Hillcats Earn Program's Highest Finish in Learfield Cup Standing
CLAREMORE, Okla. - Rogers State completed the 2011-12 season with the program’s highest finish in the NAIA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, a competition ranking the national finish of athletic teams for close to 300 universities.
The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish during National Championship events in up to 12 sports — six women’s and six men’s.
Although RSU only has 10 sports, it finished 53rd in the nation with 230 points, leaping up 55 spots from the 2010-11 season. The Hillcats enjoyed their most successful year in the program’s short seven-year history. The baseball team led the way as the Diamond Cats won the Hutchison Bracket at the NAIA Opening Round, clinching their first trip to the NAIA World Series. RSU made a magical run through the World Series, finishing as the national runner-up, garnering 90 points for RSU in the Learfield standings.
Men’s and women’s basketball tallied 70 points apiece as they each reached the semifinals at the NAIA National Tournament. The women’s basketball team received an at-large bid to the national tournament for the second consecutive season and reached the round of eight for the first time, knocking off No.6 University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) and Shorter (Ga.). The Hillcat men’s basketball team matched their best finish in program history as they reached the round of eight at the NAIA Tournament.
Azusa Pacific (Calif.) claimed the top spot in the final NAIA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings. The Cougars tallied 918.00 total points in 12 sports en route to their eighth straight Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup.
Rogers State set a new standard for success in 2011-12 as all programs had winning records and qualified for postseason play. The Hillcats registered their most combined wins with 152 on the year and boasted a 66-percent winning clip, the highest winning percentage in program history. Women’s cross country runner Brenda Felipe won RSU’s first Sooner Athletic Conference Individual Championship and represented the Hillcats at the NAIA Women’s Cross Country Championships. Men’s and women’s golf each registered team tournament titles for the first time and freshman Bradley Phelps became the first golfer to earn all-conference honors.