Back Among the Nation's Best
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Led by a national runner-up finish by the Razorback indoor women’s track and field team, the University of Arkansas is back among the nation’s top intercollegiate athletics programs in the latest 2017-18 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings released on Thursday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America (NACDA). Arkansas ranks 16th in the latest rankings with a total of 362.5 points.
Arkansas ranks fourth among SEC programs and is one of seven league programs currently ranked in the top 25. The Directors’ Cup tracks the nation’s most successful intercollegiate athletics programs for their performances throughout the year. The standings released on Thursday included men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s field hockey, women’s ice hockey, rifle, skiing, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s swimming and diving, women’s volleyball, men’s water polo and wrestling.
Fresh off capturing its 12th consecutive conference crown at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships, the Arkansas women’s track and field team recorded a runner-up finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas. The Razorbacks featured three individual national champions, Taliyah Brooks (pentathlon), Payton Chadwick (60-meter hurdles) and Lexi Jacobus (pole vault). Arkansas earned 90 points for its second-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
Arkansas men’s indoor track and field team earned 62.25 points for a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Razorbacks garnered three top-five event finishes including Cameron Griffith (3rd) in the 3,000 meters, the Hogs’ 4-x-400-meter relay team (4th) and Gabe Moore (5th) in the heptathlon.
The Razorbacks racked up 47 points for its 27th-place finish in women’s swimming and diving thanks in large part to a freshman national champion. Brooke Schultz capped her first NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships with a NCAA individual crown in the three-meter diving competition. It was only the third individual national diving title in school history, including the first since 1985.
A fourth NCAA Tournament berth in five seasons, netted 25 Directors’ Cup points for the Razorback soccer team. With 11 wins in 2017, Arkansas eclipsed the 10-win total for the third time in the last four years after its amazing run through the SEC Tournament, which included a tournament final berth for the second-straight year. Arkansas was the lowest-seeded team to ever make it to the conference tournament’s final match, taking out the likes of Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and top-seeded South Carolina along the way.
After both the Arkansas men’s and women’s teams won the SEC Cross Country Championship in October for the fifth consecutive year, the two squads earned top-15 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 18.
Ascending from its 15th-place national ranking prior to the race, the men’s cross country team battled to its second-consecutive top-five finish at the NCAA Cross Country meet. Seniors Jack Bruce, Austen Dalquist and Alex George finished 13th, 43rd and 51st respectively to lead the Razorbacks. Bruce’s 13th-place finish garnered All-America honors for the third-consecutive year while leading Arkansas to a top-five finish. Arkansas earned 75 points for its fifth-place finish and now has ranked in the top-10 nationally in five of the past eight seasons.
The Arkansas women’s cross country team raced to a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championship to earn 63 points. The Razorbacks were led by sophomore Carina Viljoen, who finished 48th in her first national race. Dating back to its 14th-place finish at the 2011 Championships, the Razorbacks have finished in the top-20 seven-consecutive years, including three top-15 finishes in the past four years.
Arkansas tallied 839 points and finished 20th last year in the 2016-17 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, the ninth top 30 finish in the past decade. The Razorbacks’ also earned a top-25 finish in the final ranks for the eighth time since the previously independent men’s and women’s athletics programs were combined in 2008.
The Directors’ Cup program has been tracking the success of the nation’s top intercollegiate athletics programs since 1993-94.