Program of the Year Races Heating Up
NEW ORLEANS – With the conclusion of the indoor track & field season, standings have been updated in the USTFCCCA Program of the Year races for the 2012-2013 school year. For award consideration, only the outdoor track & field championships remains for each of the three divisions of the NCAA. Men’s program leaders in the standings are Wisconsin, Adams State, and UW-La Crosse. On the women’s side, Oregon, Grand Valley State, and Wartburg lead through two of the three seasons of the school year.
More Info: Current Standings and Past Winners
The Program of the Year Awards are awarded annually to the most outstanding 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 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.
Division I: Oregon Women on Pace for Fifth Straight POY Award; Wisconsin Men Seeking First
It’s no surprise to see the four-time defending indoor champion Oregon women – 2013 champions in both cross country and indoor track – at the top of the standings with a healthy two points, considering the Ducks have earned the Terry Crawford Women’s Division I Program of the Year award in each of the first four years it has been presented. Oregon’s indoor title this past weekend came down to the very last event in the 4×400, which the squad won from the first heat to clinch the title.
Arizona, which finished runner-up to Oregon in the 2010-11 POY standings, is a distant second with 13.5 points. The Wildcats finished tied for seventh at the indoor championships and sixth at the cross country championships.
Florida State (4 XC/16 ITF) and Iowa State (11 XC/9 ITF) each sit at 20 points apiece following the Indoor Championships, followed by Michigan with 21 (5 XC/t15 ITF) and Arkansas with 22 (18 XC/4 ITF).
On the men’s side, Wisconsin is in the driver’s seat for the John McDonnell Men’s Program of the Year award with five total points. The Badgers finished third at the NCAA Indoor Championships this past weekend, which is their best finish since winning the title in 2007. This comes on the heels of a cross country season in which Wisconsin finished runner-up.
The Badgers overtook the top spot from cross country champion Oklahoma State, which currently ranks No. 2 with nine points after an eighth-place finish at the Indoor Championships. Indoor champ Arkansas is just behind in third with 11 points (10 XC/1 ITF).
Two-time defending John McDonnell Men’s Program of the Year award winner Florida State is currently fifth with 24 points (5 XC/18 ITF).
The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field champions in Division I will be determined June 5-8, in Eugene, Ore.
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 Terry Crawford Women’s Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former Cal Poly head coach Terry Crawford. Crawford has won five NCAA National Championships, and over 20 Conference Championships. Her 1986 Texas squad remains as the only NCAA women’s program to ever win the Triple Crown (cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field titles).
Division II: Adams State men, Grand Valley State women closing in on POY awards
Though neither team finished as high as hoped at the NCAA DII Indoor Championships, the Adams State men and Grand Valley State women emerge from the indoor season as the leaders in the clubhouse for the Program of the Year awards.
Cross country champions Adams State finished third at the DII Indoor Championships after entering the meet ranked No. 1, but the Grizzlies are still on track to claim their fifth consecutive DII Men’s Program of the Year award. The Grizzlies carry a team score of four points (1 XC/3ITF) into the outdoor season.
Grand Valley State is in second with 11 points following a fourth-place showing at the Indoor Championships (4 XC), but they have little margin for error with GLIAC rival Ashland sitting just a half point behind in third following its runner-up finish at the Indoor Championships (t9 XC).
Like the Adams State men, the Grand Valley State women are going for their fifth straight award, which for the first time this season will be named after their head coach: the Jerry Baltes Women’s Division II Program of the Year award. The Lakers could not win a third consecutive indoor title, but their fourth-place finish combined with their cross country championship in the fall has them in the lead with five points.
Just behind GVSU is Adams State with nine points after finishing sixth at the Indoor Championships and third at the cross country championships. Alaska Anchorage is a distant third with 17 points (6 XC/11 ITF).
The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field champions in Division II will be determined May 23-25, in Pueblo, Colo.
This is the first season of the Jerry Baltes Women’s Division II Program of the Year award As of January 2013, Baltes’ squads have won six NCAA titles. A "triple crown" of NCAA crowns in the 2010-11 academic year and Baltes’ squad became the first in Division II history, regardless of gender to win cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field national championships in the same academic year.
Division III: UW-La Crosse men, Wartburg women leading tight races for DIII POY awards
Not only did the UW-La Crosse men claim the NCAA DIII Indoor title this past weekend, they also vaulted up into the lead for the Al Carius Program of the Year Award. The Eagles add their one point for the indoor title to their fourth-place showing at the cross country championships for a total of five points.
The leader heading into the indoor championships was North Central (Ill.), which has won the award named after its coach Al Carius for the past three seasons. The Cardinals followed up their cross country title with an eighth-place finish at the indoor championships for a total of nine points.
The Wartburg women are on track to defend their Deb Vercauteren Women’s Division III Program of the Year award despite not performing up to their expectations at the indoor championships. The Knights finished fourth after coming in ranked No. 2, giving them six points in the award standings including their runner-up finish at the cross country championships.
Williams is No. 2 in the standings with 11 points following a seventh-place finish at the indoor championships and a fourth-place showing at the cross country championships. Williams finished third in the award standings last season.
The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field champions in Division III will be determined May 23-25, in LaCrosse, Wis.
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 23 NCAA Division III National Championships. Carius’ program last won a "triple crown" of NCAA titles during the 2009-2010 academic year.
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 won a combined 18 NCAA national titles and her student-athletes combined to earn over 345 All-American performances. Vercauteren won an impressive 36 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles (15 cross country, 11 indoors, and 10 outdoors).