DIII Pre-Championship Rankings: La Crosse Men & Women Stay at No. 1

DIII Pre-Championship Rankings: La Crosse Men & Women Stay at No. 1

NEW ORLEANS – As has been the case in every set of rankings this outdoor season, the UW-La Crosse men and women are favored to win the team titles at this weekend’s NCAA Division III championships.  The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released the rankings on Monday.

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From 1988 to 1997 and 2000-2013, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) never went more than a year without winning at least one outdoor team NCAA championship.  That streak looks like it will become 2000-2015, as the top three teams for both men and women are the same trio of WIAC schools.  No. 1 La Crosse, No. 2 UW-Eau Claire, and No. 3 UW-Whitewater make up the top three for both sexes.

If La Crosse sweeps, the Eagles would be just the third DIII team to win two cross country or track team titles on the same day.  St. Thomas (Minn.) swept the cross country championships in 1986, and Lincoln (Pa.) won both outdoor track & field titles in 2000, though their men shared the championship with North Central that year.  For the La Crosse men, it would be their second championship in three years and their eighth since 2000.  The UWL women haven’t won outdoors since 1984, though they did win an indoor championship just two months ago.

For the men and women of Eau Claire, it would be their second title in program history and their first ever outdoor title.  The Eau Claire men won indoor nationals this March and the Blugold women won cross country nationals in 2009.

NCAA Division III Computer Rankings Top 5 – Men

1)UW-La Crosse 2)UW-Eau Claire 3)MIT 4)Salisbury 5)Mount Union
UW-La Crosse UW-Eau Claire

UW-Whitewater

St. Olaf Monmouth (Ill.)
View Complete Men’s Computer Rankings

NCAA Division III Computer Rankings Top 5 – Women

1)UW-La Crosse 2)UW-Eau Claire 3)MIT 4)Johns Hopkins 5)MIT
UW-La Crosse UW-Eau Claire UW-Whitewater UW-Oshkosh MIT
View Complete Women’s Computer Rankings

For Whitewater’s teams, it would be their first national title ever in track & field or cross country.

These rankings are based on the championship entries.  Let’s break down the team battles that start this Thursday at St. Lawrence.

Men’s teams

The men’s team battle—just like indoors, where Eau Claire won by two—will come down to La Crosse and Eau Claire, and it will be close. The two teams have the most entries (La Crosse has twenty, Eau Claire fifteen), and way more rankings points than the rest of the country: La Crosse has 217.51, Eau Claire has 197.25, and no one else has more than 110.

Eau Claire caught a significant break when Dubuque didn’t declare Ernest Winters for the meet.  That means that Thurgood Dennis is the only man in the field who has broken 10.50 in the 100 with allowable wind this year.  Eau Claire was able to win indoor nationals despite Dennis struggling with injury issues—he took second in the 60 and didn’t make the 200 final—but La Crosse’s depth means that the Blugolds will need every point they can get in Canton.

Dennis is one of six men on these two teams who has an NCAA individual championship.  In their respective events, his teammates Roger Steen (shot put) and Brandon Zarnoth (multis) won indoor nationals in March, are ranked No. 1 in 2015, and are the top returners from 2014.

La Crosse equals their rivals with three NCAA titlists.  Thrower Grant Havard has DIII’s No. 1 mark in the discus by four meters and is the defending national champion in the event.  Dominique Neloms won the high jump and long jump at indoor nationals, and is ranked No. 1 in the high jump and No. 2 in the long jump.  And Ross Denman won the 400 at indoor nationals despite only having the nation’s ninth fastest regular season time; he’ll try to repeat that feat this weekend, where he comes in with the No. 8 time on the entry list.

Assuming those six win eight national titles between them leaves the two teams tied at forty points.  (This assumption has Neloms and Dennis pulling off doubles and Denman and Havard not scoring in their secondary events, though Havard is ranked sixth in the hammer)

Both teams have top four sprint relays; it’s somewhat safe to call that a wash as well. La Crosse’s edge comes from three entries in the pole vault, three in the hurdles, and three in the distances.   The latter will be key.  La Cross is projected to score two points total in the 800, 1500, and steeple, and Eau Clare is projected to get eight from Josh Thorson in the 5k.

But the distances are the events where the descending order sheets mean the least.  Distance runners often get their regular season marks in just to qualify—though less so in DIII—and then compete hard at nationals.  Eau Claire can make up serious points in the 5k and 10k; if they don’t, La Crosse can put the meet away in the field.

Four teams get to stand on the podium and collect trophies.  Among the schools battling for the last two spots will be Whitewater, No. 4 St. Olaf, No. 5 Monmouth (Ill.), No. 6 Augustana (Ill.), No. 7 Salisbury, No. 8 North Central (Ill.), No. 9 UW-Oshkosh, and No. 10 Oneonta.

St. Olaf has six men in the 1500 meters; if they all advance out of the prelims, that would mean that fully half of the final would be from Olaf.  Here’s how loaded the Ole 1500 crew is: they have the top three returners from last year’s NCAA final, and their top two finishers from that race–who were second and fourth in the nation a year ago—are only their second and fourth fastest men this year.

Women’s teams

In March, the UW-La Crosse women eked out a win by just six points over UW-Oshkosh for the first indoor national championship in team history. This May, the Eagles likely won’t have to sweat nearly as hard for their first outdoor title in three decades.
                    
100 meter runner Meg Heafy (100) and triple jumper Bria Halama have Division III’s top marks in their primary events, and they’re tipped for top-three performances in their secondary events (200 for Heafy, and the 400 for Halama). Long jumper Bailey Alston and their 4×100 meter relay are ranked second on the descending order list, and Laura Mead is ranked fourth nationally in the 5k and 10k. Those four women plus the relay are projected to score sixty points, which would have been good enough to win nationals seven of the last ten years.  And the Eagles could score a lot more than that.

With twenty-one entries—one and a half times more than any other team is bringing to Canton this week—the La Crosse women are heavily favored. They’re just a few rankings points shy of doubling up the entire country; at 252.36-131.03, the difference between No. 1 and No. 2 is the same as the gap between No. 2 and No. 77. The Eagles have fourteen women (if an athlete is in the top eight in two events, she’s counted twice) in the top eight on the descending lists, which is double the amount of projected scorers that any other team has.

No. 2 Eau Claire, No. 3 Whitewater, No. 4 Oshkosh, No. 5 MIT, No. 6 Illinois Wesleyan, No. 7 Baldwin Wallace, No. 8 Washington (Mo.), No. 9 North Central, and No. 10 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps are among the teams least interested in the preceding paragraphs.  Wartburg’s women last year and Illinois Wesleyan’s women in 2010 were both ranked third before winning it all, though the three squads to win nationals from 2011-13 were all ranked No. 1 coming into the meet.

Though Oshkosh is only ranked fourth based on entry marks, the Titans could repeat their indoor runner-up finish. They have two women who won national championships in 2014 but lack the nation’s No. 1 mark in 2015. Kylie Verhasselt won the 800 at indoor nationals a year ago, and Jecel Klotz is defending outdoor national champ in the shot put.

The fight for the podium—four teams stand on it—will be intense.  Eau Claire leads Whitewater by 7.50 rankings points, Whitewater leads Oshkosh by 6.04, and Oshkosh leads MIT by 7.87.

Regional rankings

In the final regional rankings, the same eight men’s teams that have led the way for most of the year stayed at No. 1.  They would be Brockport in the Atlantic, Central (Iowa) in the Central, Wabash in the Great Lakes, Widener in the Mideast, La Crosse in the Midwest, MIT in New England, Christopher Newport in the South/Southeast, and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the West.

La Crosse, MIT, Christopher Newport, and CMS swept their respective men’s and women’s regions.   The other four women’s regional No. 1s were Rowan in the Atlantic, Wartburg in the Central, Calvin in the Great Lakes, and Johns Hopkins in the Mideast.

These are the final 2015 Division III rankings. The NCAA Championships begin Thursday, May 21 at St. Lawerence.

USTFCCCA NCAA Division III

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)

2015 Week #8 — May 18 (pre-championships)

next ranking: none, NCAA Championships (May 21-23)
Rank Institution Points Conference Head Coach (Yr) Last Week
1 UW-La Crosse 217.51 WIAC Josh Buchholtz (7th) 1
2 UW-Eau Claire 197.25 WIAC Chip Schneider (13th) 2
3 UW-Whitewater 110.19 WIAC Mike Johnson (6th) 3
4 St. Olaf 102.39 MIAC Phil Lundin (7th) 7
5 Monmouth (Ill.) 89.85 Midwest Roger Haynes (32nd) 4
6 Augustana (Ill.) 88.49 CCIW Paul Olsen (46th) 6
7 Salisbury 85.72 CAC Jim Jones (16th) 5
8 North Central (Ill.) 73.08 CCIW Frank Gramarosso (5th) 8
9 UW-Oshkosh 70.39 WIAC Eamon McKenna (3rd) 20
10 SUNY Oneonta 67.46 SUNYAC Angelo Posillico (2nd) 10
11 UW-Stout 66.64 WIAC Kyle Steiner (2nd) 9
12 Greenville 62.36 SLIAC Brian Patton (21st) 27
13 Whitworth 60.39 Northwest Toby Schwarz (19th) 18
14 UW-Platteville 59.76 WIAC Chris Rotzenberg (3rd) 19
15 Washington (Mo.) 58.57 UAA Jeff Stiles (14th) 25
16 Williams 58.47 NESCAC David Thompson (2nd) 17
17 Central (Iowa) 57.91 IIAC Joe Dunham (7th) 16
18 Wartburg 56.45 IIAC Marcus Newsom (17th) 12
19 Widener 54.73 Middle Atlantic Vince Touey (28th) 29
20 Mount Union 53.19 OAC Kevin Lucas (5th) 23
21 Wabash 48.93 NCAC Clyde Morgan (7th) 11
22 Southern Maine 47.58 Little East Ryan Harkleroad (1st) 26
23 UW-Stevens Point 46.44 WIAC Rick Witt (36th) 14
24 UW-River Falls 45.36 WIAC Matthew Cole (2nd) 28
25 Redlands 44.64 SCIAC Mike Schmidt (8th) 24
dropped out: No. 13 Haverford, No. 15 Brockport, No. 21 Messiah, No. 22 SUNY Cortland
View All Teams Beyond the Top 25

 

Men’s Conference Index Top 10
Rank Conference Points Top 25 Teams
1 WIAC 813.54 8
2 CCIW 203.83 2
3 MIAC 168.93 1
4 SUNYAC 163.84 1
5 IIAC 156.43 2
6 CAC 143.34 1
7 NESCAC 132.00 1
8 UAA 131.11 1
9 Middle Atlantic 125.40 1
10 Midwest Conference 119.07 1

 

Men’s Regional Index Leaders (FINAL)
Region Institution Points Last Week
Atlantic Brockport 387.93 1
Central Central (Iowa) 382.20 1
Great Lakes Wabash 423.36 1
Mideast Widener 448.04 1
Midwest UW-La Crosse 495.10 1
New England MIT 414.90 1
South/Southeast Christopher Newport 435.67 1
West Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 507.67 1
View All Regional Rankings

 

USTFCCCA NCAA Division III

Women’s Outdoor Track & Field National Team Computer Rankings (Top 25)

2015 Week #8 — May 18 (pre-championships)

next ranking: none, NCAA Championships (May 21-23)
Rank Institution Points Conference Head Coach (Yr) Last Week
1 UW-La Crosse 252.36 WIAC Pat Healy (24th) 1
2 UW-Eau Claire 131.03 WIAC Chip Schneider (9th) 2
3 UW-Whitewater 123.53 WIAC Mike Johnson (4th) 8
4 UW-Oshkosh 117.49 WIAC Ben Dorsey (3rd) 4
5 MIT 109.62 NEWMAC Halston Taylor (8th) 3
6 Illinois Wesleyan 94.88 CCIW Chris Schumacher (18th) 5
7 Baldwin Wallace 89.32 OAC Bill Taraschke (30th) 10
8 Washington (Mo.) 85.59 UAA Jeff Stiles (14th) 6
9 North Central (Ill.) 80.65 CCIW Kari Kluckhohn (12th) 9
10 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 77.60 SCIAC Kelly Beck (1st) 7
11 Wartburg 73.72 IIAC Marcus Newsom (17th) 19
12 Johns Hopkins 67.99 Centennial Bobby Van Allen (16th) 11
13 Cal Lutheran 67.81 SCIAC Matt Lea (7th) 16
14 Rowan 64.38 NJAC Derick “Ringo” Adamson (8th) 17
15 Rhodes 63.66 SAA Robert Shankman (24th) 12
16 Luther 60.02 IIAC Jeffrey Wettach (9th) 30
17 UW-Stevens Point 58.33 WIAC Brett Witt (1st) 14
18 UW-Stout 55.14 WIAC Kyle Steiner (2nd) 13
19 Aurora 54.18 NACC Ryan Chapman (7th) 21
20 UW-Platteville 53.74 WIAC Chris Rotzenberg (3rd) 18
21 Williams 52.93 NESCAC Nate Hoey (2nd) 22
22 St. Lawrence 50.96 Liberty League Kate Curran (7th) 15
23 Lehman 45.86 CUNYAC Pete Charles (3rd) 24
24 Ohio Wesleyan 44.99 NCAC Kris Boey (13th) 23
25 St. Thomas (Minn.) 44.08 MIAC Joe Sweeney (35th) 36
dropped out: No. 20 George Fox, No. 25 Cornell College
View All Teams Beyond the Top 25

 

Women’s Conference Index Top 10
Rank Conference Points Top 25 Teams
1 WIAC 793.12 7
2 IIAC 200.50 2
3 CCIW 190.11 2
4 SCIAC 185.60 2
5 NEWMAC 166.28 1
6 OAC 162.21 1
7 NJAC 139.62 1
8 NESCAC 130.72 1
9 MIAC 128.80 1
10 Centennial 125.83 1

 

Women’s Regional Index Leaders (FINAL)
Region Institution Points Last Week
Atlantic Rowan 282.00 4
Central Wartburg 364.18 1
Great Lakes Calvin 372.56 1
Mideast Johns Hopkins 317.33 1
Midwest UW-La Crosse 538.10 1
New England MIT 527.65 1
South/Southeast Christopher Newport 390.43 2
West Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 666.20 1
View All Regional Rankings

 

USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field

2015 Rankings Calendar
Weeks National TFRIRegional TFRIConfernce TFRI#EventSquad KEY DATES
PreseasonTue 3/24
MEN | WOMEN
Week 1Mon 4/6
MEN | WOMEN
Mon 4/6
MEN | WOMEN
Week 2Mon 4/13
MEN | WOMEN
Mon 4/13
MEN | WOMEN
Week 3Mon 4/20
MEN | WOMEN
Mon 4/20
MEN | WOMEN
Week 4Mon 4/27
MEN | WOMEN
Mon 4/27
MEN | WOMEN
Week 5Mon 5/4
MEN | WOMEN
Mon 5/4
MEN | WOMEN
Week 6Mon 5/11
MEN | WOMEN
Mon 5/11
MEN | WOMEN
Week 7Mon 5/18
MEN | WOMEN
Mon 5/18
MEN | WOMEN
Week 8Tue 5/26
MEN | WOMEN
Week 9Mon 6/1
MEN | WOMEN
FINAL ResultsSat 6/13
MEN | WOMEN
Week-by-Week Ranking Charts

>> NATIONAL TFRI
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>> REGIONAL TFRI
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