FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas debuted among the nation’s top 10 intercollegiate athletics programs in the initial 2017-18 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings released on Thursday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America (NACDA). The Directors’ Cup tracks the nation’s most successful intercollegiate athletics programs for their performances throughout the year.
Arkansas, ranked No. 9, leads all SEC programs and is one of only two league programs (Ole Miss) in the top 35 of the initial standings. The standings released on Thursday included women’s field hockey, men’s cross country and women’s cross country. After both the Arkansas men’s and women’s teams won the SEC Cross Country Championship in October for the fifth consecutive year, the two squads earned top-15 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 18.
Ascending from its 15th-place national ranking prior to the race, the men’s cross country team battled to its second-consecutive top-five finish at the NCAA Cross Country meet. Seniors Jack Bruce, Austen Dalquist and Alex George finished 13th, 43rd and 51st respectively to lead the Razorbacks. Bruce’s 13th-place finish garnered All-America honors for the third-consecutive year while leading Arkansas to a top-five finish. Arkansas earned 75 points for its fifth-place finish and now has ranked in the top-10 nationally in five of the past eight seasons.
The Arkansas women’s cross country team raced to a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championship to earn 63 points. The Razorbacks were led by sophomore Carina Viljoen, who finished 48th in her first national race. Dating back to its 14th-place finish at the 2011 Championships, the Razorbacks have finished in the top-20 seven-consecutive years, including three top-15 finishes in the past four years.
Arkansas tallied 839 points and finished 20th last year in the 2016-17 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, the ninth top 30 finish in the past decade. The Razorbacks’ also earned a top-25 finish in the final ranks for the eighth time since the previously independent men’s and women’s athletics programs were combined in 2008.
The Directors’ Cup program has been tracking the success of the nation’s top intercollegiate athletics programs since 1993-94.