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A Well-Balanced Athletics Program


Stephanie Garcia

At the University of Virginia, the term "student-athlete" is a distinction that retains its meaning. Track and field star Stephanie Garcia is a case in point. A three-time All-American, she holds the all-time Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) record in the steeplechase and won two ACC steeplechase titles during her career. A double major in English and government who is now pursuing graduate studies at U.Va., Ms. Garcia also received All-Academic honors from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Third-year pitcher Danny Hultzen is another example of an athlete who has maintained high standards in competition and in the classroom. A history major, he was named a Capital One First-Team Academic All-American. This year, after twelve wins and a 1.37 ERA, he became the first Virginia baseball player to earn first-team All-America honors three times. Mr. Hultzen is also U.Va.'s all-time career leader in wins and strikeouts and was selected by the Seattle Mariners with the second overall pick in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft—the highest draft selection in U.Va. baseball history.

Fielding Championship Teams

While encouraging students to find the proper balance between academic and athletic performance, the University also strives to sustain excellence across all sports. Its standing in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup competition is a direct indicator of a university's success in promoting such a balanced program. This year, U.Va. placed seventh in the Directors' Cup standings, thanks in part to top-ten performances in several sports.

The highlight of the year was the men's lacrosse team's victory over the Maryland Terrapins in the NCAA Championship. Virginia entered the tournament seeded just seventh, but steadily advanced, beating Bucknell, Cornell, and Denver. The victory marked the fifth time Virginia has taken home the lacrosse NCAA title. Other program-best finishes in NCAA postseason competition were second place by the men's tennis team, a tie for third by the baseball team, fourth by the women's golf team, and eighth by the men's swimming and diving team. The field hockey team reached the NCAA tournament's semifinals for the second consecutive year, and the women's rowing team finished sixth at the NCAA Championships.

The Cavaliers chalked up a similarly impressive record in ACC play. Virginia won five ACC Championships in 2010–11: baseball, women's rowing, men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, and men's tennis. The Cavaliers have now won forty-seven ACC Championships in the last nine years, more than any other conference school during that period. In some sports, the Cavaliers have built dynasties. The women's rowing team has been the ACC champion eleven times in the last twelve years, while men's swimming and diving finished first twelve times in the last thirteen seasons.