State of the Seawolves: UAA Athletics on the rise

What a year for the Athletic department.

The cross-country and track teams continued their dominance into 2010. The volleyball team won their first ever NCAA playoff game against Hawaii-Hilo. The ski team finished up seventh at the NCAA Championships. The women’s basketball team returned to their fourth consecutive postseason.

All of this has added to the high ranking the Seawolves now enjoy in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings. The Seawolves ranked 20th amongst all 288 NCAA Division II programs for the winter portion of the season when announced April 1.

This comes on the heels of the 14th place UAA gained after the fall portion of the season.

“It’s something we take a lot of pride in,” UAA Athletic Director Steve Cobb said. “Having quality programs across our department is important to us.”

Quality is just what the different UAA athletic programs have been this year in their own ways.

The Director’s Cup awards points to each school’s NCAA Championship finish in up to 14 events, seven men’s and seven women’s sports. UAA had to earn this ranking despite only featuring 11 sports.

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One can only think that this ranking will be on the rise after the spring portion of the Director’s Cup is completed.

The UAA track and field teams are off to tremendous starts and look to place well at their NCAA Championships in late May.

So what is the “State of the Seawolf Athletics?” Cobb was easily able to sum it all up.

“We’re graduating out student-athletes, they’re winning and conducting themselves in a first class matter,” Cobb said. “They’re bringing honor to our institution and city, and we’re very pleased with where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

The future looks bright indeed for the Athletic Department here at UAA. Perhaps new sports can even be seen on the horizon. Cobb did mention that the Athletic Department and University would possibly look into the addition of soccer and indoor track and field programs at a later, undisclosed date.

Despite all the different programs adding to the success, Cobb singled out the volleyball team as the group he was most proud of this year.

“They were at one point 10-7 and then went on a monster win streak and won the conference and got into the playoffs,” Cobb said. “It was really fun seeing that group come together and achieve new levels.”

Their GNAC championship and their amazing playoff victory was admittedly a bit sooner than expected, but a much welcome surprise.

“We thought maybe we were a year away from a championship. Thank goodness those players didn’t listen to us,” Cobb said with a laugh upon the confession.

So where do we go from here?  Well, we have a many sports looking poised to make runs at their own sport’s championships next year. And why not think the sky is the limit in 2011?

“We think there’s bigger and brighter things in store for next year,” Cobb said.