2017 NCAA Division III Cross Country National Award Winners
NEW ORLEANS – National Athletes and Coaches of the Year for the 2017 NCAA Division III Cross Country season were announced Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) following the national championship meets in Elsah, Illinois this past weekend.
Darin Lau of UW-Eau Claire and Khia Kurtenbach of the University of Chicago were named the Men’s and Women’s National Athletes of the Year, respectively, following their victories at the North Farm Facility.
Al Carius of North Central (Ill.) and Bobby Van Allen of Johns Hopkins were named the Men’s and Women’s National Coaches of the Year, respectively, after winning team titles.
Scroll below for more information on each of the four award winners.
Darin Lau, UW-Eau Claire
Darin Lau left no doubt that he was the man to beat in NCAA Division III Cross Country.
This past weekend in Elsah, Illinois, Lau pulled away and won the individual title by nearly nine seconds over North Central (Ill.)’s Jared Borowsky. Lau went 5 for 6 when it came to individual titles this season, with his only loss coming at the NCAA Division III Pre-National Invitational (He finished third).
It had been a steady climb for Lau at NCAAs as he finished 31st as a freshman, 14th as a sophomore, sixth as a junior and finally reached the top of the mountain as a senior.
This was Lau’s first NCAA title and the first time a runner from UW-Eau Claire won this honor.
Khia Kurtenbach, University of Chicago
Khia Kurtenbach won five individual titles this season, but none bigger than the one she earned this past weekend in Elsah, Illinois.
Kurtenbach won the women’s race by more than six seconds over Claremont-Mudd-Scripp’s Bryn McKillop and paced her team to a top-15 finish.
The junior also won individual titles at the Midwest Region Championships, the UAA Championships in addition to the Vic Godfrey Open and the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships. She finished runner-up at both the NCAA Division III Pre-National Invitational and the Saints Twilight Invitational.
This was Kurtenbach’s first NCAA title and the first time an athlete from the University of Chicago has won this award.
Al Carius, North Central (Ill.)
Al Carius is a familiar face around these parts.
This is the 11th time that Carius has won this award dating back to 1993.
North Central (Ill.) captured its 18th team title this past weekend and did so in dominant fashion. The Cardinals put four runners in the top-15 and beat the rest of the field by 139 points, nearly topping its scoring-differential record of 144 from last year.
Carius’ squad ended the season undefeated and also won team titles at the Midwest Region Championships, the CCIW Championships, the NCAA Division III Pre-National Invitational and at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships, among others.
Bobby Van Allen, Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins entered NCAAs ranked the unanimous No. 1 and Bobby Van Allen’s squad showed why they were billed so highly in Elsah, Illinois.
The Blue Jays won their fifth team title in the past six years as they routed the field. Johns Hopkins won by 95 points as it put three runners in the top-20. Only two other women’s teams in NCAA DIII history have won by 90 or more points at NCAAs: SUNY Cortland and Williams.
During the season the Blue Jays also won team titles at the Mideast Region Championships, the Centennial Conference Championships and the NCAA Division III Pre-National Invitational, among others.
This is the fifth time that Van Allen has been honored with this award.