Ephs come from behind to win 11th consecutive Directors' Cup

Eph History in Directors' Cup

There are no sure things in athletics so it is often good advice to "not count your chickens before they hatch" or in the case of NCAA Division III sports one should at least "wait 'till the cows come home."

One has to wonder if the good folks working in the sports department at USA Today on the night of May 21st wished they had waited a little longer before suggesting Williams archrival Amherst the expected winners of the 2008-09 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup.

At the bottom of the left hand column of the May 22nd edition of USA Today was a headline sure to capture the attention of all Eph fans, "Even in defeat, Amherst may still win," that referred to the 2008-09 Directors' Cup race.

"Amherst (Mass.) missed a chance at national titles in men's and women's tennis Thursday but enhanced its chances of dethroning Williams (Mass.) and claiming the title of the best all-around athletic program in Division III for 2008- 2009.  Williams has won the Learfield Sports Director's Cup the last 10 years.  The Lord Jeffs lost to Williams 5-2 in the women's final, and the men lost to UC-Santa Cruz 5-0.  But the points they picked up added to the lead Amherst already had on Williams, which was third in the Cup standings entering Thursday."

Williams has now won 
13 of the 14 Cups
awarded in NCAA 
Division III

Cows are generally regarded as placid and social animals, but the purple cows of Williams are all of that and more – they compete and often they win, moo.

Points in the Directors' Cup competition are awarded based on an institution's performance in NCAA post-season championship events.

Amherst held a 78.5-point lead over the Ephs heading into the spring season. However, there were still 11 spring NCAA Division III championships to be determined and the Ephs were competing in six (men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track & field, women’s lacrosse, and women’s rowing), while Amherst was entered in three (men’s and women’s tennis and had one competitor in men’s track & field).

The Ephs spring point accumulation process began when the women’s lacrosse team finished ninth in the nation (53 points) and men’s tennis finished fifth (73 points) before women’s tennis won the title (100 points).

Eph senior Lauren Philbrook won the 10,000-meter run to lead the Ephs women’s track & field team to a 15th place finish, collecting 60 points. Senior Macklin Chaffee finished second in the 1500-meter run and the Ephs added another 60 points to their Directors’ Cup score, effectively wrapping up the 11th straight Directors’ Cup.

The Ephs then capped off a stellar spring when the women’s crew team won a record fourth consecutive NCAA title and added the final 100 points.

A year ago the Ephs came from behind to win their 10th consecutive Directors’ Cup on the strength of NCAA championships won by women’s tennis and women’s crew. Williams has come from behind after the winter season four times, including the last two consecutive years. In both 2008 and 2009 the Ephs did not lead the Directors' Cup standings until after the spring season.

Senior Lauren Philbrook won the
NCAA outdoor 10,00

Williams has now won 13 of the 14 Cups that been awarded in NCAA Division III.

Maybe the catch phrase used by the USA Today sports department should have been "the cream always rises," moo.

Season by season highlights include the volleyball team peaking in time to knock of top-seeded Amherst to win the NESCAC crown in the fall, win the New England Regional title and advance to the Elite Eight. Wrestling with its first ever top 10 finish provided a shining moment in the winter, while repeat NCAA titles by women’s tennis (2) and women’s crew (4) added even more sparkle in the spring.

Alison Swain ’01 in women’s tennis has authored quite an NCAA tennis streak in just two years at the helm of the Eph squad. Swain as a player was a member of the Ephs’ first NCAA title team in 2001 and has coached the Ephs to back-to-back titles. In the last 15 NCAA matches Swain has played in or coached she is a stunning 15-0.

Capturing the 2009 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships for Women vaulted Justin Moore and women’s crew to the top of the Eph NCAA title list. Women’s crew now has five NCAA titles, one more than women’s tennis. Moore, who missed the 2008 season while coaching in Canada during a sabbatical year has won four NCAA crowns, most by an Eph coach in one sport and one gender in his 10-year run at Williams. Men’s and women’s X-C coach Peter Farwell also owns four NCAA titles with two in each gender.

NESCAC finished 1, 2, 3 in the final Directors’ Cup standings for 2008-09 with Williams, Middlebury and Amherst taking the top three spots. NESCAC placed four teams in all in the top ten with Tufts finishing 10th.

Top 10 Division III Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Teams:

1.      Williams – 1,066.50

2.      Middlebury – 923.00

3.      Amherst – 910.00

4.      Washington Univ. (MO) – 873.00

5.      Cortland State – 861.00

6.      Emory – 809.50

7.      Wisconsin-Stevens Point – 779.00

8.      Gustavus Adolphus (MN) – 765.00

9.      College of New Jersey – 759.50

10.   Tufts – 759.25

      Women's Crew won a record 4th
consecutive NCAA title


      Women's Tennis won its second
consecutive NCAA title