For the third consecutive academic year, Merrimack College has found itself among the Northeast-10 Conference’s elite programs, as the athletic department placed fourth in the 2015-16 NE-10 Presidents’ Cup standings, which were unveiled at the league’s annual end-of-year meetings and banquet on Monday.
Merrimack claimed a top-four spot in the league’s most prestigious yearlong award for the third year in a row, and had plenty of contributions in getting to that point. Among the highlights were a second consecutive league championship by the women’s golf team, eight teams qualifying for their respective league tournament, six that placed third or higher in their respective regular season standings, and historic finishes by the men’s and women’s track & field teams at both league championship meets.
After finishing with 145.0 points at the end of last spring, Merrimack concluded the 2015-16 academic year with an impressive point total of 170.5 – finishing just 5-1/2 points out of second place – to earn the No. 4 spot in the standings. The only other times Merrimack finished higher than fourth – which it has done now on four occasions (2004-05; 2013-14; 2014-15; 2015-16) – was its lone first-place finish in 1999-2000, its two second-place finishes (1998-99, 2000-01) and four third-place finishes.
The spring season saw Merrimack add 61 more points to its yearlong total; the men’s lacrosse and men’s tennis teams each placed second in their respective regular season standings, as the former finished as the runner-up in this spring’s NE-10 Championship, while the latter advanced to the league tournament’s semifinal round. Both the baseball and softball teams qualified for their respective NE-10 Championship with a third- and fourth-place finish in the Northeast Division, respectively, while the men’s and women’s track & field teams put a bow on their most successful season to date with a fifth- and third-place finish, respectively, at the league’s outdoor championship meet.
Merrimack was ranked second in the fall Presidents’ Cup Standings after soaring out of the gate with 80.5 points and picked up 29 more points during the winter season to move into fourth place, where it would stay through the remainder of the academic year.
Adelphi University claimed its third Presidents’ Cup in four years by finishing with 194.0 points, as the Panthers earned the most points in the fall and spring seasons to finish 18 points higher than the next-closest school.
Bentley University, which moved into first place after a strong winter season, capped off a strong academic year in second place – moving up from a sixth-place finish in 2014-15 – with 176.0 points, only three ahead of last year’s champion, Stonehill, who totaled 173.0 points.
Rounding out the top five was Southern New Hampshire University with 160 total points, jumping up three spots from eighth place last year. Sixth place went to Assumption College with 147.5 points, followed by Le Moyne College in seventh with 141. Completing the top-10 were Franklin Pierce University (140 pts.), American International College (135.5) and Southern Connecticut State University (132.5).
The Presidents’ Cup is presented annually to signify overall athletic excellence in the Northeast-10. The honor is awarded to the institution that compiles the most cumulative points based on finishes in the regular season standings from all of its programs competing in league championships.
Points for men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field, and men’s and women’s golf are awarded based on placement in those sports’ respective conference championships.
Point totals for the spring season were garnered by NE-10 schools’ performances in the sports of baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field and men’s tennis.
2015-16 Northeast-10 Conference Presidents’ Cup Standings
1. Adelphi – 194.0 Points
2. Bentley – 176.0
3. Stonehill – 173.0
4. Merrimack – 170.5
5. Southern New Hampshire – 160.0
6. Assumption – 147.5
7. Le Moyne – 141.0
8. Franklin Pierce – 140.0
9. American International – 135.5
10. Southern Connecticut – 132.5
11. New Haven – 106.5
12. Saint Rose – 103.0
13. Saint Anselm – 95.5
14. Pace – 78.0
15. Saint Michael’s – 57.0
Mike McMahon has covered Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune since 2006 and he also has been a senior writer at College Hockey News since 2005.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN and you can follow the site @TheMackReports.