Cougars Open New Year in Eighth Place in Sears Cup Rankings

PROVO, Utah (January 6) - Led by strong women's cross country, soccer and volleyball teams, the BYU athletic program sits in eighth position in the Sears Cup fall standings heading into 2000.

A total of 202 points were scored by the Cougars in fall sports, headlined by 100 points picked up by the women's cross country team that won a national title November 22. The men earned 22 points for their 30th-place finish. Also scoring for BYU were the women's volleyball team, whose appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16 was good for 50 points, and the women's soccer team, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, good for an additional 30 points.

The Sears Cup is awarded annually to the best overall athletic program in the nation. Points are awarded based on the national finishes of men's and women's teams in NCAA-sanctioned sports. Last year, the Cougars finished 12th, their highest season-ending ranking ever.

Stanford is the early leader in the rankings with 385 points, followed by UCLA (307), Michigan (262), North Carolina (258), Penn State (245), Arkansas (220), Connecticut (210) and BYU (202). Colorado State is next among Mountain West Conference schools, placing 62nd, followed by Utah in 78th.