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Penn State Posts 11th Consecutive Top 5 Winter Finish in Learfield Directors' Cup

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Zain Retherford
April 25, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Powered by the wrestling team's fifth NCAA Championship in the past six years and Top 10 finishes by men's gymnastics and men's and women's fencing, Penn State Athletics has earned its 11th consecutive Top 5 finish in the Learfield Directors' Cup winter standings.

In the final winter Directors' Cup standings, Penn State is ranked No. 5, moving up five spots from the final fall standings. The last time the Nittany Lions finished outside the Top 5 in the winter standings was in 2004-05. The Nittany Lions have finished in the Top 10 in the final winter rankings in 22 of the 23 years of the Directors' Cup, with 18 Top 5 finishes.

Penn State and Stanford are the nation's only institutions to place in the Top 5 in the final winter Directors' Cup standings in each of the past 11 years. Michigan is next with eight Top 5 finishes in the past 11 years. The Nittany Lions and Cardinal also are the nation's only institutions to place in the Top 10 in the final fall Directors' Cup standings in each of the past nine years.

"The Directors' Cup is among the metrics we use to gauge comprehensive excellence and we are pleased to be in the Top 5," stated Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. "We have had many team and individual championships and accomplishments and, with everyone's continued to work hard, we are very enthusiastic about our future."

Jessie Radanovich

Stanford leads the Directors' Cup and is followed by Ohio State (868 points), Michigan (782.5), Minnesota (718.25), Penn State (667.5), North Carolina (628), Notre Dame (594), Florida (589.75), Texas (589) and Syracuse (586.5). Institutions from the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast and Pac-12 conferences claimed the top 10 spots in Learfield Directors' Cup standings.

In the latest compilation, the Penn State men's gymnastics team earned 73 Directors' Cup points by placing fifth at the NCAA Championships. Led by Coach Randy Jepson, the No. 8 seeded Nittany Lions were the only team outside of the top six seeds to advance to the final round of the team competition. Senior Trevor Howard earned four All-America performances to give him seven honors in his career.

The Nittany Lion women's gymnastics team delivered 46.5 Directors' Cup points. Directed by Coach Jeff Thompson, Penn State competed in the NCAA regional at Michigan and sophomore Briannah Tsang qualified for the floor exercise at the NCAA Championships.

Led by a pair of national champions and five finalists, the Penn State wrestling team was dominant in winning its fifth NCAA title in the past six years, scoring 123 points to runner-up Oklahoma State's 97.5. Directed by Coach Cael Sanderson, Nico Megaludis won the 125-pound national title and Zain Retherford captured the 149-pound crown to help give Penn State 100 Directors' Cup points.

Trevor Howard

The Penn State men's and women's fencing teams earned 72 Directors' Cup points for their sixth place finish at the NCAA Championships. Sophomore Andrew Mackiewicz earned his second consecutive NCAA championship in men's sabre and junior Jessie Radanovich captured the NCAA title in women's epee. Under the direction of Coach Wes Glon, the duo delivered Penn State fencing's 28th and 29th NCAA individual titles all-time.

Guided by Coach John Gondak, first-team indoor track and field All-Americans Rachel Fatherly and Brannon Kidder also boosted Penn State's Directors' Cup total, with the teams combining for 39 points.

Directed by Coach Tim Murphy, the Penn State women's swimming and diving squad earned 48.5 Directors' Cup points with its 25th place finish at the NCAA Championships. Senior Melissa Rodriguez broke the school record in the 200 breaststroke to place 11th and the 400 free relay unit finished 15th.

The Penn State men's swimming and diving team earned 15 Directors' Cup points and was led by freshman Hector Garcia Boissier, who finished 15th in one meter diving at the NCAA Championships. The Nittany Lions had three divers qualify for the NCAA meet for the first time since 1998.

The Learfield Directors' Cup standings will be updated later in the spring.

Penn State was No. 8 in the final 2014-15 Learfield Directors' Cup standings, earning its third consecutive Top 10 finish and 11th overall. The Nittany Lions are among only nine programs nationwide to have finished in the Top 25 in all 22 Learfield Directors' Cup final standings.

Penn State student-athletes have an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 88 percent and have earned 191 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America selections, the fourth-highest total among Division I programs. The Nittany Lions have won 76 team national championships and 97 Big Ten Conference crowns all-time and their 29 NCAA Championships since 1992-93 are the most of any Big Ten institution.

The Learfield Directors' Cup standings were developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 20 sports -- 10 women's and 10 men's.

For Penn State Athletics social media links, go to: GoPSUsports.com/ot/socialmedia.html.

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