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Penn State Ranked Second In Final Learfield Cup Winter Standings

For the sixth consecutive year, Penn State finished in the top three in the final winter rankings of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup. The Nittany Lions earned a second-place ranking in the final edition of the winter rankings, up a spot from last week.

With 859.00 Directors’ Cup points, Penn State trails Stanford (1,101.5) and is narrowly ahead of North Carolina (823.5) and conference foe Wisconsin (748.5). The Big Ten leads with four conference representatives in the top 10 spots.

The last time Penn State failed to finish inside the top five was in 2005. After finishing fourth in the final fall standings — its best since 2011 — the Nittany Lions benefited from nine winter teams competing in NCAA championships. Of course, the football team left New York City victorious following the Pinstripe Bowl, and women’s gymnastics competed at the NCAA regional in Oklahoma to scurry past North Carolina for second place.

Three individual athletes additionally won NCAA championships. Matt Brown wrestled to a national crown in the 174-pound championship, freshman gymnast Thad Lawson’s floor exercise earned him national title honors, and freshman fencer Andrew Mackiewiscz claimed first in the men’s sabre at fencing nationals.

Penn State’s now competed in 15 NCAA Championships after nine more followed suit in the winter. It seeks it 11th Top 10 Directors’ Cup finish in the competition’s 22-year existence. Penn State finished fifth last year.

The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup is the self-proclaimed “crowning achievement in college athletics,” or “a program that honors institutions maintaining a broad-based program, achieving success in many sports, both men’s and women’s. Started in 1993-94 for Division I by NACDA and USA Today, it was expanded in 1995-96 to include Division II, III, and the NAIA.” The winner of the competition receives a crystal trophy.

Photo: Mark Selders/GoPSUSports

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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