UW-La Crosse, MIT Headline Preseason DIII ITF Rankings

By Tyler Mayforth, USTFCCCA

January 12, 2016   

NEW ORLEANS — If the National Team Computer Rankings are right, there won’t be a repeat team champion at the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships for either gender.

The preseason edition of the National Team Computer Rankings were released Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and both reigning national champions, the UW-Eau Claire men and the UW-La Crosse women, are starting as underdogs.

NCAA Division III National Team Rankings Top 5 – Men

1)Florida 2)Texas 3)Oregon 4)Texas A&M 5)Texas
UW-La Crosse UW-Oshkosh North Central (Ill.) UW-Eau Claire Mount Union
138.82 pts 108.36 pts 94.49 pts 92.99 pts 79.61 pts
View Complete Men’s National Coaches’ Poll

 

NCAA Division III National Team Rankings Top 5 – Women

1)Florida 2)Texas 3)Oregon 4)Texas A&M 5)Texas
MIT Illinois-Wesleyan UW-La Crosse UW-Oshkosh Baldwin Wallace
178.85 pts 141.67 pts 131.75 pts 91.63 pts 89.86 pts
View Complete Women’s National Coaches’ Poll

 

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In the men’s rankings, the UW-La Crosse men knocked the Blugolds off their perch. The Eagles, who were runner-ups at the 2015 NCAA meet, tallied 138.82 points. UW-Eau Claire fell to fourth.

For the women, MIT soared from No. 4 last year to No. 1 this year. The Engineers totaled 178.85 points, putting it well ahead of No. 2 Illinois Wesleyan (141.67).

Scores in the National Team Computer Rankings were determined by the USTFCCCA computers using preseason event rankings that include the top marks of the recent NCAA indoor track & field seasons by returning student-athletes and the top marks of the young 2016 campaign. Marks from the outdoor season are not included, nor are marks from incoming freshmen.

The closer an athlete is to the top of his or her event rankings, the more points he or she earns toward the team total. Points from all applicable athletes are added up to determine team scores.

The point system used in the rankings is not the same as the scoring system used for the NCAA Championships.

A full breakdown of the national rankings methodology can be found here.

It should also be noted that the USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings should not be referenced to as a "poll," since no voting was conducted.

Men’s Breakdown

Following a runner-up finish at the 2015 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, UW-La Crosse is poised to make a run at its 18th national title this season.

Three sprinters as well as two distance runners have the opportunity to lead the Eagles to greatness this season.

Ross Denman, who won the 400-meter title last year, returns for his junior year and is expected to fare well in the 200 meters alongside teammate Zach Rothering. Zak Wallenfang could make some noise in the 400 meters as well, since he’s the fifth fastest returning athlete in the event from last year. Both Tom Linner (mile) and Nate Rothier (3000, 5000) are listed among those athletes who are expected to score big in their respective events.

Settling in behind UW-La Crosse is Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference bretheren UW-Oshkosh at No. 2, traditional powerhouse North Central (Ill.) at No. 3, former No. 1 UW-Eau Claire at No. 4 and Mount Union at No. 5.

UW-Oshkosh hopes Naji Allen (60 meters), Robert Lara (mile), Zachary Baehman (shot put) as well as two relay teams (4×400, distance medley) live up to their potential.

North Central (Ill.) is going to go as far as its distance runners take it, according to the rankings. The Cardinals return several top-10 athletes in Aron Sebhat (mile, 3000), Tim Vazquez (5000) and Tim Hoffman (5000). 2015 pole vault champ Luke Winder also returns with hopes of making it two in a row.

UW-Eau Claire features Josh Thorson (3000), two solid relay teams (4×400, distance medley) as well as the top returner in the shot put, Alex Mess.

Mount Union already received a strong mark from Tyler Orewiler in the pole vault this season and if he continues his progression, he’ll join heptathlete Andrew Milhoan as the athletes that the team needs to come through to succeed.

Elsewhere in the rankings, there were a few teams that jumped obscene amounts. No. 6 Williams rocketed 49 spots from last year, No. 15 Widener soared 39 spots, No. 18 Central (Iowa) jumped 37 and No. 20 Nazareth climbed 35 slots.

Women’s Breakdown

Distance is the name of the game for MIT in 2016.

Thanks to Maryann Gong, Sarah Quinn, Christina Wicker and Nicole Zeinstra, the Engineers should be able to build upon their fourth-place finish in North Carolina last year. Gong is the top returning athlete in the mile and 3000 (she won the 2015 title), Quinn is among the top-3 in both the mile and 5000, Wicker is a strong candidate to score high in the mile and Zeinstra should attack the 5000 with vigor.

Let’s not forget MIT also returns Cimran Virdi, the 2015 pole vault champion.

What distance is to the Engineers, the field events are where Illinois Wesleyan hopes to shine.

The Titans have one of the division’s best high jumpers in Molly McGraw and one of the best long jumpers in Amelia Glueck. When Nia Joiner isn’t blistering the track in the 60 meters, she’ll also try to soar out of the long jump pit. And if pentathlete Jill Harmon breaks up her events, she’ll be right up with the others as well but in the triple jump.

For UW-La Crosse to defend its crown, it will rely on Maggie Slatter in the 60 meters as well as Claire Gordee in the 60 hurdles. You can’t forget about Bria Halama, the reigning triple jump champion, or thrower Kendra Anthony (shot put, weight throw) either.

Rounding out the top-5 is Baldwin Wallace, up 20 spots from last year. The Yellow Jackets feature a strong overall athlete in Melanie Winters (top returning pentathlete) as well as thrower Kim Gallavan (shot put, weight throw).

Other teams with big jumps in the rankings include No. 9 Chicago (up from No. 25), No. 11 Ithaca (up from No. 43), No. 15 UW-Stout (up from No. 39). Going the other way, having lost strong athletes to graduation, were No. 13 UW-Eau Claire (down from No. 4) and No. 23 Buffalo State (down from No. 8).

USTFCCCA NCAA Division III

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

2016 Preseason — January 12

next ranking: January 26
Rank Institution Points Conference Head Coach (Yr) 2015 FINAL
1 UW-La Crosse 138.82 WIAC Josh Buchholtz (8th) 2
2 UW-Oshkosh 108.36 WIAC Ben Dorsey (1st) 8
3 North Central (Ill.) 94.49 CCIW Frank Gramarosso (6th) 5
4 UW-Eau Claire 92.99 WIAC Chip Schneider (14th) 1
5 Mount Union 79.61 OAC Kevin Lucas (6th) 3
6 Williams 75.19 NESCAC Ethan Barron (1st) 55
7 St. Olaf 64.51 MIAC Phil Lundin (8th) 4
8 Wartburg 60.08 IIAC Marcus Newsom (18th) 24
9 Monmouth (Ill.) 59.35 Midwest Roger Haynes (33rd) 12
10 UW-Stevens Point 53.90 WIAC Rick Witt (37th) 21
11 UW-Whitewater 53.56 WIAC Mike Johnson (7th) 9
12 Ramapo 52.50 NJAC Mike Jackson (12th) 45
13 Saint John Fisher 48.15 Empire 8 Mike Henchen (4th) 45
14 Rhode Island College 47.64 Little East Kevin Jackson (15th) 24
15 Widener 44.79 Middle Atlantic Vince Touey (29th) 61
16 Haverford 43.68 Centennial Tom Donnelly (41st) 45
17 Tufts 42.37 NESCAC Joel Williams (1st) 15
18 Central (Iowa) 42.30 IIAC Joe Dunham (8th) 55
19 Salisbury 40.89 CAC Jim Jones (17th) 17
20 Nazareth 38.55 Empire 8 James Goss (6th) 55
21 Delaware Valley 38.40 Middle Atlantic Larry Hannon (4th) NR
22 Augustana (Ill.) 38.29 CCIW Paul Olsen (47th) 11
23 Ohio Wesleyan 37.85 NCAC Kris Boey (14th) NR
24 UW-Platteville 36.83 WIAC Chris Rotzenberg (4th) 31
25 Baldwin Wallace 35.01 OAC Matthew Cole (1st) NR
View All Teams Beyond the Top 25

 

Men’s Conference Index Top 10
Rank Conference Points Top 25 Teams
1 WIAC 514.89 6
2 NESCAC 197.18 2
3 CCIW 166.15 2
4 SUNYAC 151.12
5 IIAC 149.80 2
6 OAC 139.65 2
7 Middle Atlantic 126.55 2
8 MIAC 116.45 1
9 NJAC 116.24 1
10 NCAC 99.10 1

 

Men’s Regional Index Leaders
Region Institution Points Last Week
Atlantic (returns January 26)
Central (returns January 26)
Great Lakes (returns January 26)
Mideast (returns January 26)
Midwest (returns January 26)
New England (returns January 26)
South/Southeast (returns January 26)
West (returns January 26)
View All Regional Rankings

 

USTFCCCA NCAA Division III

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

2016 Preseason — January 12

next ranking: January 26
Rank Institution Points Conference Head Coach (Yr) 2015 FINAL
1 MIT 178.85 NEWMAC Halston Taylor (9th) 4
2 Illinois Wesleyan 141.67 CCIW Chris Schumacher (19th) 3
3 UW-La Crosse 131.75 WIAC Pat Healy (25th) 1
4 UW-Oshkosh 91.63 WIAC Ben Dorsey (4th) 2
5 Baldwin Wallace 89.86 OAC Matthew Cole (1st) 25
6 Lehman 75.19 CUNYAC Pete Charles (4th) 7
7 Stevens 69.74 Empire 8 Justin Wood (4th) 9
8 Chicago 69.13 UAA Chris Hall (15th) 25
9 Johns Hopkins 61.47 Centennial Bobby Van Allen (17th) 16
10 Central (Iowa) 52.44 IIAC Joe Dunham (8th) 13
11 Ithaca 51.81 Empire 8 Jennifer Potter (13th) 43
12 UW-Platteville 50.99 WIAC Chris Rotzenberg (4th) 18
13 UW-Eau Claire 50.85 WIAC Chip Schneider (10th) 4
14 Tufts 50.59 NESCAC Kristen Morwick (16th) NR
15 UW-Stout 44.92 WIAC Kyle Steiner (3rd) 39
16 Washington (Mo.) 44.49 UAA Jeff Stiles (15th) 12
17 Williams 43.72 NESCAC Nate Hoey (3rd) NR
18 Eastern Mennonite 43.71 ODAC Jason Lewkowicz (5th) 25
19 Cornell College 43.44 Midwest Dan Schofer (4th) 11
20 St. Lawrence 42.99 Liberty League Kate Curran (8th) 18
21 Nebraska Wesleyan 42.35 Great Plains Ted Bulling (29th) 22
22 Amherst 42.23 NESCAC Cassie Funke-Harris (4th) 29
23 Buffalo State 41.60 SUNYAC Eugene Lewis (16th) 8
24 SUNY Oneonta 39.43 SUNYAC Angelo Posillico (3rd) 29
25 St. Thomas (Minn.) 37.53 MIAC Joe Sweeney (36th) 13
View All Teams Beyond the Top 25

 

Women’s Conference Index Top 10
Rank Conference Points Top 25 Teams
1 WIAC 398.76 5
2 NESCAC 241.71 3
3 NEWMAC 200.30 1
4 CCIW 199.99 1
5 OAC 186.08 1
6 SUNYAC 148.95 2
7 Empire 8 143.16 2
8 UAA 122.07 2
9 IIAC 100.78 1
10 Centennial 99.88 1

 

Women’s Regional Index Leaders
Region Institution Points Last Week
Atlantic (returns January 26)
Central (returns January 26)
Great Lakes (returns January 26)
Mideast (returns January 26)
Midwest (returns January 26)
New England (returns January 26)
South/Southeast (returns January 26)
West (returns January 26)
View All Regional Rankings