Westmont’s athletics program  is ranked in the Top 10 in the first release of the 2007-08 NAIA U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup  standings. The Director’s Cup awards points to an institution based on how each sport finishes at a national level. The Warriors are tied for 10th place with St. Xavier (Ill.).

“This is encouraging to me and a tribute to the good work that was done in the fall, both by our coaches and by our student-athletes,” said Westmont Athletic Director Dave Wolf. “We want to be in the top 25 annually in the Director’s Cup ranking. From that vantage point, we have hit a mark that we want to hit. I know that staying there is a challenge, but my hope is that this will serve as a motivator for our entire staff to keep aiming for that.”

Westmont men’s and women’s cross country  led the way for the Warriors in point accumulation. A 16th place finish at nationals for the men’s program, and 17th for the women, earned the Warriors 42 and 40 points, respectively, in the cup standings. Men’s and women’s soccer  also contributed to the totals. The men’s program  garnered 37.5 points for a top-32 finish while the women’s program brought in 25 points. Westmont tallied 144.5 points.

The Sports Academy Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics  (NACDA) and USA Today. The U.S. Sports Academy, based in Daphne, Ala., is the program sponsor. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 12 sports — six women’s and six men’s.

“What I love about (placing 10th) is that as we look at the future and continuing to develop our program, we want everyone to come along for the ride,” said Wolf. “Whether it is facilities or scholarship levels or whatever the enhancements happen to be, we want to lift up every program. We don’t like the ‘major- minor’ terminology or the ‘tiered’ terminology. We like the idea that all of our coaches and athletes have equal opportunity to excel.”

The next release of the NAIA standings is set for mid-December and will including points earned for volleyball. Westmont finished 48th in the 2006-07 Directors’ Cup standings.

Ron Smith is Westmont College‘s sports information director.