2020 NCAA DIII Men’s Indoor Track & Field Rating Index – Preseason
NEW ORLEANS – A team that won three national titles in the 2010s and was ranked No. 1 a staggering 29 times during that same timeframe headlines the NCAA Division III Men’s Indoor Track & Field National Rating Index to start the 2020 season.
That program would be none other than UW-La Crosse, as it is the preseason favorite to capture the men’s crown come March 14 at the 2020 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
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How could the computers not like the Eagles’ chances this season with the talent that they have coming back? UW-La Crosse returns at least seven athletes who competed at NCAAs last year, including Andrew Jarrett and Josh Koenecke. Jarrett finished third in the weight throw in 2019 after posting several all-time marks throughout the season and Koenecke scored 13 points at NCAAs with a third-place finish in the 200 and a fourth-place effort in the 60.
UW-Oshkosh starts the season ranked second, the same spot it sat five weeks in a row last year. The Titans, who eventually finished ninth at NCAAs, will look to live up their preseason billing and notch their podium finish since 2014. UW-Oshkosh is expecting big things from its jumpers as Jonathan Wilburn took fifth place in the triple jump as a freshman and the squad put three in the final of the long jump.
Mount Union is ranked third to begin the season and is looking to win its second national title in the past three years. The Purple Raiders, who last won the men’s crown in 2018 and finished runner-up last year, are stacked in 2020. Mount Union returns the top-2 finishers in the 60H (Mason Plant and Connor Troyer) as well as two athletes who scored in the 400 (James Roth and A.J. Digby), among others.
Loras starts the season at No. 4 with its best billing in program history. The Duhawks finished in the top-10 both in 2018 and 2019 and will look to make it three in a row thanks to the rise of Patrick Mikel and Ryan Rogers. Mikel is the top-ranked athlete in the USTFCCCA Individual Rankings in the 400 and is fifth in the 200, while Rogers owns the No. 3 spot in the heptathlon.
UW-Whitewater comes in at No. 5 to match its second best preseason ranking in program history. The Warhawks, who made back-to-back podiums in 2016 and 2017, will look for more success thanks to the rise of Alex Duff and Zach Jasinski, who both scored points for them at NCAAs last year. Duff is one of seven athletes from the final of the 60 Hurdles returning in 2020 and is an accomplished heptathlete, while Jasinski is the top returner in the pole vault.
No. 6 UW-Eau Claire, No. 7 SUNY Cortland, No. 8 MIT, No. 9 Williams and No. 10 Benedictine (Ill.) round out the Preseason Top-10.