Sagehens Finish Year with Highest Ever Directors' Cup Ranking at No. 29

Sagehens Finish Year with Highest Ever Directors' Cup Ranking at No. 29

CLEVELAND, OH – The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens earned their highest ever final ranking in the Learfield Directors' Cup at No. 29. The Sagehens finish the year with 479 points, breaking their previous best mark set 20 years ago.

The Learfield Directors' Cup ranks the nation's athletic programs and 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 finish in NCAA Championships.

"This is the second year in a row where we have taken a strong step forward in overall national ranking and it speaks volumes about the direction and positive momentum of Sagehen Athletics," said Director of Athletics Lesley Irvine. "We are proud to be one of the premier Division III Athletic departments in the nation and I want to applaud all of our student-athletes, coaches and support staff for their commitment and dedication during this historic year."

The top-30 finish for the Sagehens marks a strong improvement for the program over the last few years. The Sagehens finished 34th last year and 49th the year prior. Pomona-Pitzer's previous best finish was after the 1996-1997 season where they placed 33rd.

The Learfield Directors' Cup awards each institution points in a pre-determined number of sports for men and women. It recognizes institutions which have a broad-based program, achieving success in many sports, both men's and women's.

Pomona-Pitzer's historic year started with an incredible showing from teams in the fall season culminating in a No. 19 Final Fall Ranking. 

Women's soccer finished with their best season in program history, making it all the way to the Elite 8 and winning a SCIAC Championship. Senior Nadia Alaiyan also earned the program's first All-American distinction.

Men's Water Polo capped off a perfect conference record with a SCIAC Championship that earned them a spot in NCAA Play-In game, falling only to the eventual National Champion Cal Bears. The Sagehens finished the year with four All-Americans including Player of the Year James Baker. Joining him were Daniel Diemer, Tommy Turner, and Adam Ward.

The women's cross country team was led by senior Maya Weigel who repeated as SCIAC Champion, won the NCAA West Regionals for the third consecutive year, was named SCIAC Athlete of the year, and placed third at the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row. Men's cross country finished in 17th place at the NCAA Championships and also scored a third place finish at the NCAA Regional Meet.

In the winter, the Sagehens built upon the success of the fall season with a No. 22 Final Winter Ranking. In the pool, the men's and women's swimming and diving teams combined to send 10 athletes to the NCAA National Championships (Maddie Kauahi, Angela Ling, Sarah Jin, Erin Bigus, Zach Senator, Will Abele, Ryan Drover, Mark Hallman, and Adrian Hui). All 10 representatives went on to earn All-American status. Both teams also took home second place finishes in the SCIAC.

The Pomona-Pitzer women's track and field team also earned points for the winter standings as Weigel competed as an individual at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championships where she took third place overall in the mile run. 

The Sagehens capped off their incredible year with a strong finish in the spring season, led one more time by NCAA DIII National Champion Maya Weigel. The senior capped off her incredible Pomona-Pitzer career with a commanding win in the 5000 meter at the 2017 NCAA DIII Track and Field Championships. 

The women's water polo team recorded another successful season culminating in a SCIAC Championship and a trip to the NCAA Opening-Round Game. The Sagehens finished the year with Christina Williamson, Jocelyn Castro, Chessa Burke, and Ahsha Earwood on the All-America Team. Williamson was also named the DIII Player of the Year.

On the court, women's tennis finished the season with five All-Americans. Caroline Casper (singles), Maryann Zhao (doubles), and Emily Chen (doubles) earned the distinction after winning their way into the NCAA Quarterfinals. Grace Hruska and Joy Kim earned All-American status in the fall for their performance in the ITA Doubles Regional Tournament. As a team the Sagehens made it to the West Regional Final in the NCAA Tournament. Casper was also named SCIAC Athlete of the Year.

The men's tennis team also sent three representatives to the NCAA Tournament in singles player Jake Yasgoor, and the doubles team of Antony Bello and Spencer Simonides.

Also making the podium at the Track and Field Championships were men's track and field javelin thrower Calvin Aylward who finished sixth, earning All-American status for the second straight season, and runners Danny Rosen who took eighth in the 3000 meter steeplechase and Andy Reischling who took eighth in the 5000 meter. Both Rosen and Reischling were named All-Americans. 

The men's golf team also had a strong showing nationally with Conor Rooney making his way into the NCAA Tournament, the first Sagehen in history to earn an at-large bid to the event. Baseball player Tanner Nishioka capped off his incredible season as an All-American and SCIAC Player of the Year.

The Sagehens finish the year with three SCIAC Championships, two Division III Players of the Year, seven SCIAC Athletes of the Year, four SCIAC Newcomers of the Year, and three SCIAC Coaching Staffs of the Year. The Sagehens also sent either a team or individual to the NCAA postseason in 12 different sports. 

NACDA Release

Complete Standings

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