June 5, 2014
There is good reason for Vanderbilt's teams to have an extra pep in their step these days. The Commodores are riding a wave of momentum from a storybook spring semester that is still being written.
Vanderbilt's baseball, men's golf, women's golf, men's tennis and women's tennis teams all qualified for NCAA postseason competition, and all advanced to the next round of postseason play in their respective sports. The combined accomplishments of the programs has placed Vanderbilt in an elite class by itself.
A total of 10 schools nationally, including four in the SEC, qualified for NCAA postseason competition in baseball, men's golf, women's golf, men's tennis and women's tennis. They are:
Of the 10 schools, only three won at least one NCAA Baseball Regional game, an NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Tournament match and advanced to the NCAA Men's and Women's Golf Championships. Those three schools are:
From that group, Vanderbilt is the only school to advance to the Super Regionals in baseball. The feat makes Vanderbilt the lone institution to win men's and women's tennis matches in the NCAA Tournament, advance to the NCAA Men's and Women's Golf Championships and make it to baseball Super Regionals in 2014.
Stanford, Vanderbilt's opponent in baseball this weekend advanced to the next stage of NCAA postseason competition in all but men's tennis, where the Cardinal fell in the first round.
To find the last year Vanderbilt won an NCAA Baseball Regional game, an NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Tournament match and advanced to the NCAA Men's and Women's Golf Championships, one must turn to 2007. That year, Vanderbilt's lacrosse team also qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
The last time Vanderbilt did all of the above and advanced to the Super Regionals in baseball was in 2004.
That spring remains the high-water mark for Vanderbilt athletics with the aforementioned five programs, as well as lacrosse, advancing and winning in the NCAA postseason. Additionally, the track teams scored at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track Championships that spring. To learn more about the spring of 2004, read this terrific Commodore Nation piece written by Jerome Boettcher.
This spring, Vanderbilt's teams have not just done well in the postseason - they have thrived. The men's golf team advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2007 and tied for 16th.
The women's golf team won the SEC Championship, NCAA East Regional and brought home individual medalist honors at both tournaments before tying for 10th at the NCAA Championships.
The men's tennis team hosted the NCAA First and Second Rounds, defeating Virginia Tech before falling to Columbia. Additionally, Ryan Lipman and Gonzales Austin earned All-America status in singles and doubles.
Vanderbilt's women's tennis team also hosted regionals and advanced to the Sweet 16. It was the 20th straight season Vanderbilt has made it to the NCAA Tournament, and the first time since 2003 that both teams hosted first and second round matches on campus.
The baseball team will hope to continue its postseason run Friday as the Commodores start the Super Regionals against Stanford. It is the fourth time in five years Vanderbilt has advanced to Super Regionals. During that time, the only other schools to make Super Regionals four of the last five years are Florida State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Virginia. No school has made Super Regionals five straight years.
The Commodores also experienced NCAA success in track and field. Most notably, freshman Simone Charley became the first individual to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships since 2010. Charley finished 10th in the triple jump with a record-setting jump at the NCAA East Preliminary and will compete at next week's NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.
As a team, the Commodores had participants in a school-record seven events at the NCAA East Preliminary. Nine Vanderbilt student-athletes qualified for the meet, the second most in school history.
Vanderbilt's spring success has helped vault the Commodores up the Directors' Cup standings. The Commodores are currently up to 52nd in the most recent standings released on May 29, and are poised to continue their upward ascent with baseball, men's golf and women's track still to be figured in the scoring. After finishing 46th in 2013, Vanderbilt very well could improve its overall finish for the fifth year in a row - extending its current school record.
It's been quite a year for Vanderbilt's spring sports, and there very well may be more to come.
Final Directors' Cup Standings
46th in 2013
51st in 2012
56th in 2011
59th in 2010
67th in 2009
59th in 2008
33rd in 2007
64th in 2006
71st in 2005
28th in 2004
54th in 2003
80th in 2002
68th in 2001
132nd in 2000
107th in 1999
96th in 1998
67th in 1997
61st in 1996
79th in 1995
164th in 1994
The Directors' Cup began in 1994