The Observer

Spartans No. 25 after first set of Winter Championships in Directors Cup

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One of the most successful fall athletics seasons in school history coupled with another solid campaign during the winter has earned Case Western Reserve University the No. 25 ranking in the first set of winter standings of the 2011-12 Division III Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, announced today by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

Spartan Athletics totaled 100 points during the final fall standings and has added another 119.50 over the track & field and wrestling seasons.

Case Western Reserve (219.50 points) is the second-highest ranked team from the University Athletic Association behind Washington University-St. Louis (511.50), who ranks first in the nation. Emory University (Ga.) is the third UAA squad in 30th place (193.00), while University of Chicago (Ill.) and New York University each rank in the top 100 of the 229 ranked institutions.

“Much to the credit of our student-athletes and coaches, our department continues to advance competitively while maintaining superior performance in the classroom,” said Director of Athletics Dave Diles. “We are thrilled with the results through the fall and winter sports seasons, and we are looking forward to continued success in the spring. I am very proud of our department’s collective commitment to excellence in all areas of our work.”

The jump to 25th is an enormous improvement from the 2010-11 season, when the Spartans finished 106th in the Directors Cup with 183.00 points. The Spartans were last in the UAA, six points behind 99th place Brandeis University.

During the fall, the Spartan men’s and women’s soccer teams each scored 50 points in the Directors’ Cup Standings with their first-round victories in the NCAA Championship Tournament. The women (13-4-3) set a school record for wins and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The men (15-5) won a second UAA Championship to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in team history. Both teams served as hosts for the NCAA Championship first and second rounds.

Spartan Athletics has produced three All-Americans in winter sports, one each in men’s and women’s indoor track & field and one in wrestling.

Three-time All-American senior Erin Hollinger (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon) placed third in the nation in the high jump to score 45.5 points in the standings. Senior Matthew Jurcak (Olmsted Falls, Ohio/Olmsted Falls) placed fifth in the 60-meter hurdles, adding 34.5 points, while senior three-time All-American wrestler Isaac Dukes (Ravenna, Ohio/Ravenna) placed seventh at 157 pounds to score 39.5 points.

So far, three of seven winter NCAA Championships have been completed. The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between NACDA and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 18 sports, nine women’s and nine men’s.

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Spartans No. 25 after first set of Winter Championships in Directors Cup