Several years ago, Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage declared that the Cavaliers aimed to finish among the top 10 in the Directors’ Cup each year. Given that U.Va. had cracked that tier of the all-sports standings only once, the goal was truly ambitious.

And thanks to the school’s athletes, coaches and resources, attainable.

Virginia placed seventh in the final standings released Friday morning, its third consecutive top 10 and among many highlights for state and ACC schools.

Back to the Cavaliers and ACC in a moment, but first a “bravo” to Christopher Newport. The Captains were 20th among 447 Division III programs, surpassing their previous best of 21st in 1998.

Paced by softball (national final), women’s basketball (national semifinals) and volleyball (national quarterfinals), CNU led all Division III schools in Virginia and was best among its conference, the USA South.

The Captains also set school standards for winning percentage (.779) and NCAA tournament teams (14) in 2010-11.

The Directors’ Cup standings are based on NCAA tournament qualification, and led by a national championship in men’s lacrosse and second place in men’s tennis, Virginia placed 19 of its 24 teams, a remarkable 10 in the spring alone. In the past three years, the Cavaliers have finished eighth, third and seventh in the Directors’ Cup.

Along with Virginia, Duke (fifth), North Carolina (sixth) and Florida State (ninth) give the ACC four top-10 schools. No other conference has more than two in a competition Stanford has won 17 years running.

Virginia Tech placed 45th, sixth among the ACC. That’s six straight top 50s for the Hokies, notable for a program that never cracked the top 60 before joining the ACC in 2004-05. Ten Virginia Tech teams earned Cup points, led by men’s outdoor track, which was fifth at the NCAA championships.

At 96th, William and Mary is the top Colonial Athletic Association school for the second consecutive year, followed closely by No. 98 Old Dominion, which leapfrogged from 165th in 2010. The Tribe (football was the highlight) and Monarchs (field hockey was tops) each sent four teams to NCAA postseason.

Hampton University earned its best finish a year ago at No. 125. The Pirates fell to 205th this year but earned bids to the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments by winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The Directors' Cup standings are here.