Adams State, GVSU Earn NCAA DII Program of the Year Awards
NEW ORLEANS – With the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the rearview mirror, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Thursday the winners of the Damon Martin Men’s Program of the Year and Jerry Baltes Women’s Program of the Year awards for the 2015 DII season.
Adams State’s men claimed their seventh consecutive Damon Martin Program of the Year Award – one in each of the seven years of the award’s existence – while Grand Valley State’s women captured their sixth Jerry Baltes Program of the Year Award.
The USTFCCCA Program of the Year Award is awarded annually to the most outstanding cross country/track & field programs in each of the NCAA’s three divisions and for each gender. 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 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.
Adams State followed cross country and indoor national titles with a fifth-place tie outdoors for a total of 7½ points, well ahead of runner-up Grand Valley State with 14½ and third-place Ashland at 17. The Grizzlies got outdoor national titles from Tabor Stevens in the 3000-meter steeplechase and at 5000 meters, with Oliver Aitchison adding a 1500-meter title.
ASU and GVSU had only been separated by 2½ points entering the outdoor championships, where GVSU finished 10th. The Lakers finished runner-up in the standings for the second year in a row.
The Grand Valley State women had to mount a comeback at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to secure their award, scoring 11 total points across all three seasons to narrowly edge out GLIAC rival Hillsdale with 13. Adams State was third at 31½.
Hillsdale entered the Championships with just four points after national runner-up finishes in cross country and indoor track & field, while GVSU came in with seven with a cross country national title and a sixth-place indoor finish.
Competing on their home track, the Lakers finished fourth overall while Hillsdale finished tied for eighth. GVSU got a national title at 10,000 meters from Amy Cymerman, while Kendra Foley finished runner-up at 5000 meters and Laura Schoeder was runner-up in the hammer throw.
Hillsdale had never finished higher than ninth in the final Program of the Year standings, which it did in 2010-2011.