IC jumps 30 places in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) released the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings on March 31 for the first time since 2019. After the fall of 2021, Ithaca College placed 44th in Division III of the cup, but climbed 30 spots to the 14th place thanks to the Bombers’ solid winter performance. .
The Directors’ Cup is based on each college’s post-season performance in the multiple competitions in which their women’s and men’s sports compete, with awards for all three divisions. The inclusion of multiple sports encourages colleges to produce strong programs in all sports rather than focusing on one or two. As of 2018, Division III schools are judged on their men’s and women’s football and basketball teams as well as 14 other sports with the highest point totals. Teams can earn a maximum of 100 points for winning the national championship, and points are distributed by place based on the size of the national bracket or poll.
The Bombers’ women’s basketball teams and the men’s swimming, diving, and wrestling teams all contributed heavily to the college’s rise in the rankings due to their winter success. In the Directors Cup, the Winter Sports Bombers earned a total of 364.25 points, with 56 points coming from the men’s swimming and diving team, 50 from the women’s basketball team and the wrestling team winning 46 points.
Senior Jordan Wallace, one of the college’s wrestlers, said he was impressed with the impact winter sports had on the college’s standings after the college dropped to 14th place. He said he thinks this is due to the high standards that college athletes hold themselves to.
“[We have] high standards, how we count ourselves,” Wallace said. “We are always competing with each other in the room… someone wants to pin this guy, then someone wants to pin the next guy faster. It’s a positive competition, it makes everyone want to have a higher level and stick to it.
While the Bombers climb to 14th place, they are one of six teams to appear in the top 30 since the start of the Directors Cup in 1995, along with Amherst College, Calvin University, Emory University, Middlebury College and Williams College. The ranking is the highest Ithaca College has been ranked after the winter season since joining the Liberty League in 2017. In the 2017–18 season, he landed at 16th and fell to 22nd in the 2018–19 season.
Kevin Markwardt, head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, said in his 41 years at college he’s seen the college rank all over the league.
He also talked about how much moving up the rankings means for college and athletics outside of winter performance because it shows prospective students and other colleges just how good the Bombers are.
“To me, it’s really exciting because these rankings are a big reflection on your program,” Markwardt said. “For someone recruiting like me, that’s something I try to use to my advantage. It’s a tool that helps us tell recruits that this isn’t just about our program, it’s about our sport in general.
Senior Logan Bruce, who is on the women’s track and field team, also said improving the Directors’ Cup helps boost the confidence of college athletes.
“I think it really shows the dedication student-athletes have to their respective sports,” Bruce said. “I think the fact that we’re in the top 20 in Division III is a really good boost for the confidence of the athletes, and that we really get a little reward for the school as a whole and the time we put in. our athletics.”
Graduate student Megan Yawman, a starting guard for the women’s basketball team, said athletics and her success caught her attention, leading her to commit to college as a as an undergraduate student. She also said the high ranking was more meaningful this year, because of how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted athleticsboth at the college and nationally.
“What these rankings say about Ithaca’s athleticism is that we’re the best of the best, and that’s not a one-time thing,” Yawman said. “It’s something we expect at all levels in all seasons and in all sports every year, and it’s something we’ve been able to prove. It’s just amazing that we’ve been able to do that being given where we were last time this year, and few athletic departments can bounce back and have the seasons that three seasons have.
Markwardt also said he thinks being ranked 14th speaks volumes about the college’s athleticism and the department’s efforts to achieve that level of achievement.
“I think that says a lot about our athleticism. The Learfield Cup is designed to give representation of your entire athletic department,” Markwardt said. “We’re given enough to be successful, and if you work hard, get good recruits and figure out how to make it work, you can be successful, which shows the breadth of our program and the success of many sports over the years.” a span of years, which says a lot about our athletics as a whole.