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

NEW ORLEANS – Excellence isn’t given: It is earned.

And for the second year in a row, the men from North Central (Ill.) and the women from Washington (Mo.) reaped what they sowed during the 2018-19 academic year and each collected one of the biggest prizes for their respective genders at the NCAA Division III level.

The Cardinals were named the Al Carius Men’s Program of the Year for the fifth time in program history, while the Bears were chosen as the Deb Vercauteren Women’s Program of the Year for the fourth year in a row. Both programs will be feted at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in December.

NCAA Division III Program of the Year Standings – FINAL STANDINGS
Men’s Team Pts Women’s Team Pts
1. North Central (Ill.) 8 1. Washington (Mo.) 5
2. UW-Eau Claire 16 2. Williams 18
3. Washington (Mo.) 17.5 3. Johns Hopkins 20
4. UW-La Crosse 23.5 4. U of Chicago 25
5. MIT 25 5. UW-Eau Claire 26.5

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 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 winner. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.

North Central (Ill.) entered the 2019 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships with just a 3.5-point lead over UW-La Crosse in the standings, despite being two-thirds of the way to another Triple Crown. The Cardinals won team titles in cross country and indoor track & field, yet had to fight to be assured of another Program of the Year honor.

Behind Dhruvil Patel‘s double in the distance events, North Central (Ill.) finished sixth at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, this past weekend. The Cardinals were just three points out of fifth and six points from a spot on the podium.

UW-Eau Claire finished runner-up in the Program of the Year standings with 16 points after closing the year like a freight train. The Blugolds, who won this award following the 2015-16 academic year, ended up on the podium at the NCAA indoor meet and then topped it outdoors.

Those teams who rounded out the top-5 were Washington (Mo.), UW-La Crosse and MIT.

Washington (Mo.) ran away from the competition for the women’s award.

One year after completing the Triple Crown, the Bears had just three points in the standings entering the outdoor meet following a national title in cross country and a runner-up finish indoors. WashU put a stamp on it this past weekend with a runner-up finish behind national champion Loras.

Williams entered the outdoor meet right behind the Bears after winning the indoor team title. That’s where the Ephs remained – for the third year in a row – following a 10th-place finish in the Buckeye State. That’s right: Williams has been runner-up to WashU in each of the past three years.

Those teams who rounded out the top-5 were Johns Hopkins, U of Chicago and UW-Eau Claire.