Wildcats return to top 10 with No. 8 placing in final 2011-12 Directors’ Cup standings

Directors' CupBy Rory Miller – Assistant Sports Information Director

Re-Posted from: Chico State Athletics

One of the most successful years in Chico State Athletics history has resulted in the Wildcats being ranked among the top 10 Division II sports institutions in the country. Thanks to 11 of the school’s 13 NCAA-sanctioned programs qualifying for national championship competition, Chico State finished the 2011-12 academic year in eighth place in the annual Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings. The accomplishment marks the 11th straight time the Wildcats have finished among the nation’s top 30 schools, and the fourth time in nine years Chico State has cracked the top 10.

The Wildcats piled up a school-record 600 points en route to the No. 8 ranking, exceeding the previous high of 588.5 points when Chico State finished third in the Directors’ Cup race in 2004-05.

The year started on an extremely promising note with both the men’s and women’s cross country teams finishing in the top 10 national rankings. Both Wildcat soccer teams also made NCAA Championship appearances during the fall, with Kim Sutton’s women’s squad winning the West Regional and reaching the Final Four for the first time in that program’s history.

The Chico State men’s and women’s basketball teams both added to the Directors’ Cup point total during the winter. The Wildcat women made their eighth NCAA Championship appearance in the last 10 years, while the men – on the strength of their first California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular season title – earned the program’s first NCAA Championship Tournament bid since the 2004-05 season and reached the second round for the first time since 1958.

The spring saw no less than five Chico State programs compete for national championships. The Chico State men’s golf team came up just short of winning it all, finishing as the runner-up in the NCAA Championships in Simpsonville, Ky. The CCAA co-champion Wildcat baseball team won the West Regional to return to the College World Series for the eighth time in the last 16 years, while the Chico State softball team made its third straight NCAA Championship Tournament appearance. Chico State men’s and women’s CCAA champion track & field teams combined to send six athletes to the NCAA Championships in Pueblo, Colo., coming away with four All-America performances. J. Patrick Smith earned the national championship for the ’Cats in the decathlon, helping lead the men to a 16th place finish. The women’s track & field team finished 52nd in the nation.

Chico State earned its first top 20 Directors’ Cup ranking by finishing 17th in 2001-02, and followed that up with finishes of 28th, fifth, third, eighth, 17th, 25th, 22nd, 12th, 26th and eighth, respectively.

Grand Canyon University took top honors in the Directors’ Cup standings, ending the eight-year reign of Grand Valley State (Mich.), which finished second.

Programs compile Directors’ Cup points in up to 14 sports (seven male and seven female). What makes Chico State’s stretch of high finishes remarkable is that the competition recognizes a school’s best finishes out of 32 sports, but the Wildcats only feature 13.

Chico State’s 2011-12 Directors’ Cup Contributions

Men’s Golf – 90 points; Women’s soccer – 83 points; Men’s cross country – 80 points; Baseball – 73 points; Women’s cross country – 69 points; Men’s Track & Field – 58.5 points; Men’s basketball – 50 points; Men’s soccer – 25 points; Women’s basketball – 25 points; Softball – 25 points; Women’s Track & Field – 21.5 points.

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