NEW ORLEANS — The beat goes on at Xavier University of Louisiana, which was announced Monday as the winner of the 2017-18 Thomas Howell Cup, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference’s all-sports award.

It’s the seventh time that XULA won the award, all in the last eight years. XULA won the Thomas Howell Cup for the second straight year.

The Thomas Howell Cup, named for the GCAC’s longtime commissioner, is awarded annually to the school with the most points based on order of finish in various sports. XULA was boosted by GCAC championships in women’s cross country, women’s volleyball (regular season and tournament), men’s basketball (a share of the regular-season title) and women’s outdoor track and field.

“To win the Thomas Howell Cup is a credit to the efforts of our coaches and student-athletes,” Director of Athletics & Recreation Jason Horn said. “It’s a lot a fun here at Xavier — a fun environment to be around where people are always striving to be the best.”

The conference did not announce point totals or standings for the Howell Cup, but unofficial scoring by XULA Assistant Athletics Director for Communications Ed Cassiere had XULA with 44 points, 6 1/2 more than in 2016-17. In the seven GCAC championship sports — men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field — XULA scored 40 of a possible 45 points.

Although XULA won GCAC volleyball regular-season and tournament championships for the seventh consecutive year, the university was credited with all-sports points only for its regular-season standing. The GCAC also applied that method in men’s and women’s basketball.

Edward Waters finished second in Cassiere’s unofficial scoring with 34 points, a half-point ahead of Dillard. Those schools tied for second place a year ago. SUNO was fourth with 22 1/2 points, followed by Talladega with 20, Tougaloo with 18 and Philander Smith with 17.

In addition to the conference titles, 8-of-9 XULA teams were represented in 2017-18 at NAIA National Championship events — volleyball, women’s cross country, men’s basketball men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s cross country (individual athlete), men’s track and field (individual athletes) and women’s track and field (individual athletes). Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams reached the national semifinals last week.

The GCAC will increase to eight teams in 2018-19 with the addition of Rust College of Holly Springs, Miss.

Courtesy: XULA Athletics


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