North Central (Ill.), Washington (Mo.) Named USTFCCCA NCAA DIII Programs of the Year

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) honored unwavering consistency on Tuesday when it announced the NCAA Division III Programs of the Year.

North Central (Ill.) was named the Al Carius Division III Men’s Program of the Year, while Washington (Mo.) took home the honors for the Deb Vercauteren Division III Women’s Program of the Year. Neither the Cardinals nor the Bears finished worse than fourth at any of the three NCAA Championships the USTFCCCA recognizes.

QUICK LINK: USTFCCCA Programs of the Year History

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 winner. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.

Final NCAA Division III Program of the Year Standings

Men’s Team Pts Women’s Team Pts
1. North Central (Ill.) 5 1. Washington (Mo.) 11
2. Rowan 29 2. Williams 16
3. UW-La Crosse 35.5 3. Ithaca 30
4. Loras 37 t4. MIT 33.5
5. UW-Stout 43 t4. SUNY Geneseo 33.5

It had been a long time coming for North Central (Ill.) to reclaim the award named after its legendary coach. This is the Cardinals’ first Program of the Year honor since 2011-12, but they had been runner-up three previous times (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2016-17).

North Central (Ill.) entered the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships up four points over UW-La Crosse in the Program of the Year standings. The Cardinals owned the top spot in the Pre-Championships National Team Rankings, but anything can happen in the span of three days, so they had to make sure they handled business.

Well, North Central (Ill.) did just that as it placed runner-up to Mount Union and put the race for Program of the Year out of reach. That gave the Cardinals five points in the final Program of the Year standings, 24 less than runner-up Rowan.

UW-La Crosse finished third in the Program of the Year standings after tying for 27th place on their home track this past weekend. Loras and UW-Stout rounded out the top-5.

Washington (Mo.) knows a thing or two about being named the Deb Vercauteren Division III Program of the Year. Actually, now the Bears know three things since this was the third year in a row that they’ve captured this honor.

A third-place effort in cross country, coupled with a fourth-place showing indoors and a third-place finish this past weekend gave Washington (Mo.) 11 points in the Program of the Year standings, five fewer than runner-up Williams.

Ithaca finished a distant third with 30 points. This is the second year in a row that the Bombers finished third behind the Bears and the Ephs.

MIT and SUNY Geneseo rounded out the top-5.