(Director's) Cup runneth over

PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Anecdotally, Storm athletic teams combined to produce their best year in 2013-14. Lake Erie student-athletes combined to receive 10 all-America nods, and most of LEC's 21 squads either showed marked improvement from last year or posted their program's best single season to date. Regional and national rankings piled up to a heretofore unreached level.

And now another new level has been reached – Lake Erie finished the 2013-14 academic year ranked No. 79 in the Director's Cup standings, a broad-based ranking of 311 NCAA-II institutions. Buoyed by big performances in Baseball, Swimming & Diving, Track & Field and Wrestling, the ranking is the highest Lake Erie has ever achieved.

The No. 79 ranking is Lake Erie's best in the 19 years that the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics has published the roll of all-sports performance. LEC was tabbed at No. 95 a year ago, making its first appearance in the Director's Cup top-100.

A number of individuals and teams had big performances for LEC in 2013-14. Jamil Dudley (Men's Track & Field), Justin Goodwin (Men's Lacrosse), Reagan Harding (Men's Lacrosse), Julian Milinkovskyi (Men's Swimming & Diving), Joe Postwaite (Men's Track & Field), Evan Rosborough (Wrestling), and Zak Vargo (Wrestling) combined to earn 10 all-America awards in 2013-14 (with Dudley, Milinkovskyi and Postwaite earning two each).  The 10 all-America nods mark a Storm single-year best.

The growing national prominence of Storm athletic programs is what added up to the 2013-14 academic year being LEC's best.  In 2013-14, Lake Erie saw several teams perform well on a regional and national stage, the latter of which ultimately earns points in the Director's Cup point system.

Over the winter, Storm Wrestling – champions of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (a first in any sport for LEC) – earned points for its 25th-place finish at the NCAA-II National Championship. Men's Swimming & Diving carded a 24th-place finish at its national title meet, and Men's Track & Field twice earned top-25 finish, taking ninth at the indoor national championships and 22nd at the outdoor meet. The ninth-place finish at the indoor meet marked the best national finish in any sport in Lake Erie history.

In the spring, Lake Erie Baseball turned in its best season, finishing as a runner-up in the GLIAC and advancing to the NCAA National Championship Tournament for a first time in program history. Lake Erie won a game in the tournament and finished in a tie for 17th place in NCAA-II.

Perhaps even more impressively, Lake Erie teams posted their respective successes – whether on a conference, regional or national stage – as members of the 16-school GLIAC. In the final Director's Cup standings, the Michigan-Ohio conference boasted the top school (Grand Valley State-Mich.), the fifth-place school (Ashland), and nine schools in the top-100 which essentially marks the top third of the 311-school DII athletics field.

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