Men of Oregon Claim John McDonnell Program of the Year Honors For Second Time

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

June 16, 2010   

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is honored to announce the University of Oregon, as the winners of the John McDonnell Men’s Program of the Year Award for the 2009-2010 school year. The men of Oregon finished in the nation’s top three in each of the three NCAA Championships in 2009-10 to win the program of the year award for the second-straight year.

John McDonnell Men’s Division I Program of the Year Winners
2009-2010Oregon (1st), Arizona State (2nd), Northern Arizona (3rd)
2008-2009Oregon (1st), Stanford (2nd), Florida State (3rd)

In the fall, the Ducks claimed runner-up honors at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., with Luke Puskedra, Matthew Centrowitz, and Kenny Klotz notching top-30 individual finishes. The Ducks came within 16 points of national champion Oklahoma State in posting their third-straight “trophy” finish.

At the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in March, the Ducks claimed shared runner-up honors with Texas A&M in scoring 44 points. Oregon’s DMR won top national honors for the second-straight year and senior Ashton Eaton claimed his second-straight heptathlon national crown in scoring a world record performance of 6,499 points.

Last weekend, the Ducks played to the home crowd at Hayward Field for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In front of sold out crowds, and a total of over 45,000 on the weekend, Oregon would finish third in the team race. Duck senior Andrew Wheating became the first to win both NCAA titles at 800 and 1500 meters in the same championships since 1984 (Joaquim Cruiz, Oregon). Ashton Eaton picked up his third-straight NCAA decathlon crown, winning with a total score of 8,457.

“We would like to thank the USTFCCCA for honoring the Oregon teams as the John McDonnell Men’s Program of the Year and the Terry Crawford Women’s Program of the Year,” said Vin Lananna, Oregon’s Associate Athletic Director and Director of Track & Field. “The athletes, coaches, support staff and the University of Oregon are proud and humbled to accept this honor on behalf of a community that loves our sport and the athletes who run, jump and throw.”

The Oregon women also captured their second-straight Terry Crawford Women’s Program of the Year honor.

In the final tally in the program of the year standings, Oregon was the only school to record national top-15 finishes in each of the three seasonal championships. As a result, Oregon’s 7½ points (2 XC, =2 ITF, 3 OTF) easily carried the trophy.

Nearest challenger, Arizona State, scored 30 points (19 XC, 7 ITF, 4 OTF) for second place in the POY standings.
Senior Brandon Bethke led the Sun Devils to a 19th-place team finish with a seventh-place individual finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. At the indoor championships, Ryan Whiting was the no-doubt NCAA shot put champion for the third-straight time and led ASU to a seventh-place team showing. Outdoors, it was more from Whiting that helped Arizona State to a fourth-place showing. Whiting won national titles with the shot and discus, becoming the first to pull the double win since SMU’s Janus Roberts in 2002. Whiting tossed 72-1 (21.97m) on his final attempt at the outdoor championships for the second-best performance in collegiate history, and just three centimeters shy of the John Godina’s collegiate record.

Northern Arizona was third in the standings with 42½ points (4 XC, =8 ITF, =27 OTF). Led by junior David McNeill’s second-place individual finish, the Lumberjacks placed fourth as a team at the NCAA Cross Country Championships for the second time in three years. McNeill would go on to win the 5000-meter title at the indoor championships, adding a second-place showing in the 3000, to land NAU in a tie for eighth in the team standings. McNeill went on to copy his indoor performance in the 5000 to the outdoor championship, as he claimed the national crown once again, becoming the first NCAA Champion in the event from Australia since 1960. As a result of the 10 points gained in McNeill’s victory, Northern Arizona finished in a five-way tie for 27th in the team standings at the outdoor championships.

In total, 17 squads participated and scored in each of the three national championships. The Pac-10 finished as the conference leader in the category with four members accomplishing the feat: Oregon (#1), Arizona State (#2), Washington (#5), Stanford (#10).

The John McDonnell Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former Arkansas head coach John McDonnell.  McDonnell’s Arkansas teams won a combined 40 National Championships and finished in the top ten in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field in 24 of his 36 seasons in Fayetteville. Five of his teams won the NCAA Triple Crown. 

The NCAA Division I John McDonnell Program of the Year Award is awarded annually to the most outstanding NCAA Division I men’s cross country/track & field program.  The award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year (spanning the cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field seasons) based on the institution’s finish at the NCAA Division I Championships.

In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for each of the NCAA Championships.  Scoring is based on the team’s finish at each NCAA Division I Championship in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field (i.e. 1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2 points, 31st = 31 points) with the lowest total score for all three championships combined determining the award recipient. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.