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Soaring higher: The best year yet for Athletics

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Junior pole vaulter Ryan Brown was a national champion in both indoor and outdoor track. | Photo by Cynthia Brown
Junior Sarah Porter, a distance runner, earned All-American honors for the second straight year in three sports and placed second nationally in cross country. | Photo by Jordan Stead

With back-to-back top 10 national all-sports ratings – the two highest in school history – and a sixth consecutive national championship, WWU Athletics are at an all-time high.

The Vikings placed sixth in the 2009-10 Division II Learfield Sports Directors Cup standings among 310 schools, and first in the West Region. WWU placed 10th in 2008-09. The Directors Cup honors broad-based collegiate programs with success in both men’s and women’s athletics.

Leading the way was the women’s rowing team with a sixth consecutive national championship. No other NCAA team in any division has won as many national rowing titles.

Western’s cross country and track and field teams provided the core of Western’s success. In cross country, the men placed fourth nationally and the women placed eighth, the two highest finishes in school history. In indoor track, the women tied for 14th nationally and the men tied for 16th, and in outdoor track, both teams tied for 18th.

Western also won its second straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-sports title – WWU’s sixth in the nine-year history of the conference.

Individuals shined, too. Junior pole vaulter Ryan Brown was a national champion in both indoor and outdoor track. Junior Sarah Porter, a distance runner, earned All-American honors for the second straight year in three sports and placed second nationally in cross country.

Aside from their athletic success, Viking student-athletes have also excelled academically. In 2009-10, 30 athletes were honored by the NCAA Division II Athletic Directors Association for cumulative grade point averages of 3.5 or higher, and 16 Vikings were named national scholar athletes.