Adams State Men & Hillsdale Women Earn NCAA DII Program of the Year Honors
NEW ORLEANS – With the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field season at its end, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Wednesday the winners of the Damon Martin Men’s Program of the Year and Jerry Baltes Women’s Program of the Year awards for the 2016 DII season.
Adams State’s men claimed their eighth consecutive Damon Martin Program of the Year Award – one in each of the eight years of the award’s existence – while Hillsdale’s women captured their very first 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.
After finishing as the national runners-up at both the NCAA Cross Country and Indoor Track & Field Championships earlier this year, the Adams State men finished tied for fourth at this past weekend’s NCAA DII Outdoor Championships for a total of nine points.
Grand Valley State, which tied ASU for fourth outdoors, checked in at second for the third consecutive year with 14 points. Alaska Anchorage posted its best-ever finish in third with 32 points, while West Texas A&M was fourth at 42½.
The Grizzlies got national titles outdoors from Jurgen Themen at 100 meters, Oliver Aitchison at 1500 meters and Sydney Gidabuday at 5000 meters.
The Hillsdale women narrowly edged out GLIAC rival Grand Valley State – winners of six of the total eight Program of the Year awards since its inception in 2009 – with eight points to GVSU’s 9½. The Chargers finished third outdoors to go along with a third-place finish in cross country and a runner-up finish indoors.
Hillsdale got a pair of national titles from high-point scorer Emily Oren in the steeplechase and the 1500. She scored 26 points total.
Grand Valley finished tied for fourth outdoors after finishing runner-up in cross country and third indoors.
Lewis was a distant third with 24½ points for its best-ever finish, while cross country champion Adams State was fourth – its lowest finish since the inception of the award – with 29½ points.