From staff reports
For the second time in the last four years, the Clayton State University Department of Athletics has finished among the top three schools in the Peach Belt Conference Commissioner's Cup standings announced by the league office in Augusta, GA.
Clayton State placed third out of 12 schools in the Cup, which measures overall team success in the league for an academic calendar year. The Lakers finished behind north metro-Atlanta rival Kennesaw State University and the University of North Florida, two schools that will be leaving the Peach Belt next season, moving up to NCAA Division I.
"I'm extremely proud of our accomplishments this year," said longtime athletic director Mason Barfield. "This is by far our best season at the NCAA Division II level with four of our eight teams, advancing to the NCAA National Championships and winning a conference and tournament championships. "Our Athletics program has come a long way in a relatively short period of time." Behind Kennesaw State, North Florida and Clayton State atop the standings, USC Upstate finished fourth in front of Georgia schools Columbus State and Armstrong Atlantic State, rounding out the top six. Francis Marion came in seventh place, followed by GC&SU, USC Aiken, UNC Pembroke, Lander and Augusta State.
The Cup ratings are determined by taking the maximum number of points available to each school, which is dependent on the number of sports each school has in the Peach Belt, and dividing by the number of points won, which is based on how each school's individual sports placed in the conference.
Home of 23 national championships since its inception in 1991, the PBC is arguably the top NCAA Division II conference in the country.
The Lakers top finish in 2004-05 was in women's basketball with the Lakers, winning the PBC Championship along with the tournament championship. Out of Clayton State's eight team sports in the Peach Belt competition, five of the Laker teams placed third or better this season.
Individually, Clayton State also had a banner year with seven student-athletes named All-America, a NCAA scoring leader in women's soccer, the PBC Player of the Year in women's soccer, a runner-up at the NCAA Women's National Cross Country Championships, the PBC Women's Runner of the Year, the PBC Women's Cross Country Freshman of the Year, the International Collegiate Tennis Association's Rookie of the Year and the PBC Women's Tennis Freshman of the Year. This year's third place finish matches Clayton State's best finish in the standings of third attained in the 2001-02 season. The Lakers have placed in the top five three out of the last four years.