached by Joel Williams, contributed 28 points to the Jumbos’ spring total.
Tufts’ best season in terms of Cup points was the winter, led by four top-15 finishes in NCAA Championship events. Head coach Carla Berube's women's basketball team earned 73 fifth-place points for advancing to the Elite Eight. The men's swimming & diving team, coached by Adam Hoyt, also finished among the top 10 in seventh place at their NCAA meet for 72 points. Coach Morwick’s women's indoor track & field placed 11th at the NCAA Championships for a 64.5 Directors' Cup score. Coach Williams' men's indoor track & field squad was 13th, adding 61.5 points to the Tufts total. Women's swimming & diving, also led by Coach Hoyt, contributed 30.5 points.
In the fall, head coach Josh Shapiro's men's soccer team scored the most points (73) after advancing to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. The women's cross country team, coached by Morwick, finished seventh at the NCAA Championship Race to score 72 Directors' Cup points. Head coach Cora Thompson's volleyball squad played into the second round and earned 50 points in the Cup standings. Head coach Martha Whiting's team lost in the first round of the NCAA women's soccer field, earning them 25 Cup points.
Last year’s (2016-17) third-place finish overall in the Learfield Directors' Cup improved upon 2016’s fourth-place showing as Tufts' best in program history. The Jumbos finished in sixth-place in 2005-06 and 2009-10, which prior to the last two years was the best since the Directors’ Cup began in 1995-96.