ST. LOUIS – For the first time in more than three decades, Illinois State has earned back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Championships, as announced by the league office Friday. The Redbirds won the league’s All-Sports Trophy in 2018-19 and again this season (the Conference did not award the trophy during the 2019-20 pandemic-shortened season).
Illinois State last won back-to-back MVC All-Sports Championships in 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 when it was the league’s top overall program in four-straight seasons.
“I’m extremely proud of the effort our student-athletes, coaches and staff put in during one of the most challenging and difficult competition seasons we’ve ever seen,” ISU Director of Athletics Kyle Brennan said. “All of their hard work, perseverance and dedication on and off the field resulted in our programs winning six MVC titles and several other programs finishing near the top of their respective standings. Winning the MVC All-Sports Trophy is something we strive to do every year, but earning it this year with everything they’ve had to go through is remarkable and truly something our fans, donors, alumni and community should be very proud of.”
The Redbirds earned six team titles — of the 16 MVC sports it sponsors — and had an aggregate score of 7.842. ISU claimed league championships in men’s cross country, softball, women’s tennis, women’s indoor track & field, women’s outdoor track & field, and volleyball. The Redbirds also had runner-up finishes in men’s golf and men’s outdoor track & field. Illinois State also claimed six league titles in 2018-19. Counting Illinois State this year, only eight times since 1992-93 (merger of MVC men’s and women’s sports) has an institution had more than five team titles.
Notably, Illinois State has 14 all-sports crowns and has finished first, second, or third in 27 of the past 30 years. Either Illinois State, Missouri State or Wichita State, meanwhile, has earned the league’s all-sports championship trophy every year since 1995. Illinois State won five of six all-sports championships from 1996-01, Missouri State has five titles since 1999-00, and Wichita State had a stretch where it won 11 of 14 all-sports trophies from 2003-04 through 2016-17.
Fueled by its three titles, two second-place finishes and two third-place showings, Missouri State finished second in the all-sports trophy race with an aggregate score of 7.137. Indiana State (6.266) finished third in the all-sports trophy race representing its best finish in the league race since finishing second in 2013-14. UNI (6.223) and Drake (6.180) finished next best in the MVC all-sport trophy standings to round out the top five.
In 2016-17, the MVC introduced a new point system to determine the league’s all-sports champion. The All-Sports Trophy is based on a school’s average finish in each of the sponsored championships by the Missouri Valley Conference. Teams are awarded 10 points for first, nine for second, eight for third, etc., and the total accumulated points are divided by the number of sports in which a particular school competes. For sports not sponsored by every MVC school, the points decrease by number of competing schools (i.e., in a sport where eight teams compete, 10/8 = 1.25, so point totals decrease by 1.25; 1st = 10, 2nd = 8.75, 3rd = 7.5, etc.)
Finishes in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball are based on regular-season competition. All other sports are determined by finish at the championship tournament or championship meet.
GoRedbirds.com and the Illinois State Redbirds App: Your sources for Illinois State tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts/contributions for ISU Athletics, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.