Sagehens Earn Highest Directors’ Cup National Ranking in Program History

Cleveland, Ohio (December 22, 2016)—The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens ranked No. 19 on the final fall Learfield Directors’ Cup standings for NCAA Division III, moving up 8 spots from last season and marking the athletics program’s highest ever standing on the national list. The Sagehens finished second in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference after top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Learfield Directors’ Cup, which ranks the country’s collegiate athletic programs, awards points based on each institution’s finish in NCAA Championships. The previous best for Pomona-Pitzer fall sports was last season’s 27th-place ranking.

“It’s been a record-breaking fall season across the board for Sagehen Athletics,” said Director of Athletics Lesley Irvine. “I couldn’t be prouder of our coaches and student-athletes.”

The Sagehens just wrapped up one of the best fall seasons in history with multiple SCIAC and NCAA honors. This season, the Sagehens earned two SCIAC Championships and racked up a total of 33 All-SCIAC honorees. The program garnered three SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year awards for football, women’s soccer and men’s water polo; three SCIAC Player of the Year awards for women’s soccer (Nadia Alaiyan PO ’17), men’s water polo (James Baker PO ’17) and women’s cross country (Maya Weigel PO ’17); and three SCIAC Newcomer of the Year awards for women’s soccer (Pitzer first-year student Brianna Lau ’20), football (Karter Odermann PO ’20) and volleyball (Isabel Kelly PO ’20).

The Women’s Soccer team made its deepest run in program history with an NCAA Tournament Elite 8 appearance after earning their first SCIAC Championship since 2005 and claiming their first All-American in program history in senior center back Nadia Alaiyan.

Men’s Water Polo finished the year with a berth into NCAA play-in game, where they fell to the 2016 NCAA National Champions Cal Bears. The Sagehens claimed the 2016 SCIAC Championship with a 7-4 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and ended the year ranked—for the first time in program history—at No. 18.

Football had its best season in the past 10 years as head coach Roger Caron led the Sagehens to a 6-3 overall record and finished third in the SCIAC in his final season at the helm of the Pomona-Pitzer football program.

Women’s Cross Country ended the year with a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Regionals and Weigel repeated as SCIAC Champion. Men’s Cross Country ended the year ranked 20th in the NCAA after a 17th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. The Sagehens were ranked as high as fifth throughout the regular season and finished third at the NCAA Regional Meet.

Volleyball finished fourth in the SCIAC with a 13-13 overall record, earning a berth into a SCIAC Tournament. Men’s Soccer closed out its season with a 9-7-2 overall record and finished in fifth place in the SCIAC standings.

The Learfield Directors’ Cup, a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today,

UPDATE: This press release was revised following the updated standings released on December 22, 2016. 

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

About Sagehen Athletics

Pitzer College joins with Pomona College to field 21 varsity teams – The Sagehens – that compete in Division III NCAA athletics and as members of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). There are 10 men’s and 11 women’s teams: baseball (men), basketball, cross country, football (men), golf, lacrosse (women), soccer, softball (women), swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball (women) and water polo.

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