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Cougars in Cup Lead

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December 18, 2008
Gary Pine
AZUSA, Calif. – Four-time defending champion Azusa Pacific has grabbed the early lead in the 2008-09 Directors’ Cup for NAIA member institutions. The Cougars have tallied 324 points through 5 fall sports championship events and will retain the lead when the sixth and final fall sport – football – is scored after this week’s championship game between Carroll College and University of Sioux Falls.

The Cougars scored points in 4 different fall sports, collecting a maximum 100 points for winning its first-ever NAIA national championship in women’s cross country. Men’s cross country added another 90 for finishing second in its championship event. Women’s soccer picked up 70 for a fifth-place showing on the national level, and women’s volleyball tallied 64 for finishing ninth.

Concordia University (Ore.) is currently second in the Cup standings with 238 points. Indiana Tech is third with 195. A trio of California schools round out the top 5 with Cal State San Marcos at 192 points followed by Concordia University of Irvine and Fresno Pacific University which tie for fifth with 181.

Azusa Pacific, Concordia (Ore.), and Indiana Wesleyan University were the only NAIA schools to score Cup points in 4 different fall sports.

The Directors’ Cup is a national awards program that awards points based on teams’ advancement through postseason tournaments and championship meets. A national championship is worth 100 points. A runner-up finish garners 90. A third-place showing is worth 83 points and the sliding scale continues down to approximately the top 35 in any sport earning points towards the Cup. The school with the most points following the spring sports championship is crowned the annual champion. A Waterford Crystal awarded to the Directors’ Cup champions of NCAA Divisions I, II and III and the NAIA.

After posting 9 straight top ten finishes, Azusa Pacific captured its first-ever Directors’ Cup championship in 2005 and followed with titles in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The 324 points are lowest fall output by the Cougar program since winning the first Cup in 2005. However, the current 86-point gap between first and second place following the fall season is the largest an Azusa Pacific program has enjoyed in that same span of time.

The final fall standings will be released by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics on Dec. 23. The first standings including winter championships will appear on March 12.

Click here for complete Directors’ Cup standings through Dec. 18.