A strong finish

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Image credit: Jay Vanrensselaer

It would be tedious to fully research this in a manner befitting Johns Hopkins, so take what follows not so much as ironclad statement of fact, but as assertion: November 2 through November 23, 2013, were the best three weeks in the history of Hopkins fall sports. Blue Jay athletes won five Centennial Conference championships, participated in five NCAA post-season competitions, and brought home a national championship.

Men's and women's cross-country got things started by winning their conference titles on November 2. Seven days later, the undefeated Hopkins football team earned the program's 500th all-time victory and clinched the conference title on the same day. Later that evening, women's soccer won the Centennial Conference tournament for the ninth time in league history. Finally, on November 11, volleyball became the first fourth seed in conference history to win the Centennial championship tourney.

A week later, men's and women's cross country each won NCAA regional championships, propelling both teams into the national championship meet. Women's soccer won its first two NCAA tournament games, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the sixth straight year. And football completed its second undefeated regular season in the last three years.

This set the stage for the next weekend of joy and heartbreak. The football Jays lost their NCAA first-round game when Wesley College scored with 12.8 seconds to go. Playing in Vermont, women's soccer advanced to the national quarterfinals before losing to Middlebury College in the last 17 seconds. But women's cross country triumphed, winning its second straight national championship; sophomore Hannah Oneda finished fourth overall. Men's cross country placed 11th, its best-ever championship result.