September 12, 2002
NCAA Division II cross country championships coming to Evansville
Get ready to run Evansville!
The University of Southern Indiana will host the men’s and women’s NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship meet on November 20, 2004. The meet will be the third NCAA Championship event hosted by USI, the first one to be hosted on campus.
USI last hosted the cross country national championships in 1987 when Edinboro University won the men’s title and California Polytechnic State University took the women’s crown. The USI men’s team finished 11th in 1987.
“USI is very excited to be given the opportunity to host the National Championships on our campus,” said USI Director of Athletics Jon Mark Hall. “USI will put its best foot forward and make this a very special event for the student athletes. We know that the Evansville community will embrace this event and support it at a high level.”
The national championship meet will feature 24 men’s and 24 women’s teams and 32 individuals (336 runners). Since 1992, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference has dominated Division II cross country with its men’s and women’s team winning 18 of the 20 championships. The 2002 NCAA II National Championships will be hosted by Ashland University, while 2003 will be hosted by Kennesaw State University.
The USI men’s cross country team has been a major player on the national stage since its creation in 1979. The Eagles won an unmatched 12 of 13 conference titles between 1980 and 1991 and made 12 appearances in the national championship meet.
The Screaming Eagles posted their best team finishes in 1982 and 1983, placing third and fifth respectively.
The USI women’s team also has stepped into the national spotlight since the team was restarted in 1992. The Eagles have won two of the last four GLVC crowns and appeared in the national championship meet three times. USI posted its best team finish of eighth in 1998.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our student athletes and for USI,” said USI Head Coach Mike Hillyard. “There is already a buzz of enthusiasm amongst the team. With the amount of young talent we currently have in the program, I am optimistic about our chances to perform well in front of the home audience in 2004.”
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information