Sweep of Track & Field Crowns Leads Wartburg to Second Program of the Year Honor

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

May 31, 2012   

NEW ORLEANS – The women’s program at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, is the 2011-2012 winner of the Deb Vercauteren Division III Program of the Year award. In 2012, the Knights claimed their first sweep of national indoor and outdoor team titles since 2009 to go with a sixth-place national cross country finish from the fall. Wartburg’s track & field program could be considered one of the best in history as they set NCAA meet-scoring records at both indoor and outdoor championships. 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 Knights are coached by Marcus Newsom and are assisted by Steve Johnson, Dave Sage, and Melissa Norton.

Wartburg won the first Deb Vercauteren Program of the Year award for the 2008-2009 academic year.

This fall, Wartburg claimed a sixth-place showing at the NCAA Cross Country Championships as a team with 281 points. Freshman Alana Enabnit led the way with a tenth-place overall finish (seventh scorer).

At the NCAA Indoor Championships, Wartburg captured the team crown with a meet-record 99 points. Senior Nevada Morrison won the 400 meters while twin sister Skye won the long jump. The duo paired to claim the 4×400 relay title. In addition, senior Laura Sigmund won the 5000 meters.

Outdoors, it was another dominant showing by the Knights as they won with 129 points, another meet record, and with a meet-record margin of victory of 77 points. Wartburg collected five event championships and claimed 20 scorers in the national meet. Freshman Alana Enabnit swept titles at 5000 and 10,000 meters. Nevada Morrison won another 400 meter title, and Skye Morrison won another long jump crown. The 4×400 relay squad also won their sixth-straight crown.

Also worth mentioning, in the IIAC Track & Field Championships, Wartburg won the indoor meet with 317 points and the outdoor league meet with 353 points. We have not found another team in any divisions to have scored more than 300 points in their conference indoor meet and 350 points in their league outdoor meet.

Wartburg won the title with eight points, just two-and-a-half ahead of Washington (Mo.) that finished runner-up in the standings with 10½. Washington claimed their best finish in the history of the award and they were propelled by a national-championship title in cross country this fall. The Bears finished third at the indoor track & field championships and sixth in the outdoor national meet.

Williams (22) placed third in the standings after taking runner-up in the award standings the previous academic year. Middlebury (27½) was fourth and Tufts and UW-Eau Claire tied for fifth (39½).

A total of 14 teams scored in each of the three national meets.

The NCAA Division III Deb Vercauteren Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former UW Oshkosh women’s head coach Deb Vercauteren. Her Titans have won a combined 18 NCAA national titles and her student-athletes have combined to earn over 345 All-American performances. Vercauteren has won an impressive 36 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles (15 cross country, 11 indoors, and 10 outdoors).

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)
Women’s Division III – Deb Vercauteren Award

1

Wartburg

8 pts

2

Washington (Mo.)

10½ pts

3

Williams

22 pts

4

Middlebury

27½ pts

5

Tufts

39½ pts

 

UW-Eau Claire

39½ pts