#NCAAXC Returns To ESPNU On November 20

NEW ORLEANS – The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships will once again be presented live via telecasts on ESPN’s linear channels and through ESPN’s online platforms in the fall of 2021.

The thrilling, unpredictable event returns to live television for the second time in eight months, as the upcoming 2021 championships will be exclusively presented on ESPNU and available through the ESPN App on Saturday, November 20, starting at 10 a.m., Eastern. Earlier this year on March 15, the meet returned to live television for the first time since 2009.

“This is another incredible opportunity for collegiate cross country,” said Sam Seemes, CEO of the USTFCCCA. “It’s our belief that viewers who experience the richness of compelling competition, presented in an enjoyable format, will want to learn more about the sport along with the student-athletes and coaches that make it great.”

The two-hour live telecast on November 20 will feature, without commercial interruption, the women’s six-kilometer, national-championship race at 10:20 a.m., Eastern, with the men’s 10-kilometer, national-championship race to follow at 11:10 p.m., Eastern.

The event will take place at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State is hosting the national championship event for the first time. It is also the first time the event will be held in Florida.

Truly unique in the collegiate sporting landscape, no other sport features the number of institutions represented on the field-of-play at one time as compared to cross country. Thirty-one teams in each race will battle to raise an NCAA Division I national-championship trophy while up to 255 student-athletes per race will be vying for individual glory.

The post-championships awards ceremony will also be streamed live on ESPN3 and through the ESPN App on mobile and connected devices.

The teams and individuals chosen to compete in the championships will be first revealed via a selection show, streamed on NCAA.com, on Saturday, November 13 at 5 p.m., Eastern.

BYU’s women and Northern Arizona’s men are the defending champions. It was BYU’s fifth national title (first since 2002), while NAU has won four (all since 2016).

Both individual champions return, as well, with Mercy Chelangat of Alabama and Conner Mantz of BYU winning their respective races in the spring.

The championships telecast, produced by the USTFCCCA in coordination with TrackTown Productions, will be hosted by SportsCenter’s John Anderson with Carrie Tollefson and Bill Spaulding providing analysis and play-by-play.

Anderson and Tollefson have previously teamed up on seven broadcasts of the TCS New York City Marathon while Tollefson and Spaulding’s paired commentary has been featured on a number of USATF and road-racing events.

Anderson, a staple for ESPN’s SportsCenter, has provided hosting and play-by-play commentary for several collegiate track & field and cross country events across ESPN networks. He has also hosted The Bowerman Presentation seven times with an eighth to come in 2021.

Tollefson, a five-time NCAA champion and 2004 Olympian, won the Division I cross country individual title as a junior in 1997 and she led the Villanova Wildcats to the cross country national-championship crown during her 1998 senior campaign. Her work as an analyst has been featured previously with ESPN, ABC, NBC, NBCSN, and USATF.tv — a bevy of work that has featured many world-class running events.

Spaulding’s broadcasting highlights include play-by-play roles for the Rio and Pyeongchang Olympics on NBC, college football for ESPN, three Penn Relays, and with a number of Boston-area universities.

About the USTFCCCA

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is a non-profit professional organization representing cross country and track & field coaches of all levels. The organization represents over 11,000 coaching members encompassing 98-percent of all NCAA track & field programs (DI, DII, and DIII) and includes members representing the NAIA and NJCAA, as well as a number of state high school coaches associations. The USTFCCCA serves as an advocate for cross country and track & field coaches, providing a leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership, serving as an activist for coaches’ interests, and working as a liaison between the various stakeholders in the sports of cross country and track & field.

About ESPN

ESPN, Inc., is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment brand, featuring an unmatched portfolio of sports assets.  It is comprised of nine U.S. 24-hour television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network, SEC Network and the ACC Network; five with HD simulcast services – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes). Other businesses include direct-to-consumer video service ESPN+, ESPN Audio (broadcast, satellite, digital, podcasts), an array of digital services (ESPN.com and many other sites, ESPN App, fantasy games and more), multi-screen ESPN3, ESPN International (26 networks, syndication, radio, digital), consumer products, ESPN Events and espnW. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Hearst holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

About the NCAA

The NCAA is a diverse association of more than 1,100 member colleges and universities that prioritize academics, well-being and fairness to create greater opportunities for nearly half a million student-athletes each year. The NCAA provides a pathway to higher education and beyond for student-athletes pursuing academic goals and competing in NCAA sports. Visit ncaa.org.