Arkansas Maintains Top 25 Ranking In Recent Learfield Cup Standings
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas maintained its top-25 national ranking in the most recent spring standings for the 2014-15 Learfield Sports Directors Cup released on Thursday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America (NACDA).
Arkansas has earned 674.5 points and ranks 24th nationally. A total of eight SEC programs rank in the top 30 in the latest edition of the top 25.
The Directors Cup is a competition that tracks the nation’s most successful intercollegiate athletics programs for their athletic performances throughout the year. The spring standings released this week included scoring for fall and winter sports as well as points for men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, women’s rowing, women’s softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s volleyball and women’s water polo. Arkansas will still likely gain significant points from both men’s and women’s track, who are competing for NCAA Championships this weekend and from baseball, which is making its third College World Series appearance in the past seven seasons.
The Razorbacks earned 69 points in the latest standings thanks to a ninth-place finish by the women’s golf team at the NCAA Championship. Arkansas was led by junior Gabriela Lopez who finished as the national runner-up in individual stroke play becoming only the second Razorback to finish second in the NCAA Championship joining Kelli Shean (2011). Her final round score of 66 also tied Arkansas’ NCAA scoring record set by former NCAA champion and current LPGA star Stacy Lewis.
Arkansas added 25 points for its NCAA Tournament appearance in women’s tennis. Coach Michael Hegarty led the Razorback women’s tennis team to the NCAA Tournament for the 13th time in school history. The Razorbacks fell to nationally ranked Arizona State in the first round of the NCAA Regional in Stillwater, Okla.
The Razorback gymnastics team earned 52.5 points for earning a spot in the NCAA Morgantown Regional. The 2015 season not only saw the Razorbacks reach the NCAA Regionals for the 12th-straight year, but the team also set a new program best on the floor exercise, tied the fifth-highest team score on the vault, appeared in the top-10 for two weeks and was featured inside the top-20 in the nation all season.
Arkansas earned 50 points for both men’s and women’s basketball after both programs qualified for postseason and won their initial games. Coach Mike Anderson led the Hogs to 27 wins, including 13 conference victories. The men’s team returned to the NCAA Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2008, advancing to the second round. Arkansas also advanced to the SEC Tournament Championship Game for the sixth time in school history and the first time since 2008.
Coach Jimmy Dykes led the women’s basketball program to 18 wins and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. Arkansas won its first-round game against Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament. The Razorbacks also advanced to the third round of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The women’s swimming and diving team earned 17 points for its postseason performance at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Coach Sean Schimmel’s squad earned a 44th place finish at the national meet. The top-50 finish marked the first national team finish for the Razorbacks since 2012.
Arkansas picked up 100 points for its first national championship captured by the Razorback women’s indoor track and field team in Fayetteville in March. Coach Lance Harter led his team to a resounding win and in the process provided the Razorback program its first national championship in any women’s sport. The national title was the 44th in school history, joining one in football, one in men’s basketball and 41 in men’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field. It also marked the first national championship for Coach Harter.
The Razorback men’s track and field team earned 85 points for a third-place national finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center. With the finish, the Razorback men’s indoor track team has tallied a top-three NCAA indoor finish in four-consecutive years, including a team title in 2013.
Arkansas earned a total of 216 points based on fall sports’ finishes. The Razorbacks racked up 121 points based on the national finishes of the men’s and women’s cross country teams. The women’s cross country team tallied 75 points after earning a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. It marked the third-consecutive Top-10 national finish for the women’s program after earning sixth and ninth place finishes at last year’s indoor and outdoor national championships, respectively.
The men’s cross country team earned 46 points after finishing 28th in the nation at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. In addition, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams won their respective Southeastern Conference championships for the second straight year.
Arkansas added another 45 points to its total after a strong finish by the Razorback football team. Arkansas finished the 2014 season with a 7-6 record, including wins in three of its last four games. The Razorbacks capped the season with a resounding 31-7 win over Texas in the 2014 Advocare V100 Texas Bowl.
The Razorback soccer team made a postseason run in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. Arkansas defeated Oklahoma 3-2 in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling at No. 3 Stanford, 1-0, in the second round of the draw. Arkansas earned 50 points in the Directors’ Cup for its 2014 performance.
In 2013-14, Arkansas has earned a spot among the nation’s top 30 programs for the sixth time in the past seven years. The Razorbacks finished 28th nationally in the final 2013-14 standings. Arkansas accumulated a total of 720 points to extend the recent stretch of Directors Cup success that began when the men’s and women’s athletic programs were combined in 2008.
Arkansas finished fourth in the nation among programs with 19 or fewer sports and eighth among programs with 20 or fewer sports. In addition to last year’s 28th-place overall finish, the Razorbacks recorded Top-30 finishes in in 2007-08 (24th), 2008-09 (25th), 2010-11 (24th), 2011-12 (20th) and 2012-13 (21st).
The Directors’ Cup program has been tracking the success of the nation’s top intercollegiate athletics programs since 1993-94.