Utah State’s men’s track and field and cross-country program finished 10th in the nation in this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Program of the Year standings, it was announced Tuesday by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
“This is a fantastic result,” said first-year USU head cross-country coach Artie Gulden. “It represents another illustration of the great year we had with lots of consistency placing 27th, 28th and then 18th in the NCAA in the three seasons. This honor doesn’t come because of one or two guys; it takes an entire team.”
Utah State, which finished with 76 points, was one of two Mountain West men’s programs in the running for the Program of the Year Award. Colorado State placed ninth with 76 points.
Furthermore, the Aggies proved to be the top team in the state on the men’s side as BYU placed 11th with 78.5 points.
“It is outstanding to see our programs get such national recognition,” said first-year USU head track and field coach Matt Ingebritsen. “This ranking means a great deal to Utah State’s track and field and cross-country programs. I could not be more proud of these teams and their coaching staffs. The vision we had for where we wanted to go this year was to get the athletes to dare to dream a little bigger and learn to ask more of themselves. We have done just that this season. It has been a great year, and I really can’t wait to see where we go from here.”
The Aggies finished 27th at the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships last fall in Louisville, Kentucky. It was the first time in school history Utah State had ever qualified as a team for the championships.
Utah State then tied for 28th, along with five other schools, by scoring eight points at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas. Overall, it was the best team finish since 1977, when the Aggies tied for 21st.
Utah State earned four points from the senior-laden, fifth-place distance medley relay team made up of Jordan Beutler, Brady Martin, Clay Lambourne and Dillon Maggard. That quartet set a school record with a time of 9:32.31. The following day, Maggard earned four more points after his fifth-place finish in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 8:06.69.
The Aggies wrapped up the season last weekend at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. USU scored 15 points and tied for 18th, along with Penn State.
Maggard accounted for nine of those points as he placed third in the 10,000 meters with a school-record time of 28:38.36. Just two days later, Maggard finished sixth in the finals of the 5,000 meters with a time of 13:57.40. Six more points came courtesy of sophomore Sindri Gudmundsson, who captured the bronze medal in the javelin with a throw of 76.37 meters.
“We had seven guys at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, four guys at NCAA Indoors and four guys at NCAA Outdoors competing at a very high level making a contribution to this honor,” Gulden said. “We will look to build on this, and hopefully, both the men and women can have this kind of finish again next year.”
Alabama was named the John McDonnell Men’s Division I Program of the Year with 28.5 points. The Crimson Tide had never finished in the top three of the standings for the award before this year.
Arkansas placed second with 31 points, followed by Stanford in third with 35.5 points, Northern Arizona in fourth with 37.5 points and Virginia Tech in fifth with 39 points.
Stanford, with 15 points, was tabbed the Terry Crawford Women’s Division I Program of the Year. The Cardinal finished runner-up at the end of the 2011-12 and 2013-14 academic years and broke a nine-year streak by Pac-12 rival Oregon.Comment on this story
New Mexico was the Mountain West’s top women’s program as the Lobos placed fifth with 29 points, followed by Boise State in sixth with 49.5 points.
In order to be eligible for the Program of the Year 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 and field and outdoor track and field (i.e. first = one point, second = two points … 31st = 31 points) with the lowest total score for all three championships combined determining the award winner. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.