Jumbo Athletics Spring Semester Top 10 Highlights Selected

MEDFORD - With the majority of the winter sports season and all of the spring schedule played during the spring semester, Tufts Athletics enjoyed numerous high moments over the past six months. Like we did in the fall, we present our top 10 highlights from the spring semester. It wasn't easy ... 

10. Women’s Tennis returns to NCAA's

After missing NCAA play for the first time since 2000 in 2015, head coach Kate Bayard's Jumbos returned to NCAA action this spring. Tufts received a first-round bye and advanced to the third round. Finishing the spring as the #9 ranked team in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national poll, the Jumbos featured NCAA singles qualifier Lauren Louks as well as the NCAA doubles qualifying duo of Louks and Mina Karamercan. Both players were All-Americans.

9. Men's Swimming & Diving posts best NCAA finish in 10 years

Swimmers Michael Winget and Kingsley Bowen, along with diver Matt Rohrer all came home with a pair of All-American honors (top eight) following a strong four days at the national championship meet in Greensboro, N.C. Led by the points scored by these All-American finishes, head coach Adam Hoyt’s Tufts men earned 12th place at the NCAA meet. That's the best showing by the team at Nationals since the 2006 squad was 10th. Bowen's fourth in the 200 backstroke and Winget's fourth in the 100 back were the best Tufts finishes at NCAA's in the last 30 years. 

8. Track's Alexis Harrison dominates NESCAC's again, earns national runner-up finish

Women's Track senior Alexis Harrison repeated as the Most Outstanding Performer at the 2016 NESCAC Championship Meet in late April. She won the 100-meter dash with a meet-record 11.88 time, finished first in the 200-meter dash (25.40) and the long jump (18'6" - 5.64m), and also helped the 4x100-meter relay win the conference title for a fourth consecutive year in a meet-record time of 47.92 seconds. Indoors in the winter, Harrison was the NCAA runner-up in the 60-meter dash (7.57).

7. Baseball sets wins record, takes NESCAC title, earns best NCAA finish in region

Finishing with 35-8 mark to set a new school record for victories, the Jumbos won the NESCAC championship for the fourth time. Tufts advanced further in the NCAA Tournament than any other team in New England, reaching the Regional finals. John Casey, voted NESCAC Coach of the Year, guided Tufts to the NESCAC East Division pennant for the third straight season and eighth time overall. Tufts' 11-1 finish in the NESCAC East was its best since 2011 and earned them the right to host the NESCAC Baseball Championship at historic Holman Stadium in Nashua, N.H.

6. Men's Basketball draws huge Cousens crowds to NCAA Tournament games

School spirit was alive and well during NCAA "March Madness" at Cousens Gym. The Jumbos earned an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 2006 and hosted NCAA Regional and Sectional games in front of huge crowds at Cousens. Head coach Bob Sheldon's team advanced to the national quarterfinals with home wins over Southern Vermont, Skidmore, and Johnson & Wales. Tufts finished with a 23-7 record that was the most wins by the team since 2006. Sheldon was named D3hoops Northeast Coach of the Year.

5. Jumbos lead Academic All-NESCAC spring honorees with 140 

The 2016 spring sports teams at Tufts University placed 140 athletes on the NESCAC All-Academic Teams, which are presented to varsity letter winners in their sport with cumulative grade point averages of at least 3.35 on a 4.0 scale. The Jumbo total is more than any of the other 10 schools in the conference. This marked the second straight spring that Tufts led the conference in All-Academic honorees. Jumbos earned 313 Academic All-NESCAC honors overall for the 2015-16 year. 

4. Women's Basketball reaches NCAA championship Game in Indianapolis

Advancing to the NCAA "Final Four" for the third consecutive season, the Jumbos played in the NCAA Championship Game for the first time on April 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Though they lost 63-51 to Thomas More College in the national final, Tufts finished the season with a 28-4 record. Head coach Carla Berube’s squad also posted its third straight perfect 10-0 NESCAC season in 2016. Since 2013, the Jumbos have an impressive 88-10 mark over three seasons. They have won 31 NESCAC games in a row. 

3. Men's Lacrosse wins 7th straight NESCAC title, plays in 5th NCAA final

Tufts advanced to the NCAA Championship Game for the third year in a row and fifth time overall. The Jumbos lost a dramatic NCAA final 14-13 against Salisbury to finish the season with a 20-3 record. Tufts scored 99 goals in five NCAA games, the most ever by any team in one tournament. Head coach Mike Daly’s Jumbos also won their seventh consecutive NESCAC championship with a 16-10 victory over Middlebury. Tufts hosted an NCAA semi-final for the first time and defeated St., Lawrence 23-12 in front of a large Bello Field crowd.

2. Tufts Athletics Finishes Best-Ever 4th in Learfield Directors' Cup

Led by 15 teams who earned NCAA berths during the 2015-16 year, the Jumbo varsity athletics program finished a best-ever fourth in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Division III standings. This year's fourth improved upon the sixth-place finishes in 2005-06 and 2009-10 as the best by Tufts since the Directors' Cup began in 1995-96. This marks Tufts' fourth straight year in the top 10 and eighth overall. Points are awarded based on each institution's NCAA finish in up to 18 sports.

1.  Track's Mitchell Black caps career with 2 more NCAA titles and an NCAA scholarship

Mitchell Black completed his career as one of the most accomplished student-athletes Tufts has ever seen. He was one of two student-athletes in the country to be awarded the NCAA's 2016 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, and is the first recipient ever selected from the NESCAC. The program awards a $24,000 scholarship each year to one male and one female scholar-athlete selected from a pool of applicants from NCAA Division I, II and III schools. Black also won the NCAA 800 meters national championships indoors and outdoors for the second straight season and was the Most Outstanding Performer at the NESCAC Championship, winning both the 800 and 1,500 conference titles.

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As always, it's hard to fill out a top 10 list without making some difficult decisions. Here are a few other teams and moments that were taken into consideration:

> Softball hosts NCAA Regional, finishes as Regional runner-up

> Hockey goalie Mason Pulde receives CoSIDA Academic All-America honors

> Improving Men's Tennis squad posts 1st win over Amherst since 2004

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