WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Williams College and Wisconsin-Whitewater battled to the very end of the spring season to determine the winner of the 19th Learfield Sports Directors' Cup presented in NCAA Division III.
With Wisconsin-Whitewater winning the NCAA baseball title over Emory the Ephs held a lead of one half of a point going into the final championship of the spring season – women's rowing. Williams' total was 1,135.25 and Wisconsin-Whitewater was at 1,134.75. However, Williams' rowing team, the NCAA defending champion, was entered in the rowing championships and Whitewater was not. Thus the Ephs could extend their lead, but not lose it.
Finishing second in rowing Williams earned 90 more points, giving the Ephs a total of 1,225.25 points out scoring Wisconsin-Whitewater 1,134.75 and the rest of the 321 Division III members that scored in the Cup competition.
The 2014 win gives the Ephs back-to-back titles and 17 overall Directors' Cups of the 19 awarded in NCAA Division III play.
The finish was one of the closest in the 19-year history of NCAA Division III, competition, but not as close as 1996-97 when Williams won by just 15 points over The College of New Jersey – 604 to 589.
The Directors' Cup is emblematic of athletic supremacy as schools accrue points based on their teams' finishes in NCAA championship events. Points can come from a maximum of nine men's and nine women's teams.
Williams Athletic Director Lisa Melendy will receive the Directors' Cup at the Learfield Sports Luncheon at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Convention in Orlando, Fla., on June 10.
"It was fun as well to have new teams contributing to our point totals or teams with their highest finishes ever contributing to our point total," Melendy added. "I am proud of all of our teams and the work our coaches, athletes, and support staff put in year in and year out."
A public presentation of the Cup is being scheduled in Williamstown for October 11 at halftime of the football game versus Middlebury on Farley-Lamb Field.
The Eph win means that the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) has won 18 of the 19 Cups (Middlebury, 2012).
UC San Diego won the 1998 Cup, but the Tritons have since moved up and now compete in NCAA Division II.
At the end of the fall of 2013 Williams held a 201-point lead over the Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks who were tied for 22nd with MIT with 175 points.
Posting a winter total of 528.75 points to the Ephs' 467.75 points enabled Whitewater to climb within 140 points of the Ephs with a fall/winter total of 703.75 points. The Ephs' finished the winter season totaling 843.75 points.
Wisconsin-Whitewater scored in 16 sports on the year, with seven men's and nine women's teams advancing to NCAA championships. The Warhawks became the first team in any NCAA Division to win the NCAA title in football, men's basketball and baseball in the same academic year.
The 2013-14 academic year marked the first time the Ephs did not win an NCAA crown in the last nine years. Williams did field three teams that finished second at NCAA Championships: women's cross country, men's basketball and women's crew.
Nine Eph teams finished their season in the top five nationally and five finished sixth through tenth nationally.
The Ephs had 21 teams advance to NCAA championship events; 13 women's teams and eight men's teams. The Ephs' final point total of 1,225.75 came from 17 sports (8 men/ 9 women).
The four Eph women's teams that were not used in the winning point tally were basketball, ice hockey, softball all scoring 25 points and lacrosse, which earned 53 points with a 9th place finish.
NESCAC had five members finish in the top 20 with Williams (1), Amherst (5), Tufts (7), Middlebury (10) and Bowdoin (20).
The Ephs' 1,225.25 points came from the following
( ) = national finish
Men's Cross Country – 75 (5)
Women's Cross Country – 90 (2)
Men's Soccer – 83 (3)
Women's Soccer – 64 (9)
Volleyball – 64 (9)
Men's Basketball – 90 (2)
*Skiing – 45 (15)
Men's Swimming & Diving – 70.5 (8)
Women's Swimming & Diving – 75 (5)
Women's Indoor Track & Field – 74.5 (5)
Wrestling – 63 (13)
Women's Golf – 85 (3)
Women's Rowing -- 90 (2)
Men's Tennis – 64 (9)
Women's Tennis – 86.5 (3)
Men's Outdoor Track & Field – 37 (T 33)
Women's Outdoor Track & Field – 69 (T 8)
* can be counted as either a men's or women's team as the national championship team score is the combined score of the men & women
Top 10 NCAA DIII Directors' Cup
1 -- Williams College – 1,225.25
2 -- Wisconsin-Whitewater – 1,134.75
3 -- Johns Hopkins – 977.50
4 -- Washington (MO) – 924.50
5 -- Amherst – 914.50
6 -- Emory – 898.0
7 -- Tufts – 739.38
8 -- MIT – 778.75
9 -- St. Thomas (MN) – 765.50
10 -- Middlebury – 752.00