Each time Jeff Eisen sends out a tweet, he adds his signature - #GDTBAT, an acronym for “It’s A Great Day To Be A Trojan” - at the end.
That certainly has been true in an adverse season.
But Eisen may consider tweaking that hashtag just a little.
How about #GYTBAT?
Indeed, it is a great “year” to be a Trojan at the University of Mount Olive.
Conference Carolinas officials announced UMO “three-peated” as the overall Joby Hawn Cup champion, but also claimed the men’s and women’s Cups as well.
“It is always great to win the Hawn Cup, it shows that we have an outstanding broad-based athletics program,” said Eisen, vice president for athletics at UMO. “But, it is especially rewarding this year, having overcome so much adversity throughout the year. Our student-athletes, coaches, and staff can take great pride in what they accomplished this year.”
UMO secured outright regular-season titles in men’s volleyball, baseball and women’s lacrosse. It shared regular-season supremacy in men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s lacrosse.
The Trojans also captured the men’s indoor track and field crown, and cruised to the outdoor men’s and women’s track championships.
According to Cup totals, the Trojans compiled 183 out of a possible 195 points - a conference-best rating of 93.8% to emerge as the overall best athletic program for the fifth time since 2011-12.
The men’s teams scored 85.5 out of 90 points (95%), while the women’s teams picked up 97.5 out of 105 points (92.9%). The Trojan men have won seven of eight Cups since 2011-12 compared to five for the women during that same stretch.
“I am so proud of our coaches and student-athletes,” Eisen said. “They faced all of the challenges related to COVID and persevered through them, demonstrating great dedication and resiliency. We started off just being happy to play and along the way realized that if we’re playing, we may as well play to win.
“And we ended up with a special spring as our teams brought home 14 new conference trophies.”
UMO contested for 14 tournament titles and seized seven. The Trojans earned championships in men’s golf (first), women’s soccer (second), men’s indoor track, men’s outdoor track (seventh straight), women’s outdoor track (seventh straight), men’s tennis and women’s lacrosse.
Individual recognition came with the team success.
A total of 132 student-athletes garnered all-Conference Carolinas accolades in 22 sponsored sports. Nine were named the league’s freshman-of-the-year, while 13 earned player-of-the-year accolades.
Five teams had coach-of-the-year winners.
Academically, UMO teams averaged better than a 3.0 grade-point average (GPA) for the 10th consecutive year.
“Our coaches place a great deal of emphasis on academics, but once again it is ultimately the student-athletes who deserve the credit as they are the ones going to class, taking the tests and writing the papers,” Eisen said.
Before last August rolled around, uncertainty abounded on campus.
Officials agreed to follow suit with other NCAA conferences and postpone the fall sports seasons as the COVID-19 pandemic exploded nationwide. Teams continued to practice, but some student-athletes doubted if they’d get the chance to experience competition again.
Eisen encouraged everyone to stay safe and healthy, and enjoy the opportunity compete if it arose. The front-line diligence of UMO’s sports medicine staff to follow daily virus protocols and testing by Goshen Medical Central played significant roles in the teams’ success.
“They faced the anxiety of regular COVID testing and not knowing what tomorrow could bring,” Eisen said. “Would games be postponed? Would they be quarantined? Would activity be placed on pause? They were not able to have the social experience that college and college athletics usually provide.
“They understood this and met the challenges head on. Consequently, the opportunity to be able to practice and compete meant that much more to them, as well as to our coaches and staff.”
In other words, #GYTBAT.