WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- For the first time in 14 years the Williams College Ephs did not win the NCAA Division III Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, emblematic of athletic supremacy. The Cup will stay in NESCAC, however, in 2012, it just won’t be in Williamstown.
Though Washington University (MO) led the standings through the fall and winter NESCAC’s Middlebury College has captured the Cup with 1,0-40.75 points. Washington U. ended up in second place with a total of 980.25 points. Williams finished third with 964.50 points and Amherst finished fourth with 950.75 points.
“I would like to congratulate Middlebury on their first win of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup,” stated Williams Athletic Director Lisa Melendy. “It has been an honor to receive the award in the past, in particular because it has been an occasion to highlight, recognize, and celebrate our fine student athletes, coaches, and support staff who are dedicated in their quest to pursue excellence within the context of a liberal arts institution. Middlebury and Williams share a philosophy of broad based programming that strives to provide educational opportunities in the athletic realm that are complementary to the liberal arts educational mission of the college. I am proud of NESCAC and the strong philosophy it represents. Middlebury and Williams have always had a great athletic rivalry and I have long admired their programs and department.”
Williams has won 15 of the 17 Directors’ Cups awarded in NCAA Division III. The Ephs have never finished lower than fourth (1998) in the final annual standings.
The Ephs opened the 2011-12 year in sixth place in the Directors’ Cup standings with 230 points in the fall, scoring in just three sports. The Ephs were 142 points behind Washington U.
After the winter season the Ephs were still in sixth place with a total of 528 points, but found themselves 165 points behind Washington U.
Scoring 437 points in the spring (most of any team) was enough
to lift the Ephs from sixth over Wisconsin-Whitewater, MIT, and
Amherst into third, but not to the top of the standings for the
The Ephs’ spring season was highlighted by winning NCAA titles in women’s tennis, women’s crew and with women’s golf notching its highest NCAA finish (5th). In women’s tennis the Ephs won a record fifth consecutive NCAA crown, while the Eph women’s crew raised their total of consecutive NCAA titles to a record setting seven.
Williams leads all of Division III in women’s tennis titles (7) and women’s crew titles (8).
Middlebury captured the 2012 Cup on the strength of scoring in the maximum of nine women’s and nine men’s sports.
When one streak ends it opens the door for another to begin. The pressure to try and repeat now falls on the shoulders of the Middlebury Panthers.
With the Ephs winning 15 of the 17 Directors’ Cups awarded in NCAA Division III since the award was first offered in 1996, this 17-year period clearly is the Golden Age of Williams Athletics. UC San Diego, now a Division II school, won the only other Division III Directors’ Cup not won by Williams, back in 1998.
During the Williams record run of 13 straight Cup wins, the Ephs won 20 of their 27 NCAA team titles.
Additionally, the Ephs captured 118 NESCAC titles during the 13-year Cup win streak.
In Little Three play the Ephs won 203 outright Little Three titles and fashioned an impressive .749 winning percentage in 899 contests in those 13 years. The 2001-02 academic year found the Ephs winning an unheard of 22 of 26 Little Three crowns outright.
NCAA Division III
- – Middlebury – 1,040.75
- – Washington U. – 980.25
- – Williams – 964.50
- – Amherst. – 950.75
- – Wisconsin – Whitewater – 815.50