Texas A&M-Commerce Men Favored for NCAA DII Outdoor Title
NEW ORLEANS – Since 1982, the men’s NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field national team title has been won by only three programs: Saint Augustine’s (13 titles), now-Division I Abilene Christian (19) and Adams State (1).
If the final National Team Computer Rankings – released Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) – hold to form, another team will break into that exclusive club this weekend at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships May 21-23 in Allendale, Michigan: Texas A&M-Commerce.
After checking in at No. 1 last week following the conclusion of the regular season, the Lions stayed atop these final rankings that take into account only entries into the NCAA Championships.
With a team rankings score of 181.11 points, Commerce is only a moderate favorite over a pack of nine more teams that are projected as strong contenders for the four team podium spots. Heading that chase group is perhaps its biggest threat in two-time defending national champion No. 2 Saint Augustine’s (152.88) and 2013 national runner-up No. 3 Ashland (147.21).
A reminder: the National Team Computer Rankings formula does not equate to the NCAA Championships scoring system. A full breakdown of the process can be found here.
Still projected as very much in the hunt is cross country and indoor national champion No. 4 Adams State (136.89), No. 5 Texas A&M-Kingsville (134.28), No. 6 Findlay (125.82), No. 7 Minnesota State (125.27), host No. 8 Grand Valley State (114.86), No. 9 Pittsburg State (109.82) and No. 10 Central Missouri (106.61).
For Adams State, a national title would make them the first men’s team in NCAA Division II history to sweep the cross country, indoor and outdoor national titles in one academic year. They’ll have to do so without defending outdoor 5000 meters national champion Kevin Batt, who turned professional earlier this spring.
Since the beginning of the rankings in 2010, only in 2012 did more teams for either gender (12 men’s teams) enter the NCAA Championships at more than 100 points.
The race for the national title at the top between Commerce, Saint Augustine’s and Ashland will likely be even closer than the team ranking scores indicate.
All three teams are virtually identical in their top-flight contenders: Saint Augustine’s has a nation-best 11 entries seeded among the top-10 of their respective events to Commerce’s and Ashland’s 10.
Dig even deeper, and the Falcons also have the advantage in terms of entries seeded top-three in their respective events with four (tied for the most with Texas A&M-Kingsville and Findlay). Commerce and Ashland both have three, as do Adams State, Minnesota State, and Central Missouri.
Where Commerce has the edge, however, is total entries. With a nation-best 17 entries, the Lions have the highest potential for athletes to step up and provide valuable points in the team effort. Grand Valley State is second on that list with 15, followed by Ashland with 14 and Saint Augustine’s with 13.
Keep a particular eye on the following “swing” events that will go a long way in determining the team title:
- Hammer throw: Six of Ashland’s 14 total entries into the championships are in this event – including No. 3 Jordan Crayon and No. 4 Zac Ball – and five are seeded among the top 10. Commerce’s Masoud Moghaddam is seeded fifth, and could provide a big boost by simultaneously finishing high on the podium for more TAMU-Commerce points while depriving Ashland of their crucial points.
- 5000 meters: While only Adams State has entries in this race of the team podium contenders, there is a crucial X-factor in this race for the Grizzlies: Tabor Stevens. Already the overwhelming favorite to claim his third consecutive steeplechase title, he’s also the defending national runner-up in this event. The rankings only factor him in as the 12th seed, and he’ll have to try make up the points left on the table by the absence of Batt. His teammate Matt Daniels is the top seed in the event.
- 200/400 meters, 100 hurdles: Sprints are the engines that have powered the Saint Augustine’s program to historic heights over the past three decades. The Falcons have three top-10 entries at both 200 and 400 meters, led by top-seed Omar Johnson at 400 and third-seed Burkhart Ellis, Jr., at 200 meters. The Falcons could also get a significant boost from hurdler Moussa Dembele, who is seeded No. 10 this year but is the fifth-fastest DII hurdler of all time with a 13.59 from 2013. The 2013 indoor national hurdles champion went on to make the finals outdoor that year but not record a time, and miss NCAAs a year ago.
USTFCCCA NCAA Division II
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)
2015 Week #10 — MONDAY, May 18
|next ranking: final, NCAA Championships (May 21-23)|
|Rank||Institution||Points||Conference||Head Coach (Yr)||Last Week|
|1||Texas A&M-Commerce||181.11||Lone Star||Tom Dibbern (2nd)||1|
|2||Saint Augustine’s||152.88||CIAA||George Williams (39th)||3|
|3||Ashland||147.21||GLIAC||Jud Logan (12th)||2|
|4||Adams State||136.89||RMAC||Rock Light (2nd)||4|
|5||Texas A&M-Kingsville||134.28||Lone Star||Ryan Dall (7th)||5|
|6||Findlay||125.82||GLIAC||Marc Arce (27th)||7|
|7||Minnesota State||125.27||NSIC||Jim Dilling (2nd)||6|
|8||Grand Valley State||114.86||GLIAC||Jerry Baltes (16th)||9|
|9||Pittsburg State||109.82||MIAA||Russ Jewett (27th)||8|
|10||Central Missouri||106.61||MIAA||Kirk Pedersen (19th)/Kip Janvrin (17th)||10|
|11||Angelo State||94.83||Lone Star||James Reid (16th)||11|
|12||Tiffin||92.75||GLIAC||Jeremy Croy (15th)||12|
|13||Southern Indiana||92.10||GLVC||Mike Hillyard (17th)||14|
|14||West Texas A&M||86.61||Lone Star||Darren Flowers (6th)||13|
|15||Missouri Southern||79.23||MIAA||Bryan Schiding (2nd)||15|
|16||Colorado Mines||77.29||RMAC||Matt Sparks (2nd)||17|
|17||Alaska Anchorage||71.09||GNAC||Michael Friess (25th)||16|
|18||Shippensburg||69.13||PSAC||Dave Osanitsch (10th)||18|
|19||Chico State||67.46||CCAA||Oliver Hanf (3rd)||19|
|20||Johnson C. Smith||59.31||CIAA||Lennox Graham (8th)||21|
|21||Western State||57.83||RMAC||Chris Bradford (6th)||22|
|22||Hillsdale||54.15||GLIAC||Andrew Towne (1st)||24|
|23||Lincoln (Mo.)||53.81||MIAA||Victor Thomas (14th)||23|
|24||Stillman||52.61||SIAC||Pierre Goode (7th)||26|
|25||Azusa Pacific||50.71||PacWest||Kevin Reid (20th)||25|
|dropped out: No. 20 CSU-Pueblo|
|View All Teams Beyond the Top 25|
|Men’s Conference Index Top 10|
|Rank||Conference||Points||Top 25 Teams|
|Men’s Regional Index Leaders (FINAL)|
|Midwest||Grand Valley State||482.33||1|
|South Central||Texas A&M-Commerce||564.25||1|
|View All Regional Rankings|