North Central Does It Again, Wins Al Carius Program of the Year Award

North Central Does It Again, Wins Al Carius Program of the Year Award

NEW ORLEANS – The men’s program of North Central College in Naperville, Ill., are winners of their second-consecutive Al Carius Men’s Division III Program of the Year award. In the 2010-2011 academic year, the Cardinals won indoor and outdoor NCAA track and field crowns, their third- and fourth-overall consecutive to go with a runner-up showing at the NCAA cross country championships in the fall. The USTFCCCA Program of the Year award is given to an institution that had the best combined team finishes in each of the NCAA’s cross country/track & field sports in a given academic year.

Al Carius Division III Men’s Program of the Year Winners

2010-2011: North Central (Ill.) (1st), Washington (Mo.) (2nd), UW-Oshkosh (3rd)
: North Central (Ill.) (1st), UW-La Crosse (2nd), Amherst (3rd)
2008-2009: UW-Oshkosh (1st), UW-La Crosse (2nd), UW-Stevens Point (3rd)

The Cardinals, coached in cross country by award namesake Al Carius and in track & field by Frank Gramarosso, also won the same award in the 2009-2010 academic year when they claimed NCAA titles in all three sports for the “triple crown”.

In the fall, North Central finished second to Haverford, 87-104, at the NCAA cross country championships and was led by senior Mike Spain. At the indoor track & field national championships, North Central won by a single point, 45-44, over Central (Iowa) and only two points ahead of UW-La Crosse (43). Spain won the national indoor 5000 meter crown.

And, over the Memorial Day weekend, North Central claimed another thrilling team title, topping UW-La Crosse by just two points, 58-56 for another NCAA outdoor crown. The 4×400 was the decider, but North Central’s squad finished just two-tenths of a second ahead of La Crosse to secure the outright team title. Again, Spain was the dominant story as he won both 5000- and 10,000-meter crowns.

North Central finished with only four points in the scoring. The award’s runner-up, Washington (Mo.) scored 21 points for a ninth-place cross country finish, eighth-place indoor finish, and fourth-place outdoor finish. UW-Oshkosh claimed third in the final standings with 25. ½ points (11 XC, 4 ITF, =10 OTF).

A total of 16 teams scored in each of the three national events in the season. UW-Stevens Point and Calvin rounded out the award’s top five.

The Al Carius Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and long-time North Central College head coach Al Carius.  Carius is in his 46th year of service at North Central, still as head coach of the Cardinals’ cross country squad, and has won 21 NCAA Division III National Championships.

The NCAA Division III Program of the Year Awards are awarded annually to the most outstanding NCAA Division III cross country/track & field programs.  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 III 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 II 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.


Program of the Year Award Standings (Top Five FINAL)
Men’s Division III – Al Carius Award


North Central (Ill.)

4 pts


Washington (Mo.)

21 pts



25½ pts


UW-Stevens Point

32½ pts



36½ pts