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Johnson & Wales University Sweeps 2017-18 GNAC Commissioner's Cups


WINTHROP, Mass. – For the third time in league history, Johnson & Wales University (RI) has swept the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Commissioner's Cups, as announced by 13th-year GNAC Commissioner Joe Walsh on Monday. The JWU men claimed three conference championships in 2017-18 – one each in the fall, winter and spring – while the JWU women claimed four GNAC crowns overall, including two this spring. 

The Wildcats previously won both the men's and women's GNAC Commissioner's Cups in 2014-15 and 2010-11. The JWU men have now claimed a share of this prestigious honor in 10 of the last 11 years. The only academic year in which they did not claim the pretigious title was last season, when Lasell College won its first-ever men's cup. For the JWU women, it marks the fourth time they have won the Commissioner's Cup, including the second straight year and third time in four years. Emmanuel College won the women's crown back in 2015-16. 

The GNAC Commissioner's Cup annually recognizes the member institution that achieves the highest level of athletic success throughout the academic year. It is based upon a point system and standings are determined by percentages in order to reflect the number of GNAC sports that each member sponsors. Schools receive five points for winning a GNAC Championship, four points for advancing to a conference title game, three points for competing in a GNAC Semifinal, two points for qualifying for a GNAC Tournament, or one point for sponsoring the sport.

On the men's side, Saint Joseph's College of Maine finished second overall (67.5%) to JWU's 72.5% mark. Norwich University and Regis (Mass.) tied for third place at 57.5%., as Regis was competing in the GNAC as a full member for the first time. 

Simmons College, which three-peated the GNAC Women's Commissioner's Cup from 2012-14, finished second (64.4%) to JWU's 72.5% winning ratio. Saint Joseph's of Maine (57.8%) and Lasell (57.5%) finished in third and fourth, respectively. For the complete standings for both awards, please see below.

Overall, JWU had a spring for the ages, winning the GNAC Men's Lacrosse, Women's Lacrosse and Softball Championships. Meanwhile, the Wildcats' men's golf and women's tennis programs, both of which won GNAC titles back in the fall, participated in the respective NCAA Tournaments this spring. Along the way, the Wildcats' men's basketball and women's volleyball programs claimed GNAC Championships, as head coach Nancy Somera's volleyball program earned the right to host the regional, where it went 3-0 to advance to the NCAA Division III Elite Eight in Grand Rapids, Mich. 

The Wildcats also saw their baseball, men's soccer, and men's volleyball teams reach the GNAC Semifinals this past year, while the women's soccer team advanced to the GNAC Championship game. JWU will be under new leadership next fall, as it was announced last week that fifth-year athletic director Jamie Marcoux will take over as Director of Athletics at NCAA Division-II Assumption College. 

"It has been an amazing year for JWU Athletics and I am very proud of our Wildcats," said Marcoux. "Winning a commissioner's cup is always a challenge, but to win both is a testament to the hard work and dedication that the JWU student athletes, coaches and staff put in every day.  Their drive for excellence is so impressive and is reflected in all they do not only on the field but in the class, in the community."

Next year's GNAC's Commissioner's Cup Standings will include Colby-Sawyer College as a full-time member, as the Chargers get set to begin conference play in 2018-19. 

Men's Standings
1) Johnson & Wales: 29/40 = 72.5% 
2) Saint Joseph's of Maine: 27/40 = 67.5% 
T3) Norwich: 23/40 = 57.5% 
T3) Regis (Mass.): 23/40 = 57.5% 
5) Emmanuel: 17/35 = 48.57%
6) Suffolk: 15/35 = 42.86%
7) Lasell: 17/40 = 42.5% 
8) Albertus Magnus: 11/30 = 36.67% 
9) Rivier: 12/35 = 34.29%
10) Anna Maria: 9/35 = 25.71%
11) Mount Ida: 8/40 = 20% 

Women's Standings
1) Johnson & Wales: 29/40 = 72.5% 
2) Simmons: 29/45 = 64.44% 
3) Saint Joseph's of Maine: 26/45 = 57.78%
4) Lasell: 23/40 = 57.5%
5) Suffolk: 18/35 = 51.43% 
6) Regis (Mass.): 25/50 = 50%
7) Emmanuel: 16/35 = 45.71%
8) Norwich: 14/35 = 40% 
9) Albertus Magnus: 11/30 = 36.67% 
10) Mount Ida: 14/40 = 35% 
11) Saint Joseph (Conn.): 12/40 = 30% 
12) Rivier: 10/35 = 28.57% 
13) Anna Maria: 6/30 = 20%  

Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.