NEW ORLEANS – Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
Adams State’s men’s track & field and cross country program were named the Damon Martin Division II Men’s Program of the Year for the 9th-straight year on Tuesday, while the Jerry Baltes Division II Women’s Program of the Year went to perpetual winner Grand Valley State, who have now earned the honor in 7 of the 9 years it’s been awarded.
While these two programs regularly pick up these honors, the race was much closer than in years past.
The Grizzlies entered the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a total of 5 points, followed by 2nd-place Grand Valley State and their 10 points. As long as Adams State did not finish worse than 5 spots lower than Grand Valley State, the award would be theirs once again. The Grizzlies finished 16th, while the Lakers came in 13th, allowing the honor named after Adams State’s head cross country and assistant track & field coach to return to Alamosa, Colorado.
When it came to the women’s side, whoever finished higher between Grand Valley State and Adams State would win. The Lakers were the cross country champions, while finishing 2nd during the indoor season. The Grizzlies did the exact opposite, capturing the indoor title while being the runner-up on the cross country circuit.
The Lakers went out and finished 2nd in Bradenton, Florida this past weekend, just one point ahead of the 3rd-place finishing Grizzlies. That one point was all Grand Valley State needed to recapture the award named after their head coach.
Coaches from both Adams State and Grand Valley State will be honored in December at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.
The USTFCCCA Program of the Year Award is bestowed annually to the most outstanding cross country/track & field programs in each of the NCAA’s three divisions and for each gender. The 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 recipient. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.
Following Adams State and Grand Valley State on the men’s side was Missouri Southern (26.5), Academy of Art (35.5) and Alaska Anchorage (47.5).
Western State came in 3rd in the women’s standings with a total of 16 points, followed by Minnesota Duluth (35.5) and Cedarville (45).