Centre Athletics poised to win SAA Presidents Trophy
After winning the Southern Athletic Association’s Presidents Trophy in the conference’s inaugural year, Centre teams have continued that success into the 2013-14 year with the school holding a significant lead upon the release of the fall standings.
Points in the Presidents Trophy standings are awarded for finish in final regular season standings for those sports that play a regular season and are awarded for order of finish in championship play for those sports that do not. The fall of 2013 was one of the most successful all-around seasons in recent history for Centre’s teams, with four teams capturing a share of their SAA championships and no team finishing lower than fourth among the conference’s seven sponsored fall sports.
“Coming off a successful fall season, we are honored to see Centre atop the Presidents Cup standings at this point,” said Brad Fields, Centre’s Director of Athletics. “The SAA is an impressive collection of outstanding liberal arts institutions that share a desire to pursue excellence on and off the fields and courts. This is another measure of the hard work and dedication of our student athletes and coaches.”
During the fall, Centre captured regular season conference championships for field hockey and women’s soccer along with postseason championships in men’s and women’s cross country and women’s soccer. Centre earned 330 points toward the Presidents Trophy through the fall season, a 77.5 point lead over second place Rhodes, which finished the fall with 252.5 points. Berry was third with 237.5, followed closely by Sewanee’s 215. Millsaps (197.5), Birmingham-Southern (195), Hendrix (105) and Oglethorpe (77.5) rounded out the conference scoring.
Centre was especially strong in women’s sports, winning three of four conference titles with volleyball finishing second. The Colonels scored 200 points in women’s standings to beat out second place Rhodes with 150, while in men’s standings, Centre edged Millsaps 130-127.5 for the top spot.
The men’s and women’s cross country programs were repeat SAA champions after winning the league’s championship meet in its first year in 2012. The men won four meets and the women three on the season, with Lisa Owens earning SAA Coach of the Year honors on both the men’s and women’s side. Senior John Kieffer was named SAA and South/Southeast Region Runner of the Year and qualified for the NCAA Championships as an individual after winning the regional meet.
The women’s soccer team was also a repeat SAA winner in both the regular season and conference tournament after posting a 16-5-2 overall record and 6-0-1 SAA record. The team placed nine players on the All-SAA team and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.
The field hockey team had a historic season as well, setting a school record for wins with a 16-5 overall record while winning the regular season SAA crown with a perfect 8-0 mark in conference play. Though the Colonels fell in the championship game of the SAA Tournament, they qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second time and made Centre’s deepest tournament run, knocking off No. 20 Lynchburg before falling 1-0 to No. 4 Christopher Newport in the NCAA Sweet 16. Head coach Jenelle Anthony was named SAA Coach of the Year with senior Chelsea Klein being selected as SAA Offensive Player of the Year and a NFHCA First Team All-American.
The teams that did not win conference championships in the fall enjoyed their share of success as well.
The volleyball team went 23-5 overall and set a school record with an .821 winning percentage while 12-2 and finishing second in the SAA. The football team went 7-3 overall and 4-2 in SAA competition while setting or tying 12 school records. A total of 15 football players earned All-SAA honors, and head coach Andy Frye recorded his 100th career win in the season finale against Birmingham-Southern. The men’s soccer team went 9-6-3 overall, 3-3-1 in the conference and led the league with 0.78 goals against average and eight shutouts.
“This fall was one for the record books,” Fields added. “It was a thrill to be a part of the broad-based success of our teams. Knowing the academic rigors and intensive learning environment that transforms our young people during their ‘Centre Experience’ and then watching them compete at such a high level in their sports is truly the best part of my job.”
With competition finished for a third of the SAA’s 21 sports, Centre holds an even wider lead than it did in winning the Presidents Trophy last year. For the 2012-13 year, Centre finished with a 905-762.5 lead over second place Rhodes. The 2012-13 Presidents Trophy victory marked Centre’s sixth across its time in the SAA, SCAC and CAC.
Learn more about Centre Athletics.
By Matt Montavon, Centre College sports information director