NEW ORLEANS — The University of New Mexico men’s cross country and track and field teams finished in 11th place in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s John McDonnell Program of the Year award standings for the 2013-14 academic year.
After tying for 44th place at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships last weekend, the Lobos, under head coach Joe Franklin, were able to notch their fifth consecutive recognition for the award.
“There are a lot of schools that have great cross-country team or great indoor track team or great outdoor track teams, but they’re not doing it in all three,” Franklin said. “We’re in rarefied company with teams that do well not only in cross-country, but indoor and outdoor track.”
The Lobos cross-country and track and field teams combined to gain 108 points to place a program-high-tying 11th in the final standings, which combine the teams' finishes from the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships, 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
USTFCCCA First-Team All-American Peter Callahan scored for the men at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last weekend at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., as he placed fourth in the 1,500-meter run.
The Lobos have scored for the eighth straight year at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, extending the program record.
At the UNM- and Albuquerque-hosted 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in March, the Lobos registered a 45th-place finish behind Mountain West Men’s Indoor Student Athlete of the Year Luke Caldwell (sixth place in the 5,000-meter run) and Kendall Spencer (eighth in the long jump).
New Mexico has scored six straight years at the NCAA indoor meet.
At the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Caldwell again paced the Lobos to an 11th-place team finish. Caldwell finished in 10th place, with Patrick Zacharias (53rd place), Adam Bitchell (61st), Ross Matheson (131st) and Sean Stam (157th) also scoring.
The Lobos has finished in the final standing for the award the past five years, dating back to 2010. Last year, New Mexico placed 13th, with a 21st-place finish in cross country, a 49th-place finish in indoor track and a 28th-place finish in outdoor track.
In 2012, New Mexico finished the season ranked a program-best 11th (31st-place finish in cross country, 15th in indoor track and 33rd in outdoor track.), while 2011 saw the Lobos take 14th overall (16th in cross country, 50th in indoor track, and 41st in outdoor track). In 2010 the Lobos also placed 11th (8th in cross country, 8th in indoor track, 55th in outdoor track).
New Mexico is one of only two schools to finish in the final standings each of the last five years, along with Texas. Only three other institutions — Oregon, Florida State and Stanford — have finished in the final standings at least five times.
Presented annually, the NCAA Division I Program of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding cross country and track & field programs in Division I based on the institution's performance through the academic year. Final standings are predicated on the institution's combined finishes at the NCAA Division I Championships in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field.
To be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for all three NCAA Championships. Scores for award are calculated from the team's each finish at those championships (i.e., first place earns one point, second place two points, 31st place 31 points, etc.). The team with the lowest total score for all three championships receives the award.
Only 14 men’s teams scored at all three 2013-14 championships. Leading the final standings was NCAA indoor and outdoor champions Oregon (seven points), with Oklahoma State (23) and Arkansas (23.5) rounding out the top three.