#NCAAXC Goes Back Home To Cross Country Town USA

Cross Country Town USA isn’t so much a moniker that was given to Terre Haute, Indiana, as much as it has been earned over the years.

Since 2002, the city – and more importantly, the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course – has played host to 12 iterations of the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, including eight in a row from 2004 to 2011. Only two other cities hosted consecutive NCAA meets from 1965 to 2003 after Lansing, Michigan, was the site of every meet from 1938 to 1942 and 1944 to 1964 (No meet was held in 1943 due to World War II).

Two (Championship) Tickets In Terre-Dise

Year
Men’s Team Champ
Score
Women’s Team Champ
Score
2002
Stanford
47
BYU
85
2004
Colorado
90
Colorado
63
2005
Wisconsin
37
Stanford
146
2006
Colorado
94
Stanford
195
2007
Oregon
85
Stanford
145
2008
Oregon
93
Washington
79
2009
Oklahoma State
127
Villanova
86
2010
Oklahoma State
73
Villanova
120
2011
Wisconsin
97
Georgetown
162
2013
Colorado
149
Providence
141
2014
Colorado
65
Michigan State
85
2016
Northern Arizona
125
Oregon
125

No teams have been more successful in Terre Haute than the Colorado men and the Stanford women, at least when it comes to winning national titles. The Buffaloes have earned four NCAA titles in the Hoosier State over the years, including a back-to-back run in 2013 and 2014, while the Cardinal reeled off three in a row of their own from 2005 to 2007.

As fate would have it, Colorado and Stanford are both ranked No. 2 in their respective National Coaches’ Polls going into the 2019 edition of the meet. The Buffaloes and the Cardinal are both on a roll, having cruised to team titles at the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships last month and then standing out at their respective regional championship meets this past weekend.

Speaking of the Colorado men, they were part of the closest race for the men’s team title ever contested in Terre Haute in 2004. The Buffaloes edged Wisconsin by four points (90-94), just three years after beating Stanford by a single point for the 2001 crown in Greenville, South Carolina.

One point was the difference between first and second place in the women’s team race three years ago as Michigan and Oregon waged an epic battle.

It was tied at 76-all through four runners as each team pinned their hopes on their fifth runners: Jaimie Phelan for Michigan and Maggie Schmaedick for Oregon. Phelan and Schmaedick went stride for stride and crossed the finish line at the exact same time – 20:38.2 – so they had to go to the camera. Ultimately it was decided that Schmaedick edged Phelan by a hair and the team title went to the Ducks, who were ranked 12th at the time.

That year also proved bittersweet for Oregon, as while their women won the team title, Edward Cheserek’s reign as King of Cross Country ended. Cheserek had won each of the previous three individual titles and was trying for a record fourth, but it was Patrick Tiernan of Villanova who won by seven seconds over Justyn Knight of Syracuse (Cheserek finished third).

And when it comes to ruling with an iron fist, Northern Arizona’s reign began in 2016 and has showed no signs of slowing down. The Lumberjacks won the 2016 title by 33 points, upped the ante to 53 in 2017 and then cruised to another 33-point victory last year in Madison, Wisconsin.

What will 2019 hold as the NCAA DI Cross Country Championships returns home to XC Town USA for the first time since 2016?

We’re about to find out.