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Outstanding in our fields
Academic excellence comes as no surprise at Johns Hopkins University, but for many visitors to our campus, our tradition of excellence in athletics is less well-known. After the 2009-10 season, which saw the Blue Jays collect a record eight Centennial Conference Championships, that may well change.
Head Coach Bobby Van Allen's women's cross-country squad had Blue Jays Athletics off to a running start, pulling away from all competition to register the best team score in Centennial Conference Championship history in the fall. Head Coach Bob Babb's baseball squad sent the department's 2009-10 campaign out with a slam, crushing a record high 74 home runs while tallying a 37-3 record and winning a fourth consecutive conference crown this spring.
And that's just one-quarter of the story of the year for Blue Jay Athletics. Joining the women's cross-country and the baseball teams in the achievement were the football team, the men's and women's soccer teams, men's and women's tennis teams, and the women's track and field team.
Van Allen, who coached both the women's cross country and women's outdoor track & field teams to championships, earning Centennial Conference Coach of the Year honors in both sports, said that his team's attitude led to their success.
"These girls have changed the culture of our program into a very hard-working, yet extremely fun and energetic program that makes me very proud to be associated with. We have set very lofty goals for our team, and got them to believe in themselves equal to what we, the coaches, believed they could do," he said.
Success in the conference carried into the postseason as a number of JHU teams performed well in NCAA competition. The women's cross-country team finished a program-best seventh at the NCAA Championships. The women's soccer team reached the Elite Eight for the first time in program history, finishing the season ranked No. 6, while the men's team reached the Sweet 16, finishing the season ranked No. 10 in the nation. Football reached the NCAA quarterfinals while winning a record-tying 10 games this season. They finished the year ranked No. 8 in the country.
A number of student-athletes have also gathered individual honors. In the fall, offensive lineman Mike Stoffel, linebacker Colin Wixted, place-kicker Alex Lachman and running back Andrew Kase all received All-Region recognition. Kase also was named third-team All American. In men's soccer, Scott Bukoski and Kevin Hueber were named ECAC South All-Stars. Bukoski was named third-team All American, as well. Women's soccer players Jenn Paulucci, Jessica Hnatiuk and Karen Guszkowski all received ECAC South All-Star recognition while Guszkowski was named South Defensive Player of the Year and an All American. Individual honors have not been announced for the spring sports teams.
"It's remarkable how our student athletes really manage everything," Van Allen said. "Understanding the philosophy behind Division III and the academic caliber of Johns Hopkins I feel is crucial to providing the right balance on our team. I allow our students the full flexibility they need to be successful here academically, and because of that, I feel they are able to be focused on practice when that time comes. Once they learn to manage their time effectively, most all of our students find ways to be successful in everything they set out to do."
Focus on athletic achievement hasn't pulled the students away from their field of study, either. So far this year, 59 Blue Jay student-athletes have been named to the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll. Nineteen have been selected to Academic All-District and three have been selected Academic All-American by ESPN The Magazine.
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