Indiana Wesleyan Men, Wayland Baptist Women Named NAIA Programs of the Year

NEW ORLEANS – One reign might have ended, but another one continued in the growing legacy of the NAIA Program of the Year award.

Indiana Wesleyan was named NAIA Men’s Program of the Year for the first time in school history – snapping a three-year streak by Indiana Tech – while Wayland Baptist (Texas) earned its third consecutive distinction as NAIA Women’s Program of the Year.

NAIA Program of the Year Standings – FINAL STANDINGS
Men’s Team Pts Women’s Team Pts
1. Indiana Wesleyan 16 1. Wayland Baptist (Texas) 14
2. Oklahoma City 19 2. Oregon Tech 18
3. Saint Mary (Kan.) 32 3. SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) 28.5
4. Dordt (Iowa) 38.5 4. Aquinas (Mich.) 29
5. Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 40 5. Oklahoma City 32

The USTFCCCA Program of the Year 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 NAIA Championships.

In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for each of the NAIA Championships. Scoring is based on the team’s finish at each NAIA 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.

Indiana Wesleyan entered the 2019 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in prime position to take home the award after a runner-up finish in cross country and a seventh-place effort at the indoor meet. The Wildcats duplicated their finish from the indoor meet outdoors and finished with 16 points in the Program of the Year standings, three fewer than Oklahoma City.

This is the second time in the history of the award that the Stars have finished runner-up. The last time it happened was at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. OCU won the national title in cross country, finished 12th during the indoor season and were fifth this past weekend.

Saint Mary (Kan.) was a distant third, while Dordt (Iowa) and Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) rounded out the top-5 in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Wayland Baptist (Texas) swung ahead in the Women’s Program of the Year standings thanks to a fourth-place finish in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Pioneers sat in the passenger seat next to Oregon Tech and then took over the reins by finishing six places higher than the Owls at Mickey Blackwell Stadium (WBU was fourth; Oregon Tech was 10th).

The Owls had never finished in the top-3 of the standings before this year. A national title in cross country gave them the lead after one sport and a seventh-place finish indoors kept them in the driver’s seat until the final meet of the year.

SCAD Atlanta (Ga.) took third for its best finish in program history, while Aquinas (Mich.) and Bethel (Ind.) finished in a fourth-place tie.