The Virginia Cavaliers closed out the 2020-21 athletics season with an 11th place finish in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup. It’s the 14th straight top-25 finish for the Hoos, and Virginia is one of 10 schools to finish in the top 30 all 27 years that the challenge has existed. National Championships in men’s lacrosse and women’s swimming and diving contributed to Virginia’s strong finish. The Cavaliers were one of four schools that finished with multiple national titles, alongside Texas (three), USC (three), and Kentucky (two).
Texas finished No. 1 for the first time, and it’s just the second time that a school not named Stanford has taken the top spot. North Carolina won the initial Director’s Cup in 1993-94.
Virginia won three acc tournament titles in 2020-21 — women’s swimming and diving, rowing, and men’s tennis — and finished first in the regular season in men’s basketball and women’s tennis. Several Cavaliers earned individual national titles as Michaela Meyer won the 800m race at the Track and Field championships and Emma Navarro captured the women’s tennis individual crown.
The Cavaliers also had success in baseball (College World Series appearance), women’s soccer (College Cup appearance), and both men’s and women’s tennis (Round of 16 appearances for both). Women’s rowing finished fifth at the NCAA Championship, and men’s swimming and diving finished ninth overall.
Virginia Football turned down a bid to a bowl game as a result of the pandemic, potentially keeping the Hoos out of the top-10. Overall, it was an undeniably successful season for Cavalier athletics.
“This has been an amazing year for a lot of reasons and the performances of our teams and our Directors’ Cup finish shows how well our coaches and student-athletes met those challenges,” Athletic Director Carla Williams stated. “I am so proud of how our entire department performed considering the circumstances. Winning two national championships and seeing several individuals crowned national champions was fantastic. For our student-athletes and coaches to manage the hurdles and protocols put before them on a daily basis to be able to compete, that was the real victory.
“There were so many outstanding performances and highlights that were a real positive and inspiration for all of our fans and supporters. We look forward to ensuring our sports programs are a source of great pride for the University, the community and the Commonwealth.”
Stanford finished second, followed by Michigan, North Carolina, and Florida. The Cavaliers were No. 2 in ACC standings, with No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 16 Florida State, No. 21 Duke, and No. 23 NC State all ranking in the top-25. All ACC schools finished in the top-75 as Boston College rounded out the conference at No. 74.
After everything was canceled in 2019-20 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s nice to celebrate success on the field, court, pool, and more. On to 2021-22!