D-III Pre-NCAA Rankings Show Super Close Team Battles Ahead, UW-Oshkosh Men Take Over No. 1

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

May 23, 2011   

NEW ORLEANS – The eighth week of national team computer rankings of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for the 2011 NCAA Division III outdoor track & field season were released on Monday prior to the sport’s NCAA Championships. With entries for the NCAA Championships announced and scored as part of the national rankings this week, the result of last chance weekend did wonders for UW-Oshkosh who now lead both men’s and women’s rankings heading into the national-championship meet.

National Computer Rankings:
PDFs:
Top 25 | Full by Team | Full by Event | Week-by-Week
Previous Rankings | Rankings Guidelines & Rationale
Regional Index (FINAL): Top 10 Teams by Region
Dual Meet RPI: Website

NCAA Championships: Championship Central | Entry Leaders by Team | Entry Leaders by Conference
Championships Record Book: MEN | WOMEN
Program of the Year Standings: MEN | WOMEN

UW-Oshkosh’s men jumped three spots to No. 1, unseating now-No. 2 McMurry from the top position, a spot they’ve held since week one. In addition, the last-chance weekend helped raise the boats of No. 3 North Central (Ill.) and No. 4 UW-La Crosse as now the top four squads in the national rankings are separated by less than two-ranking points, nearly a statistical tie among the four schools.

The UW-Oshkosh women are No. 1 for the fourth-straight week and are trailed next by 2009 NCAA outdoor champs No. 2 Warburg who has held that position for four weeks after spending the first four weeks of the season at No. 1.

The NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships will take place Thursday thru Saturday, May 26-28, in Delaware, Ohio, home to Ohio Wesleyan. NCAA.com will air live coverage.

MEN

After UW-Oshkosh improved nine of their season bests on the final weekend of the regular season, the squad moved to No. 1 for the first time this season. Oshkosh has the second-most entries in the field with 16 and a meet-high ten entered in throwing events. Oshkosh finished seventh at last year’s national outdoor championships and is looking for their first outdoor crown since 2007.

No. 2 McMurry has 12 entries into the national meet, including a meet-high seven in the sprints and hurdles. McMurry’s strength comes from several highly-ranked seeds, including three top-ranked entries going in. Sophomore Kenneth Turner is the No. 1 seed in the 100 meters (10.48) and third in the 200 meters (21.27). Junior Kevin Cunningham is the top seed in the 400 hurdles (51.49), and Cunningham is the lead-off leg in McMurry’s top-ranked 4×100 squad (40.91). McMurry last won the NCAA outdoor team crown in 2008 and finished tenth a year ago.

Defending outdoor champion and 2010 and 2011 NCAA indoor team champs North Central (Ill.) stands formidably at No. 3 in the rankings. The Cardinals are leading the Al Carius Program of the Year standings after notching the indoor national title and taking runner-up honors at the NCAA cross country meet in the fall. North Central swept all three national crowns in 2009-2010. For this go-round, North Central will again have a presence in distance events and the pole vault. North Central has the third-most total entries with 13, four come from distance while five come from the jumps (high jump and pole vault). Senior Mike Spain is the No. 1 seed in the 5000 and 10,000 meters. The Cardinals have the No. 1-ranked 4×400 squad and sophomore Josh Winder is the No. 2 seed in the pole vault.

The “sleeper” of the bunch may be at No. 4 with UW-La Crosse. With a very small margin separating them from the top-three ranked squads and a meet-high 19 entries, the Eagles may have the depth necessary to win the national team battle. La Crosse has a meet-high eight entries in jumping events, which includes top-ranked sophomore Issac Vazquez in the triple jump. La Crosse has the second-ranked 4×400 squad and a final battle may include North Central and McMurry who are also in the event’s top four. La Crosse last won the national outdoor crown in 2007 as part of a six-championship run from 2001 to 2007.

WOMEN

No. 1 UW-Oshkosh, the 2011 NCAA indoor team champion, has held to the No. 1 position for the outdoor season in the national women’s team rankings since the beginning of the season. With seven of their 18 entries holding top-three seeds, it comes as no surprise that the Titans could score a bunch of points in a hurry. The throwing events are vital for Oshkosh as they have a meet-high 11 entries in the throws, including six in the hammer. Holly Ozanich holds the top seed in the shot put and the second seed in the hammer while Breanna Strupp is the national No. 1 seed in the discus and Sue Trzebiatowski leads the field in the hammer. In addition, sophomore Christy Cazzola is the No. 1 seed in the 1500 meters. Oshkosh last won the national crown in 2007 as part of a three-out-of-four run from 2004 to 2007.

Should the throws go awry for Oshkosh, No. 2 Wartburg could make a pass on the final day of competition that is full of track finals as they hold a meet-best 23 entries, ten coming from sprint and hurdle events.  With the top-ranked 4×400 and second-ranked 4×100, the Knights also have the No. 1 seeds in the 400 (Nevada Morrison) and 400 hurdles (Brittany Malloy). Wartburg does have the most balanced group going to Ohio with an entry in every category, including four in the jumps, four in the throws, two total in mid-distance and distance and a heptathlete.

MIT, ranked No. 3, finished third at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past fall and third at the NCAA indoor meet in March and are leading the Deb Vercauteren Program of the Year standings. MIT enjoyed their best outdoor finish in school history last year in finishing third and are poised again for a “trophy” finish with 14 entries. Six of MIT’s entries are seeded in the top three and sprinter Portia Jones, hurdler Jamie Simmons, and pole vaulter Karin Fisher are among them. Jones, entered in the 100, 200, 100 hurdles, and as a potential anchor for the 4×100 and 4×400 will be among the busiest athletes at the championships.

No. 4 Williams has 17 entries into the national championships which includes a meet-best eight entries in long-distance events (5000 and 10,000 meters). Sophomore Annie Dear is the top-seeded athlete in the 5000 while sophomore Jennifer Gossels is No. 1 in the 10k and third at 5000 meters. Williams’ best outdoor team finish was in 2006 when the Ephs placed second.

USTFCCCA

NCAA Division III

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings

2011 Week #8 – May 23 (Pre-NCAA)

next ranking: FINAL, NCAA Championships results
Rank School Points Last Week
1 UW-Oshkosh 173.88 4
2 McMurry 173.46 1
3 North Central (Ill.) 172.52 2
4 UW-La Crosse 168.22 3
5 UW-Whitewater 99.94 7
6 Washington (Mo.) 96.20 10
7 Monmouth (Ill.) 94.66 9
8 Augustana (Ill.) 91.11 6
9 Nebraska Wesleyan 89.18 13
10 UW-Platteville 88.65 22
11 Central (Iowa) 86.73 5
12 La Verne 82.32 8
13 Moravian 75.31 21
14 UW-Stout 65.30 11
15 Calvin 63.35 15
16 Whitworth 63.18 16
17 Cal Lutheran 62.33 18
18 SUNY Fredonia 58.85 17
19 Haverford 57.17 12
20 Bates 51.74 20
21 UW-Eau Claire 48.25 26
22 SUNY Cortland 45.43 32
23 Baldwin-Wallace 42.55 19
24 NYU 42.42 29
25 Redlands 42.06 14
dropped out: No. 23 Wabash, No. 24 Buffalo State, No. 25 Williams
Men’s Conference Index Top 10
Rank Conference Points Top 25 Teams
1 WIAC 676.47 6
2 CCIW 304.64 2
3 SCIAC 262.53 3
4 UAA 209.75 2
5 ASC 183.51 1
6 SUNYAC 172.64 2
7 OAC 156.98 1
8 NESCAC 151.44 1
9 IIAC 124.55 1
10 Midwest Conference 119.04 1

USTFCCCA

NCAA Division III

Women’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings

2011 Week #8 – May 23 (Pre-NCAA)

next ranking: FINAL, NCAA Championships results
Rank School Points Last Week
1 UW-Oshkosh 238.83 1
2 Wartburg 219.29 2
3 MIT 164.25 3
4 Williams 148.66 4
5 Methodist 123.85 5
6 Ithaca 94.42 9
7 UW-Eau Claire 92.86 8
8 Nebraska Wesleyan 76.89 7
9 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 75.36 6
10 Calvin 73.87 10
11 Carthage 72.65 12
12 Illinois College 70.10 16
13 Texas Lutheran 66.35 11
14 UW-Whitewater 63.19 13
15 UW-La Crosse 59.00 15
16 Whitworth 54.41 14
17 Central (Iowa) 51.79 19
18 George Fox 51.37 21
19 North Central (Ill.) 46.77 17
20 Coe 46.70 37
21 Middlebury 44.05 18
22 Gustavus Adolphus 43.19 20
23 Linfield 41.58 34
24 Illinois Wesleyan 41.41 24
25 TCNJ 40.69 23
dropped out: No. 22 Willamette, No. 25 Carleton
Women’s Conference Index Top 10
Rank Conference Points Top 25 Teams
1 WIAC
529.88
4
2 IIAC
395.42
3
3 NESCAC
254.43
2
4 NEWMAC
254.29
1
5 CCIW
193.57
3
6 Northwest Conference
179.88
3
7 SCIAC
167.69
1
8 MIAC
139.87
1
9 UAA
136.95
10 NJAC
132.32
1

 

About the Rankings
For more on the national team rankings and links to guideline and rationale information visit …
http://www.ustfccca.org/rankings/division-iii-rankings

Rankings are determined by a mathematical formula, which is based on current national descending order lists. This is what’s used to compile a team’s ranking. The purpose and methodology of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national-title race.

The Regional Index is determined using a similar method as national rankings, but on a smaller scale, comparing teams versus others within the same region. The result is a ranking that showcases squads with better all-around team potential — a group makeup critical for conference or similar team-scored events. A team may achieve a better regional ranking than a counterpart that has a better national ranking. Historically, some teams are better national-championship teams than conference-championship teams, having a few elite athletes that score very well in a diverse environment where teams do not have entries in more than a few events. Some teams are better at conference championships or similar team-scored events where they enter, and are competitive, in many of the events.

How a team fares in a national championship, conference championship, or scored meet with only a couple or few teams (like a dual or triangular) can be very different, given the number of events, competition, scoring, and makeup of entries — thus the rationale behind each of the ranking systems. Similar arguments about team makeup and rankings can also be found in swimming & diving and wrestling as their sports also have a similar trichotomy when it comes to team theory.