St. Louis, Mo., May 31, 2017 – The Washington University in St. Louis women's cross country and track & field program was named the 2016-17 Deb Vercauteren NCAA Division III Women's Program of the Year, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The WashU women's program nearly finished with a perfect score as the team ended the academic year with four points after the cross country placed second at the NCAA Division III Championship, while the indoor and outdoor track & field teams won the first National Titles in program history. WashU won the award for the second consecutive season, while Williams College posted a runner-up total of 11.5 points followed by Ithaca College (15), SUNY Geneseo (16.5) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (32).
The first-place finish marks the fourth top-three finish for WashU in program history. The Bears concluded last year's Program of the Year standings with the No. 1 ranking, and was second in 2011-12 and third in 2014-15.
The WashU men also earned a top-five ranking this season, placing fourth with 30 total points. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse was the recipient of the Al Carius Program of the Year Award with a total of 8.5 points, while North Central College (13.5) and UW-Eau Claire (15.5) rounded out the top-three.
WashU was one of two programs to finish within the top-five of both the women and men's standings, with a first and fourth place finish. Williams was the other program to finish in the top-five with second-place on the women's and fifth-place on the men's side.
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.