WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. – The Williams College Ephs have won their 22nd Learfield IMG College Directors' Cup emblematic of athletic supremacy in NCAA DIII with a point total of 1,117.0.
The win in 2019 by Williams marks the seventh consecutive year that the Ephs have won the Cup. Only the 1998 Cup won by UC San Diego (now a member of NCAA DII) and the 2012 Cup captured by NESCAC foe Middlebury College have eluded the grasp of the Ephs. The win by Middlebury snapped an Eph win streak at 13.
Mirroring the athletic success this year was the performance of the Eph athletes in the classroom, where this year 306 Ephs earned Academic All-NESCAC honors. Academic All-NESCAC honors are restricted to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Honored athletes must possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 3..50.
The Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays finished second this year tallying 1,083.75 points after leading the competition at the end of both the fall and winter campaigns.
This year is the Ephs' smallest margin of victory, 33.25 points, in the most recent scoring structure of 18 teams that includes the four mandatory sports of men's & women's soccer and men's and women's basketball. To that list of four required scores each school may add a maximum 14 more scoring teams regardless of gender.
Back in 2003 when the scoring structure was still a maximum of 18 sports only nine men's and nine women's sports could be counted and the Ephs' posted their largest margin of victory, 380.0 points.
Points in the Directors' Cup competition are awarded based on a school's finish in NCAA Championship events or selected other national championship competitions.
Under the current scoring structure in NCAA DIII a school must count the number of points earned in men's and women's soccer and men's and women's basketball. If one or more of those teams does not make the NCAA Tournament then that school is credited with zero points. Those four sports are highlighted in the NCAA DIII scoring structure because they are the four most sponsored sports in NCAA DIII.
After accounting for the points of the above four sports the schools are then allowed to add in the points for their 14 highest point winners, regardless of gender.
This year Williams scored in 17 out of a possible 18 sports, as did Johns Hopkins. Throughout the 2018-19 academic year the Ephs notched twelve top ten team finishes.
After the fall season Johns Hopkins led NCAA DIII with 475.0 points, scoring in seven sports. Second place Tufts was 121.50 points behind Johns Hopkins and the Ephs were in seventh place and were 207.50 points back, having scored 267.50 points in four sports.
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Highlighting the Eph fall total was women's soccer's 100 points for winning the NCAA title. The fall of 2018 marked the third time in the past four years that the Ephs had won the NCAA women's soccer crown.
At the end of the winter season the Ephs had climbed into second place posting a season best total of 476.50 points. Four of the nine scoring teams representing Williams posted top six finishes with women's indoor track & field claiming the NCAA title.
Women's swimming & diving finished fourth, men's basketball fifth, and off of a program-best season women's ice hockey captured fifth place after finishing first in NESCAC in the regular season, winning the NESCAC Tournament, and posting their first ever NCAA Tournament win.
On consecutive nights in the NESCAC Tournament the Ephs defeated arch rival Amherst and Middlebury, marking the first time in program history they had recorded three wins in a season over both foes.
The women's track & field team's NCAA indoor title winning effort came despite not having their usual indoor training space – Towne Field House – available all year long due to renovation issues.
The Williams women trailed Washington University-St. Louis 24-8 after Day 1 of the 2-day indoor championship in Boston, but school record performances by Emma Egan winning the high jump (1.75m), Anna Passanante in the mile (4:46.81) and the half mile (2:11.03) in a span of one hour, and a fourth place finish in the 4x400 relay by Davis Collison, Ella Dunn, Megan Powell and Caitlin Ubl (3:50.59) gave the Ephs 42 team points, edging out Washington University's 40 points.
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With their strong winter showing the Ephs had narrowed the Johns Hopkins lead from 207.50 points to 60.25.
Although every team and every point matter throughout the year in the spring the Ephs got a huge boost from men's lacrosse, which set a program record for most wins in a season (18), won three NCAA Tournament games (first ever NCAA Tournament wins) and upset the #1-ranked Tigers of RIT in double overtime, advancing to the NCAA semifinals.
Women's golf finished second overall at the NCAA Championship and Eph senior Cori Chan won the individual title to help fuel the Eph spring comeback. Softball advanced to the College World Series and both the men's and women's track & field teams added valuable points.
It must also be noted that Eph junior Sam Goldenring playing in the NCAA DIII Men's Golf Championship as an invited individual also topped the field to claim the individual title. The Ephs did not receive any points in the Cup for Goldenring's win as the Eph team did not qualify for this year's NCAA championship.
Williams became the first school to win both the women's individual and men's individual titles in the same year since Methodist University accomplished the feat in 2001.
Another remarkable accomplishment was provided by senior Kristina Alvarado who played four years of soccer and softball in the Purple Valley. Alvarado was a member of three Eph NCAA championship teams in soccer and two Eph softball teams that advanced to the College World Series. She played in a combined 47 NCAA Tournament contests.
NESCAC placed four teams in the top 1: Williams 1st, Middlebury 4th, Tufts 7th and Amherst 8th. The next best top ten conference finishes came from the University Athletic Association (UAA), which placed three teams in the top 10 with Washington University – St. Louis 3rd, Emory 5th and University of Chicago 9th.
One of the Ephs' 22 Directors' Cups is on display 24 hours a day in the lobby of the Chandler Athletic Center.