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July 8, 2002

Spring season propels Eagles to fifth place

John Arenberg is Emory's sports information director

Emory's athletics program completed a successful spring with several top-10 finishes at the NCAA national championships. The showing propelled Emory to a fifth-place finish in the Sears Directors' Cup standings for best all-around athletics program in NCAA Div. III.

For the seventh consecutive season, Emory University topped 25 wins, finishing with a 26-16 record.
Emory benefitted from the return of 2001 All-America outfielder Kyle Foster who batted .429 to lead the team in hitting for the second consecutive year. It was the second time in three years Foster topped .400 and the effort earned him a place on the all-region team for the third time.

Emory finished the 2002 season by winning the University Athletic Association (UAA) championship for the seventh time in eight years. The Eagles have finished first or second in the UAA every year since 1989.
Emory finished 17th in the nation in the final regular-season coaches’ poll. The Eagles had a team stroke average of 306.1 per 18 holes this season, second best in school history.

In just its fourth season of intercollegiate play, Emory finished third in the NCAA Div. III national championship tournament. The Eagles advanced to the national finals by winning the NCAA regional title for the first time, finishing with a school-record 43 wins (against 10 losses) and placing third in the final national rankings compiled by the softball coaches’ association.

Pitchers Nicole Kovski and Christine O’Brien were among the national leaders in the last NCAA regular-season statistical report (the final postseason report is expected later this month). Kovski ranked 15th nationally in wins among Div. III pitchers, and O’Brien 26th in earned run average.

Tennis (men)
Emory finished second at the NCAA Div. III national championships. The Eagles came up short, 4-3, in the finals against defending champion Williams (Mass.). Emory advanced to the championship match for the second time in school history thanks to a come-from-behind win in the semifinals in which Emory trailed 3-0 against Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.). The Eagles, with four freshmen in the starting singles lineup, ended the season with an 18-5 dual-match record.

Tennis (women)
Emory finished second at the NCAA Div. III national championships. The Eagles beat Amherst (Mass.) in the national quarterfinals, and Washington & Lee (Va.) in the semifinals, before—like the men—falling to Williams (Mass.) in the finals. Emory’s national runner-up finish was the first in school history and the fifth time it reached the final four. The Eagles concluded with an 18-4 record with its only Div. III losses being to Williams.

Track & Field (women)
Sarah Byrd and Danielle LeSure both won individual national championships at the NCAA Div. III national meet. Byrd took home the gold in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and LeSure did so in the hammer throw.

Byrd’s victory came in the first steeplechase event ever conducted at the NCAA women’s national meet. She is the third Emory athlete to attain All-America recognition in both women’s cross country and track and field.

LeSure’s triumph was a milestone because she repeated her national title from 2001, making her the second Div. III athlete ever to win back-to-back crowns in the hammer.

Track & Field (men)
The men’s outdoor track and field team finished 26th at the NCAA Div. III national championships, its best finish since 1996 (22nd) and the fourth best in school history. Two Emory athletes earned All-America honors. Chris Nehls finished fourth in the 110-meter hurdles, and Richard Hite took fourth in the 800-meter run.

Emory varsity sports updates are available on the Web at