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History of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletics

Updated 8/1/23

After opening its doors in 1946, Claremont Men’s College first began competing in the SCIAC in 1947–48, when it combined with Pomona College to form one athletic team (Pomona College had been competing since the SCIAC’s inception in 1915). Pomona-Claremont competed in the SCIAC for 11 years and during that time won 25 SCIAC titles.

In 1958–59, Claremont Men’s College separated from Pomona College athletically and combined with Harvey Mudd College to compete as the Claremont-Mudd Stags. The program continued as this entity until the SCIAC began sponsoring women’s sports in 1976–77, when Scripps College joined the collaboration, at which time it adopted its current name of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and Athenas was selected as the nickname for the women's teams.

The men’s program has now won 222 SCIAC titles and the women’s program has won 139 SCIAC titles, both the most among SCIAC programs. The combined total of 361 is over 100 more than the closest rival in the league. 

The SCIAC all-sports competition began in 1972–73, which awards points to programs based on the finish of each sport in the SCIAC standings. In the 47 years of the competition the CMS men’s program has won the award 42 times. With the addition of the women’s sports in 1976–77, the competition was expanded to include a women’s award as well as an overall award. The CMS women’s program has won 26 All-Sports Trophies including 24 of the last 29. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps has won the combined All-Sports Trophy 32 times with victories in 31 of the last 36 years. 

CMS has won as many as 14 SCIAC titles in one year (2016–17), out of the 21 championships the league sponsors. The most men’s titles CMS has won in one year is eight during 1989–90, while the Athenas matched that total with eight titles in 2018-19. CMS is the only program to win six or more SCIAC women’s titles in one year which the Athenas achieved in 1998–99, 2010–11, 2014–15, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. 

In addition to a strong showing in the SCIAC, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps has also performed well in postseason competition. CMS has won nine national championships in either the NAIA (1) or NCAA D-III (8). In 2017, the women’s volleyball team won its first national title, which was also the first NCAA women’s team title in CMS history. That same academic year, women's golf and women's tennis both won their first national championships to give the Athenas three championships in one year, while women's tennis won back-to-back titles in 2022 and 2023 (resuming after COVID-19 interrupted a 2020 season in which they were undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation, and canceled the 2021 season). 

In 2015, the men’s tennis team won its second national championship, after a tie for the title in 1981, while the men’s golf team won its first national title one year later in 2016. Additionally, Claremont-Mudd won the NAIA swimming and diving crown in 1967. The men’s swimming/diving and tennis teams have also combined to win 14 second-place trophies at the NCAA Championships, while men’s soccer was the NCAA runner-up in 1983.

Individually, CMS athletes have won 61 NCAA titles in eight sports, including men’s and women's golf, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s track and field. 

In 1995–96 the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics began their Directors’ Cup Competition for Division III institutions. This competition is similar to the SCIAC All-Sports competition except that points are earned based on national results, and there are over 400 eligible programs instead of nine. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps has finished in the top 20 a total of 13 times, including five in the top 10, and a program-best third place finish for the 2017-18 season. The 10th place finish in 2022-23 also marked the tenth season in a row that CMS has placed in the top 15.