Conference Championships

WEEKEND PREVIEW: January 24-26, 2019

A preview of the host facility isn’t as important to those competing in track & field as it is to those competing in cross country, but there are some circumstances where a coach feels it might be prudent for his or her athletes to get familiar with the surroundings.

That is likely the case among the NCAA Division I ranks this year as the biggest meet of the season – the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships in March, mind you – will be held at altitude at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: National Championships Central

This is only the second time in the history of the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships that the meet will be held at statistical altitude. The only other time was back in 2014 at the same location (You might recall that Boise State welcomed the nation to Nampa in 2012, but that city sits at 2730 feet, less than the required 3280 feet for altitude consideration).

Beginning this weekend, the University of New Mexico will host the Dr. Martin Luther King Collegiate Invitational, the first of four meets this season that are open the greater population. New Mexico hosts a fifth meet this season, but that is the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships from February 27 to 29, which is only open to those conference teams.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results

We’ll see a few powerhouse teams competing at the Dr. Martin Luther King Collegiate Invitational this weekend, namely three of the top-5 men’s teams (No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Southern California and No. 4 Texas) and two of the top-5 women’s teams (No. 1 Southern California and No. 4 Texas) in the most recent National Rating Index, among others.

Other top programs at the NCAA Division I level will be split between a number of other meets, including the Boston University-hosted John Thomas Terrier Classic, the Clemson University-hosted Bob Pollock Invitational, the Columbia University-hosted Dr. Sander Columbia Challenge, the University of Kentucky-hosted Rod McCravy Memorial, the Texas A&M University-hosted Aggie Invitational as well as the Texas Tech-hosted Red Raider Invitational.

Things are still getting dialed up in NCAA Division II as well as NCAA Division III despite several all-time marks already this season, but top programs from the NAIA and NJCAA ranks will compete this weekend around the nation.

It’s kind of ironic that both of the men’s defending champions in the NAIA and NJCAA are heading to the site of each other’s championships in 2020: Defending NAIA champion Indiana Tech will face off against teams from each collegiate division at the Liberty Kickoff in Lynchburg, Virginia, while NJCAA defending champion Iowa Central CC is scheduled to take part in the South Dakota State Division II Invitational in Brookings, South Dakota.

Barton CC, the defending women’s champion at the NJCAA level, is slated to compete in Lynchburg, Virginia, as well, while the women’s runner-up New Mexico JC is taking on a strong field at the aforementioned Red Raider Invitational. NAIA defending champion Wayland Baptist is off.