Arkansas Makes A Move In Directors' Cup Standings
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – National championship runner-up finishes by both the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams has vaulted Arkansas to No. 19 in the first winter standings of the 2015-16 Learfield Directors’ Cup released Thursday morning by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America (NACDA). The Directors’ Cup tracks the nation’s most successful intercollegiate athletics programs for their performances throughout the year.
The Razorbacks have earned a total of 367.50 points in the competition and rose six spots in the latest standings after earning a No. 25 ranking in the final fall standings. Arkansas is one of only three Southeastern Conference (SEC) programs in the top 25 of the first winter standings.
In addition to men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s swimming and diving and men’s and women’s indoor track and field, the standings released on Thursday included women’s field hockey, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, skiing, rifle, women’s hockey, wrestling and men’s water polo.
The Razorback men’s track and field team earned 90 points with a second place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama. Arkansas’s runner-up finish marked its fifth consecutive NCAA indoor top-three performance since the 2012 season. The SEC champion Hogs racked up 39 points, including 10 points apiece from individual event national champions Jarrion Lawson (long jump) and Clive Pullen (triple jump).
Arkansas’ women’s track and field team also made a late run to earn national championship runner-up honors and net 90 points for the Directors Cup at the NCAA Indoors. The Razorbacks earned their second-highest finish at the national indoor meet and finished in the top three at the NCAA meet for the third time in program history. Freshman Lexi Weeks highlighted the meet by becoming the first freshman to win the NCAA women’s pole vault title. Arkansas finished with a total of 50 points, just three points shy of the national championship team total.
Arkansas earned a total of 187.5 points in the fall segment of the competition. The Hogs earned 45 points after capping the football season by winning its second-consecutive bowl game with a 45-23 victory over Kansas State in the 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Razorbacks won for the sixth time in their last seven games, finishing the season with an 8-5 record.
After both the Arkansas men’s and women’s teams won the SEC Cross Country Championship in October, the two squads earned top-10 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Kentucky. The men’s cross country team capped its season with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA meet. Arkansas earned 73.5 points for the finish, placing it among the top 10 nationally in three of the past six seasons. Arkansas women’s cross country raced to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championship. This is the second-consecutive season the Razorbacks finished among the 10 best programs in the nation in women’s cross country.
Arkansas earned a program record 16th-place finish last year in the 2014-15 Learfield Directors’ Cup. The Razorbacks finished the academic year with a program record 912.5 points, besting the previous point total of 830 in 2012-13 by more than 82 points.
Arkansas has earned a spot among the nation’s top 30 programs in seven of the past eight years. In addition to last year’s 16th-place overall finish, the Razorbacks recorded top-30 finishes in 2007-08 (24th), 2008-09 (25th), 2010-11 (24th), 2011-12 (20th), 2012-13 (21st), and 2013-14 (28th).
The Directors’ Cup program has been tracking the success of the nation’s top intercollegiate athletics programs since 1993-94.