It is no coincidence that our steady progress up the NWC rankings has taken place since the W Club established itself five years ago.
For the varsity athletic teams at Whitman College, the 2010-11 academic year will be remembered as the best of times.
Final point totals for the Northwest Conference (NWC) All-Sports Trophy, when adjusted to the 14 sports in which Whitman competes, place Whitman third — just a scant two points out of second place.
Each year the all-sports trophy goes to the school that scores the most total points in the 18 varsity sports sponsored by the NWC.
The raw data places Whitman sixth — just four points out of fourth — despite the fact the college does not compete in football, softball, and men's and women's track and field.
Recalculate each school's point total based on the 14 sports sponsored by Whitman, however, and the Missionaries place third with 161 points, just two points behind second-place Puget Sound.
Whitworth is first in the 'adjusted' standings with 208 points. Trailing Puget Sound and Whitman are Linfield 156, Pacific Lutheran 122, Pacific 118, Lewis & Clark 114, George Fox 107 and Willamette 103.
"I believe this is the best season we have ever had across all sports since Whitman moved to NCAA Division III in the late 1990s," Whitman Athletics Director Dean Snider said.
"I also think it is no coincidence that our steady progress up the NWC rankings has taken place since the W Club established itself five years ago."
The W Club, a group of alumni, parents and friends of the college, is committed to helping Whitman pursue excellence in athletics as well as academics.
"The W Club's financial assistance, moral support, energy and enthusiasm has given our coaches and student athletes a tremendous boost as we work toward the same level of excellence in athletics that Whitman has long maintained in the classroom," Snider said.
"We cannot overstate how much the W Club has helped or the degree to which we are grateful."
Starting in 2008 and 2007 when it finished with 129 and 126 points in the scoring for the all-sports trophy, Whitman jumped to 143 points in 2009 and 146 in 2010. This year's 161-point total was a 15-point jump.
Men's tennis led the way for Whitman this past year, winning its fourth consecutive NWC title to collect 18 points.
Men's soccer finished second for the second time in three seasons, women's golf had its best season ever in placing second, and men's basketball made a big leap into a second-place tie.
Women's tennis and men's swimming finished third while women's swimming missed a third-place showing by a single point at a conference meet in which hundreds of points were scored. Others placing fourth were women's cross country and basketball.
— Dave Holden