Utah State Records Highest Learfield Cup Finish in School History
Tuesday, Jul. 10, 2018
Utah State Athletics recorded its best-ever finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup, as it finished the 2017-18 season No. 78 in the nation. The Aggies finished among the top half in the Mountain West (fifth), above several Power Five institutions and all but one member of the American Athletic Conference.
“I want to congratulate our student-athletes, our coaches and our administration for all of their hard work in helping Utah State to its highest finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup in school history,” Utah State Vice President and Director of Athletics John Hartwell said. “The finish is by far the best in USU history, and where we finished in the Mountain West, ahead of five Power 5 schools and all but one member of the American, we feel really good about our athletic accomplishments this year.
“We also had an outstanding year academically with an average student-athlete GPA for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 of 3.25, which is the highest average student-athlete GPA ever at Utah State. When you use these two objective measures of success, the result is the best athletic/academic year in Utah State history,” he continued. “This high level of academic and athletic success for our student-athletes is not possible without the generous support of our university administration and our loyal donors. There is a clear correlation between investment in and success output. While we are pleased with the 2017-18 successes, we feel the greatest days of Utah State athletics are in front of us.”
The Aggies finished ahead of Washington State (80), Boston College (95), Rutgers (107), Pittsburgh (111), Georgia Tech (121) and several members of the AAC, including UConn (84), South Florida (85), Central Florida (86), Wichita State (87), Cincinnati (104), Memphis (127), SMU (128), Tulsa (135), Temple (174), East Carolina (240) and Tulane (258).
Historically, Utah State’s previous best finish came during the 2000-01 season when the Aggies finished No. 98. The Aggies have also finished among the top 150 in the nation in 1999-00 (111), 1997-98 (117), 1998-99 (119) and 2001-02 (146).
Utah State earned points in the spring from men’s tennis and the men’s and women’s track & field programs as all three had strong showings at their respective NCAA Championships. The men’s tennis team appeared in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year and finished tied for 33rd in the nation, earning 25 points.
The track & field teams were paced by several All-American finishes, including first-team honors by Dillon Maggard (5k, 10k) and Sindri Gudmundsson (javelin). Seniors Clay Lambourne (800 meters) and Spencer Fehlberg (3,000-meter steeplechase) each earned second-team All-American honors en route to an 18th-place team finish at the championship, earning the Aggies 55.5 points in the Learfield standings.
On the women’s side, junior Cierra Simmons crossed the finish line in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in eighth place at the NCAA Championships with a school-record time of 9:49.33, earning first-team All-American honors. The time also helped the Aggies finish 63rd at the Championships and led to 7.75 points for the Aggies toward the Learfield Cup.
Utah State picked up 43.5 points in the standings during the winter, following a 28th-place team finish at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Utah State was paced at the championships by a fifth-place finish from the men’s distance medley relay team, composed of seniors Jordan Beutler, Brady Martin, Clay Lambourne and Maggard. Maggard also had a fifth-place individual finish in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 8:06.69 for first-team All-American honors.
The Aggies rounded out their total with 133.5 points during the fall, highlighted by a top-15 finish by the women’s cross country team at the NCAA National Championships. The men’s side also qualified as a team for the first time in school history and finished 27th at the championship, finishing ahead of Princeton, Oklahoma State, Texas and Navy. Individually, Maggard finished sixth and earned the first of five All-American honors during his decorated senior campaign.
Utah State finished with a total of 266.25 points and ranked No. 78 in the 292-team field. The Aggies are one of six schools in the Mountain West in the top 100, including Boise State (59), New Mexico (64), Air Force (68), Colorado State (77) and San Diego State (83).
The Learfield 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 in NCAA Championships.
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