A Three-Peat: North Central Wins Al Carius Program of the Year Award

A Three-Peat: North Central 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 third-consecutive Al Carius Men’s Division III Program of the Year award. In the 2011-2012 academic year, the Cardinals won NCAA cross country and indoor track and field crowns – which was their third-straight indoor crown – and placed fifth at the latest championship, the outdoor track & field NCAA meet. 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.

Program of the Year Award History

The Cardinals are coached in cross country by award namesake Al Carius and in track & field by Frank Gramarosso.

In the fall, North Central brought home the national team title in cross country by scoring 110 points to runner-up and defending national champion Haverford’s 172. Sophomore Matthew Perez led the way with a fifth-place showing (third scorer), followed by senior Neal Klein in 15th place (tenth scorer).

The Cardinals won the NCAA indoor crown, 48-37, over nearest challenger UW-Eau Claire. For the squad, it was their third-straight indoor national championship title. Senior Dan Benton won the 400 meters in 48.01 in one of the closest come-from-behind finishes in meet (and possibly world) history. Benton would come back to anchor NCC to the 4×400 relay crown. Junior Josh Winder won the pole vault title with a clearance of 16-11 (5.16m).

Most recently, at the outdoor national championships, North Central placed fifth in the team race with 32 1/3 points. Junior Peter Geraghty claimed the pole vault crown as part of a 1-2-3 sweep of the event.

North Central finished with only seven points in the scoring. The award’s runner-up, UW-Oshkosh, recorded their best finish in the Program of the Year race since winning the title in 2008-2009. Oshkosh placed in the nation’s top five in each of the three sport-seasons and accumulated 12 points (5 XC, 3 ITF, 4 OTF) – the best score by a second-place team in the four-year history of the award. UW-La Crosse, who took runner-up honors outdoors, placed third with 21½ points. UW-La Crosse was the award’s runner-up in 2009-2010.

A total of 13 teams scored in each of the three national events in the season. Bates and Wabash 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 47th year of service at North Central, still as head coach of the Cardinals’ cross country squad, and has won 22 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.)

7 pts



12 pts


UW-La Crosse

21½ pts



40 pts



43½ pts