June 17, 2014
EAST LANSING, Michigan - The Michigan State women's cross country and track & field programs finished the 2013-14 academic year ranked No. 8 in the USTFCCCA/Terry Crawford Women's Division I Program of the Year standings. It was the highest standing for the program since the awards' inaugural year in 2009.
"This is great reinforcement of our goal to be a balanced competitive program at the national level," said Michigan State Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth. "This is the fourth-straight year we have been recognized for scoring in all three of our NCAA Championships. The credit goes to the student-athletes who have bought into our vision for the program, and in no small part an indication of the effort of an excellent staff."
Michigan State's standing was backed by a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, a 22nd placement at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and a 35th-place showing at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. In cross country, it was the Spartans' highest finish since 2007 and the third-best in program history. Meanwhile at outdoor, the MSU success was highlighted by junior Leah O'Connor winning the 3,000m steeplechase national title.
The Spartans were second among Big Ten schools, trailing only Penn State who finished sixth. The top-5 included Oregon, Stanford, Arkansas, Dartmouth and Iowa State.
Michigan State was ninth last season, 13th in 2011-12 and 18th in 2010-11.
The USTFCCCA Program of the Year Award is awarded annually to the most outstanding cross country/track & field programs in each of the NCAA's three divisions for each gender.
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 and both indoor and outdoor track & field (i.e. 1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2 points, etc.) with the lowest total score for all three championships combined determining the award recipient. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.
The Terry Crawford Women's Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former Cal Poly head coach Terry Crawford. Crawford has won five NCAA National Championships, and over 20 Conference Championships. Her 1986 Texas squad remains as the only NCAA women's program to ever win the Triple Crown (cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field titles).