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Closing In On The Cup

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Photo by Chris Baker
Azusa Pacific's appearance in the men's tennis national semifinals was one of five top-ten finishes for the Cougars' spring sports in 2012.

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May 31, 2012
Joe Reinsch

Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup 2011-12 Spring Standings

AZUSA, Calif. -- All of Azusa Pacific’s spring sports qualified for their respective national championships, and five top-ten finishes have added 381 points to the Cougars’ NAIA-leading 2011-12 Directors’ Cup total, which now stands at 1,054 points. Second place currently belongs to Shorter University with 853 points, while Lindsey Wilson College (745 points), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (733.5 points), and Oklahoma Baptist University (715.25 points) round out the top-five.

The first spring standings announced Thursday include every spring championship offered by the NAIA except for baseball, which concludes on June 1, and the Cougars are the only NAIA school to score at least 300 points in all three of the sport championship seasons (fall, winter, and spring).

Azusa Pacific gained 90 points for the men’s track & field team’s runner-up finish at last week’s NAIA National Championship meet in Marion, Ind., and the women’s track & field team claimed third place for another 85 Directors’ Cup points.

The Cougars’ men’s and women’s tennis programs accounted for another 153 points, thanks to the men’s semifinals appearance (83 points) and the women’s team advancing to the national quarterfinals for the eighth time in nine years for another 70-point contribution. Softball added 53 points to the spring sports tally after winning two of three games in national tournament pool play, as the Cougars made back-to-back NAIA Tournament appearances for just the second time in program history.

Azusa Pacific opened this year with the largest fall lead ever for an NAIA school in the Directors’ Cup program, and the Cougars pushed that lead to 129 points over second place following the winter sports season.

The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup program awards points based on an institution’s finish in up to 12 NAIA championship sports (six women’s and six men’s). The final set of standings, which officially announce the 2011-12 NAIA Directors’ Cup champion, will be announced on Wednesday, June 13.