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Aug. 13, 1997

ASU Athletic Program Ranks Among the Best in the Nation

It was a good year in Arizona State athletics. Very good, in fact. The Sun Devil's nationally ranked football team made its second appearance in the Rose Bowl, the women's golf team won its fourth national championship in five years and the women's gymnastics team finished second nationally. Several teams, including baseball, softball, tennis, wrestling, swimming and diving, made postseason appearances. So what does all this success translate to? For the fourth consecutive year, ASU was ranked as one of the Top 25 collegiate athletic programs in the nation. The Devils finished 13th in the 1997 Sears Directors' Cup. Seven Pac-10 schools were ranked in the top 25, six in the top 15 programs in the country.

Since the 1993-94 season, the Sears Directors' Cup has ranked the top collegiate programs in the country, combining both men's and women's programs. The cup awards points by NCAA national finish in specific fall and spring sports. Before 1993, USA Today ranked the top men's and women's collegiate programs separately.

The ASU women's golf team led the way for the athletic department in 1997, picking up its fifth national championship in eight seasons. Juniors Kellee Booth and Jeanne-Marie Busuttil were second-team All-America selections.

The Sun Devils gymnastics team put on a show at the '97 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships and finished second in the country with a squad that had no seniors. Four gymnasts earned All-America honors for ASU, including freshman Elizabeth Reid who was the NCAA individual champion on the beam.

The '97 Arizona State football team ended the season with an 11-1 record and a No. 4 ranking. The '97 Pacific-10 Champions made their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1987. Five players garnered All-America honors, the most in 10 years.

The ASU baseball team put together an impressive season, making its 16th regional appearance. The No. 11 Sun Devils lost in the championship game of the Atlantic Regional to host Miami to end their season. Four players were All-America selections and two were first-round draft selections in the '97 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

ASU's success in 1997 translates into even greater things for 1998. Sun Devil teams across the board look to capitalize on their '97 all-sport ranking and climb to even greater heights of athletic achievement over the course of the next year.

ASU Finishes in the Sears Directors' Cup

1996-97: 13th
1995-96: 21st
1994-95: 12th
1993-94: 10th

*before 1993-94 USA Today did all-sports rankings for men's and women's programs separately.

1997 Sears Directors' Cup Final Standings

 1. Stanford
 2. North Carolina
 3. UCLA
 4. Nebraska
 5. Florida
 6. Arizona
 7. Texas
 8. USC
    Ohio State
10. Louisiana State
11. Michigan
13. Arizona State
14. Notre Dame
15. Minnesota
16. Brigham Young
17. Tennessee
18. Alabama
19. Auburn
20. Penn State
21. Colorado
22. Virginia
23. Duke
24. Wisconsin
25. California
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