June 6, 2012
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
With four Top 10 national finishes, led by a NCAA II championship in men's basketball and second place in women's rowing, Western Washington University placed 13th nationally among 310 NCAA Division II schools in the final 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings released today.
It is the Vikings' fourth straight Top 15 finish. They placed sixth in 2009-10, seventh in 2010-11 and 10th in 2008-09.
"The consistency that this program has shown, especially in the last few years, has been outstanding," said WWU director of athletics Lynda Goodrich (25th year). "It is a testament to the hard work of our student-athletes, coaches and staff."
The Vikings finished with 521.50 points, 114.00 in the fall, 189.00 in the winter and 218.50 in the spring.
WWU's national placing was the highest among Great Northwest Athletic Conference schools.
Besides the one-two national finishes in men's basketball and women's rowing, the Vikings were ninth nationally in men's golf, 10th in men's cross country and 12th in women's cross country.
WWU also reached the West Regional semifinals in women's basketball.
Grand Canyon (Ariz.) won the Division II championship with 925.50 points. Grand Valley State (Mich.), which had a streak of eight straight titles snapped, was second at 894.00.
WWU was the GNAC all-sports champion for the fourth straight year and for the eighth time in the 11-year history of the league. The Vikings captured conference titles in men's track, men's golf and women's golf. They also placed second in volleyball, women's soccer, men's cross country, women's basketball, and women's indoor track.
The Vikings have now had nine straight top 50 national finishes and been among the top 100 in each of their first 14 seasons as a NCAA II member.
The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup is a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's NCAA finish in up to 14 sports - seven women's and seven men's.
While having success in competition, Western student-athletes continued to be outstanding in the classroom. The Vikings' graduation rate of 69 percent was 14 percent higher than the NCAA II national average. Using the NCAA Academic Success Rate, WWU graded out to 88 percent, 15 percentage points higher than the NCAA II national average.
And WWU student-athletes also were involved in the community, raising $12,600 in an American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraiser. Earlier this year, they raised over $2,000 from four other fundraisers - Dig Pink (volleyball), Pink Zone (women's basketball), Coaches vs. Cancer (men's basketball), and Strikeout Cancer (softball).