SPOKANE, Wash. - SPOKANE, Wash. – Make it five in a row. The Whitworth University athletics program dominated the Northwest Conference scene for the fifth consecutive year, claiming the 2012 McIlroy-Lewis All-Sports Trophy by its largest margin of victory ever.
Whitworth finished with 259 points in the final tally to outdistance runner-up Linfield College by 54 points. Perhaps most impressive, the Pirates scored the highest number of points among the nine conference members in all three of the academic seasons - fall, winter and spring – for the second year in row. The 54-point margin of victory surpasses the previous highest margin of 53 points, set last season.
"Winning one all-sports trophy is a high achievement, but five in a row is uncommon and an accomplishment such as this is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our coaches, athletic trainers, and staff” said Aaron Leetch, Whitworth’s Athletics Director. “However, the highest praise belongs to our student-athletes who are equally as successful in the classroom as they are in athletic competition."
The Pirates won seven NWC championships in 2011-12. Whitworth won conference titles during the fall season in men's cross country and women's volleyball and tied for the title in men’s soccer. During the winter the Pirates claimed NWC crowns in men's swimming and men's basketball. In the spring Whitworth won men's track and field and tied for the championship in baseball. In addition to the seven conference titles, Whitworth finished second in women's swimming and men’s golf and third in women’s tennis and women’s golf. Linfield was next on the list with four championships in 2011-12.
The Northwest Conference is comprised of nine private, independent universities in Washington and Oregon. The NWC All-Sports Trophy recognizes athletic excellence among Northwest Conference institutions across all fields of competition. It is named in honor of John Lewis, the baseball coach (1947-72), basketball coach (1947-67) and athletics director (1952-72) at Willamette University; and Jane McIlroy, Linfield College's women's athletics director and physical education professor from 1950-82 who also coached field hockey (1952-81), basketball, volleyball, softball and tennis.
Linfield finished in second place with 205 points in the standings, followed by Pacific Lutheran University (184). The final scores for each school can be found on the NWC website announcement.
Whitworth scored 84 points in the fall, 62 in the winter and 113 in the spring to lead all schools in each of the seasons. Linfield had the second-highest point total in both the fall (76) and in the spring (106), while Puget Sound was second in the winter with 57.
Whitworth has now won the NWC All-Sports Trophy six times, including the last five in a row. The Pirates' first All-Sports victory came in 2005. Pacific Lutheran won six times in a row from 1995 - 2000, and also won the first eight trophies from 1986-1993.
“Consistent success like this is not possible without the commitment and support of President Beck Taylor and all of our administration and faculty,” Leetch said.