The Warm-Up Lap: Team Competition Takes Center Stage with Conference Championships

By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA

February 27, 2014   

NEW ORLEANS – Team competitions take center stage in the world of track & field this weekend with conference championships meets fully in the spotlight for the first time this season.

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Division I | Division II | Division III

This Weekend’s Meets
Collegiate U20 Rankings
2014 Indoor T&F Bests by Football Players

After a handful of league meets last weekend whetted the appetites of track & field fans, the next four days are most certainly the main course with 19 meets in Division I, seven in Division II and 15 in Division III.

While a number of these conference championships meets feature significant concentrations of nationally ranked programs, it is important to note that the USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings may not necessarily be the best predictor in a league meet setting.

Conference championship  meets are won and lost on team depth, while the National Team Computer Rankings favor more top-heavy teams with student-athletes who have the greatest potential to score points at a national championship meet with significantly more teams represented.

Regardless, rankings can, to a degree, be thrown out the window when conference crowns between rivals are at stake.

Student-athletes are presented the opportunity to do more than attempt to qualify for the NCAA championships; they have the chance to push themselves to the limit to lead their teams to glory.

This past week’s National Athletes of the Week realized that potential through Herculean efforts and late-race heroics, transcending beyond the NCAA qualification procedure and taking on a larger meaning for themselves and their programs.

Who will take on that mantle this week and carry their teams to conference titles? Keep reading to find out how you can follow all the action as it unfolds at each of the 41 conference championship meets this weekend and the total 73 meets on the collegiate calendar.

USTFCCCA InfoZone: Broadcast Schedule

Thursday, February 27, 2014

1:55 PM ET / 
12:55 PM CT
SEC Indoor Championships
(College Station, Texas)
WEB: AggieAthletics.com LIVE
Hept/Pent

Friday, February 28, 2014

11:00 AM ET / 
10:00 AM CT
Big 12 Indoor Championships
(Ames, Iowa)
WEB: Big12Sports.com LIVE
11:30 AM ET / 
10:30 AM CT
WIAC Indoor Championships
(Whitewater, Wis.)
WEB: UWW.edu LIVE
1:45 PM ET / 
12:45 PM CT
Midwest Conference Indoor Championships
(Mount Vernon, Iowa)
WEB: Midwest Conference LIVE
1:45 PM ET NYSCTC Indoor Championships
(Canton, N.Y.)
WEB: SaintsAthletics.com LIVE
1:55 PM ET / 
12:55 PM CT
SEC Indoor Championships
(College Station, Texas)
WEB: AggieAthletics.com LIVE
60H prelims
/Hept 60H
2:55 PM ET SEC Indoor Championships
(College Station, Texas)
WEB: ESPN3 LIVE
3:00 PM ET / 
12:00 PM PT
MPSF Championships
(Seattle, Wash.)
WEB: Flotrack Pro LIVE
sub. required
4:00 PM ET ACC Indoor Championships
(Clemson, S.C.)
WEB: ESPN3 LIVE
5:00 PM ET / 
3:00 PM MT
Big Sky Indoor Championships
(Pocatello, Idaho)
WEB: iHigh.com LIVE
6:00 PM ET / 
5:00 PM CT
IIAC Indoor Championships
(Decorah, Iowa)
WEB: IIAC LIVE

 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

9:45 AM ET NYSCTC Indoor Championships
(Canton, N.Y.)
WEB: SaintsAthletics.com LIVE
10:00 AM ET / 
9:00 AM CT
WIAC Indoor Championships
(Whitewater, Wis.)
WEB: UWW.edu LIVE
10:15 AM ET / 
9:15 AM CT
Midwest Conference Indoor Championships
(Mount Vernon, Iowa)
WEB: Midwest Conference LIVE
12:00 PM ET / 
11:00 AM CT
Big 12 Indoor Championships
(Ames, Iowa)
WEB: Big12Sports.com LIVE
12:00 PM ET / 
11:00 AM CT
IIAC Indoor Championships
(Decorah, Iowa)
WEB: IIAC LIVE
12:00 PM ET / 
10:00 AM MT
Big Sky Indoor Championships
(Pocatello, Idaho)
WEB: iHigh.com LIVE
12:00 PM ET ACC Indoor Championships
(Clemson, S.C.)
WEB: ESPN3 LIVE
1:30 PM ET / 
10:30 AM PT
MPSF Championships
(Seattle, Wash.)
WEB: Flotrack Pro LIVE
sub. required
1:50 PM ET SEC Indoor Championships
(College Station, Texas)
WEB: ESPN3 LIVE
3:15 PM ET Horizon Indoor Championships
(Youngstown, Ohio)
WEB: Horizon League LIVE

Sunday, March 2, 2014

12:00 PM ET Ivy League Heptagonal Championships
(New Haven, Conn.)
WEB: Ivy League LIVE
12:45 PM ET Horizon Indoor Championships
(Youngstown, Ohio)
WEB: Horizon League LIVE
3:45 PM ET Boston University Last Chance
(Boston, Mass.)
WEB: Flotrack Pro LIVE
sub. required

 

Division I Conference Championships

This Weekend’s Div. I Conference Championships

Click on each conference logo to be directed to more info about the meet.

The full listing of Division I conference championships can be found here.

"ACC" "American" "Big 12" "Big Sky"
ACC
Feb. 27 – Mar. 1
American
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
Big 12
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
Big Sky
Feb. 27 – Mar. 1
"Big South" "Big Ten" "Conference USA" "Horizon"
Big South
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
Big Ten
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
Conference USA
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
Horizon League
Mar. 1 – 2
"Ivy" "Mid-American" "Missouri Valley" "Mountain West"
Ivy League
Mar. 1 – 2
MAC
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
MVC
Mar. 1 – 2
Mountain West
Feb. 27 – Mar. 1
"MPSF" "Ohio Valley" "SEC" "Southern"
MPSF
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
OVC
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
SEC
Feb. 27 – Mar. 1
Southern Conference
Mar. 1 – 2
"Southland" "Summit League" "WAC"  
Southland
Feb. 26 – 27
Summit League
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
WAC
Feb. 26 – 28
 

 

Of the 41 conference championship meets this weekend, nearly half of them – 17, to be precise – are at the Division I level.

An overarching storyline surrounding the entire weekend in Division I is what effect the removal of "last chance" meets will have on the dynamic of these conference championship meets.

As if student-athletes needed any more motivation on conference championship weekend, this new de facto "last chance weekend" may serve as extra incentive for some exceptional performances.

In terms of actual competition, the SEC Championships (Feb. 27-Mar. 1) appears to be the crème de la crème.

The top three men’s teams (No. 1 Arkansas, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Texas A&M) and five of the top seven women’s teams (No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Arkansas, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 7 Georgia) are among the total seven top-25 men’s teams and eight top-25 women’s teams set to square off at Texas A&M.

On the men’s side, Arkansas has claimed three of the past four SEC team crowns to Florida’s one, but Florida ultimately won three of the past four NCAA team titles to Arkansas’ one. At No. 1 and No. 2 nationally, this year looks to be shaping up into a similar duel.

Both the MPSF and Big Ten championship meets will feature six total nationally ranked teams between men and women, and both will feature top-10 match-ups on the men’s side.

The MPSF meet (Feb. 28-Mar. 1) will see top-10 showdowns on both the women’s and men’s sides with the four-time defending women’s indoor national champion No. 1 Oregon Ducks against No. 9 Stanford and No. 19 UCLA. The Duck men are the top-ranked MPSF squad, up against No. 9 Arizona and No. 23 Stanford.

The No. 4 Wisconsin men and No. 7 Penn State men will do battle at the Big Ten Championships (Feb. 28-Mar. 1) in Geneva, Ohio, among a field with a pair of other top-25 squads in No. 21 Nebraska and No. 25 Ohio State. The women’s competition will include No. 11 Penn State and No. 17 Purdue.

With five total top-25 teams apiece, the Big 12 (Feb. 28-Mar. 1) and the ACC (Feb. 27-Mar. 1) meets will also be very hotly contested. The ACC men’s competition also features a top-10 showdown with No. 6 Florida State and No. 10 Notre Dame.

Division I Top 10 in Action

MEN’S TOP 10

1. Arkansas SEC Indoor Championships
2. Florida SEC Indoor Championships
3. Texas A&M SEC Indoor Championships
4. Wisconsin Big Ten Indoor Championships
6. Florida State ACC Indoor Championships
7. Penn State Big Ten Indoor Championships
10. Notre Dame ACC Indoor Championships
WOMEN’S TOP 10

2. Florida SEC Indoor Championships
3. Texas A&M SEC Indoor Championships
4. Arkansas SEC Indoor Championships
5. Texas Big 12 Indoor Championships
6. Kentucky SEC Indoor Championships
7. Georgia SEC Indoor Championships
8. Providence New England (NEICAAA) Indoor Championships
10. Dartmouth Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships

 

Division II Conference Championships

This Weekend’s Div. II Conference Championships

Click on each conference logo to be directed to more info about the meet.

The full listing of Division II conference championships can be found here.

"GLIAC" "GLVC" "Lone Star" "MIAA"
GLIAC
Mar. 1 – 2
GLVC
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
Lone Star
Mar. 1 – 2
MIAA
Feb. 28 – Mar. 2
"NSIC" "PSAC" "RMAC"  
NSIC
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
PSAC
Mar. 1 – 2
RMAC
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
 

 

With seven league championships this weekend, Division II has the smallest slate of conference meets as the smallest of the three NCAA Divisions in terms of membership.

Where it lacks in quantity it more than makes up in quality, however, with three different conference championship meets with eight total top-25 teams between men and women in the GLIAC, the MIAA and the RMAC, and another with seven in the NSIC.

At the GLIAC Championships (Mar. 1-2) the No. 1 Grand Valley State women are up against a pair of top-10 teams in No. 4 Ashland and No. 9 Tiffin, along with no. 21 Ferris State. The men’s competition at Hillsdale will be just as intense between No. 3 Ashland, No. 5 GVSU, No. 7 Findlay and No. 15 Lake Erie.

The team GVSU supplanted atop the women’s rankings this week was No. 2 Adams State, which has a tough test of its own at the RMAC meet (Feb. 28-Mar. 1). The Grizzlies will face off with No. 6 New Mexico Highlands and No. 10 Western State, along with No. 17 Metro State and No. 25 Chadron State.

Adams State’s top-ranked men will square off with No. 14 Colorado Mines and No. 18 Western State.

The MIAA (Feb. 28-Mar. 2) is another meet featuring three top-10 men’s teams duking it out for conference supremacy in No. 6 Missouri Southern, No. 8 Nebraska-Kearney and No. 9 Pittsburg State, not to mention No. 16 Southwest Baptist and No. 17 Lincoln (Mo.).

The preseason favorite and current No. 3 Lincoln women headline a field with No. 15 Central Missouri and No. 24 Nebraska Kearney.

This is the final weekend to record qualifying marks to the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships.

Division II

MEN’S TOP 10

1. Adams State RMAC Indoor Championships
2. Saint Augustine’s George Mason Last Chance
3. Ashland GLIAC Indoor Championships
4. Minnesota State NSIC Indoor Championships
5. Grand Valley State GLIAC Indoor Championships
6. Missouri Southern MIAA Indoor Championships
7. Findlay GLIAC Indoor Championships
8. Neb.-Kearney MIAA Indoor Championships
9. Pittsburg State MIAA Indoor Championships
10. Southern Indiana GLVC Indoor Championships
WOMEN’S TOP 10

1. Grand Valley State GLIAC Indoor Championships
2. Adams State RMAC Indoor Championships
3. Lincoln (Mo.) MIAA Indoor Championships
4. Ashland GLIAC Indoor Championships
6. New Mexico Highlands RMAC Indoor Championships
8. Saint Augustine’s George Mason Last Chance
9. Tiffin GLIAC Indoor Championships
10. Western State RMAC Indoor Championships

 

Division III Conference Championships

This Weekend’s Div. III Conference Championships

Click on each conference logo to be directed to more info about the meet.

The full listing of Division III conference championships can be found here.

"CCIW" "Centennial" "CUNYAC" "IIAC"
CCIW
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
Centennial
Mar. 1 – 2
CUNYAC
Mar. 2
IIAC
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
"Landmark" "Middle Atlantic" "Midwest Conference" "NACC"
Landmark
Mar. 1
MAC
Mar. 1
Midwest
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
NACC
Mar. 1
"NJAC" "OAC" "ODAC" "PAC"
NJAC
Mar. 1
OAC
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
ODAC
Mar. 2
PAC
Feb. 27
"SUNYAC" "UAA" "WIAC"  
SUNYAC
Mar. 1
UAA
Mar. 1 – 2
WIAC
Feb. 28 – Mar. 1
 

 

Of the 15 conference championships taking place across Division III this weekend, by far the one with the potentially most significant impact on the national scene will be the WIAC meet (Feb. 28-Mar. 1) in Whitewater, Wis., with both genders’ defending national champions and a total 11 top-25 men’s and women’s teams renewing their always-intense rivalries.

Among the six nationally ranked men’s teams are four of the top 10 teams in the nation, including defending national champion No. 1 UW-La Crosse, No. 3 UW-Oshkosh, No. 4 UW-Eau Claire and No. 8 UW-Whitewater. No. 11 UW-Stout is perched just outside the top 10.

The La Crosse men have claimed 38 of the league’s last 45 team titles, with the last non-UWL title coming from Oshkosh in 2001.

The top-ranked UW-La Crosse women will square off with defending national champion No. 2 UW-Oshkosh and No. 5 UW-Whitewater, along with No. 24 UW-Stout and No. 25 UW-Platteville.

Last season’s WIAC crown went to La Crosse over Oshkosh, but Oshkosh would have the final word with a decisive national title while UWL would finish third. A big part of that team title for UWO was Christy Cazzola, who opened up her senior season just two weeks ago, and her national titles in the mile and 5000 meters, along with the DMR.

Other league meets with two top-25 men’s and women’s teams each include the CCIW (Feb. 28-Mar. 1) and the IIAC (Feb. 28-Mar. 1) meets. The IIAC meet will feature former preseason favorite No. 3 Wartburg – winners of three of the past five national indoor team titles in 2009, 2010 and 2012 – trying to reclaim their No. 1 spot in the rankings entering this year’s NCAA meet.

Unlike Divisions I and II, Division III has one more opportunity for qualification to NCAAs remaining next weekend.

Division III Top 10 in Action

MEN’S TOP 10

1. UW-La Crosse WIAC Indoor Championships
2. North Central (Ill.) CCIW Indoor Championships
3. UW-Oshkosh WIAC Indoor Championships
4. UW-Eau Claire WIAC Indoor Championships
5. Mount Union OAC Indoor Championships
6. Haverford Centennial Indoor Championships
7. MIT New England (NEICAAA) Indoor Championships
8. UW-Whitewater WIAC Indoor Championships
9. Tufts New England (NEICAAA) Indoor Championships
10. SUNY Cortland SUNYAC Indoor Championships
WOMEN’S TOP 10

1. UW-La Crosse WIAC Indoor Championships
2. UW-Oshkosh WIAC Indoor Championships
3. Wartburg IIAC Indoor Championships
4. MIT New England (NEICAAA) Indoor Championships
5. UW-Whitewater WIAC Indoor Championships
6. Wheaton (Mass.) Boston University Last Chance
  New England (NEICAAA) Indoor Championships
7. Williams New England (NEICAAA) Indoor Championships
8. Johns Hopkins Centennial Indoor Championships
9. Illinois Wesleyan CCIW Indoor Championships