Spring break proved to be anything but a break for Emory's nationally ranked winter sports teams. Five of its six winter teams-men's and women's swimming and diving, women's basketball, and men's and women's indoor track and field-were busy competing in their respective NCAA Division III national championships.
The women's swimming and diving team finished ninth at the NCAA championships, and the men's team placed 13th. This is the ninth time in the last 10 years that the women's squad has landed in the top 10 at the nationals. Combined, the two squads produced nine All-Americans.
Earning All-America honors in individual events were Alisha Alaimo of Marion, Ind., Jacki Lin of Jacksonville, Fla., Tracey Pavlishin of Valrico, Fla., and Lissa Wood of Roanoke, Va. Lin became a six-time All-American, a number surpassed by only one other male swimmer in school history. Pavlishin became an All-American for the fifth time in her career. Wood is only the second freshman in school history to attain All-America status in two individual events, the first being Pavlishin last year.
For the second time in three years, the women's basketball team advanced to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Division III national tournament.
The Eagles, picked to place fourth in the conference according to a coaches' preseason poll, surprised most people by amassing a 20-7 record, including a win against the then No. 1 team in the nation and eventual national champion, conference member New York University.
Emory, seeded second in the South region by the NCAA, hosted its first two games of the NCAA tournament, beating Greensboro (N.C.), 70-51, and Hendrix (Ark), 40-36. In the latter contest, the Eagles got a three-point field goal from freshman Leigh Merritt of Sarasota, Fla., with 10 seconds left for the decisive score. In the "Sweet 16" round, Emory fell, 51-43, to Millikin (Ill.), the No. 10 ranked team in the nation.
Troy Thompson of Memphis, Tenn., appeared to be a one-man team at the national indoor championships, placing third in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump. He received All-America honors in both events, making him a seven-time All-American for his career, unmatched by any track athlete in school history. His accomplishments helped Emory place 18th in team scoring. The women's track team had a pair of qualifiers, but neither advanced to the finals.
With the success of the winter sports, Emory now has qualified for the NCAA national meets in 10 of 11 sports thus far this school year. Emory is eighth in the national standings among some 400 NCAA Division III schools in the annual Sears Directors Cup competition, awarded to the school with the best all-around athletics program. Last year, Emory finished sixth in the nation.