Wildcat Women 12th on Program of Year List

Ryann Krais

June 16, 2011

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – The success of the Kansas State track and field and cross country programs continue to be recognized this season. The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Association announced its men’s and women’s John McDonnell and Terry Crawford Program of the Year and the K-State women come in 12th on the list.

The USTFCCCA Program of the Year award is in its third year of existence and recognizes the school that had the best combined finishes at each of the NCAA’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field championships in an academic year. The Oregon Ducks have claimed the women’s award all three years, and this is the first time the Wildcats are listed among the elite programs in the nation.

K-State finished 25th at the NCAA Cross Country Championship this fall after qualifying for the event as a team for the first time in 10 years. Senior Sydney Messick and sophomore Martina Tresch played a key role in the Wildcats having such a strong year as each earned all-region honors as well. The women backed that performance up with Ryann Krais finishing sixth in the pentathlon indoors to finish tied for 45th. Then, the women’s team put together one of its best performances in the last 10 years finishing 13th at the outdoor championship last week.

Krais again shined for the Wildcats outdoors as she won the NCAA title in the heptathlon and also finished third in the 400 meter hurdles. Nina Kokot also claimed sixth in the long jump to help the Wildcats post their best finish since claiming fifth in 2002.

K-State Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Cliff Rovelto said it was a good year across the board for his Wildcats in 2010-11 and his athletes and coaches overcame challenges to be among the best in the nation.

“Our three women’s teams had very strong years,” Rovelto said. “It is very difficult to cover all three sports and the many disciplines involved with the scholarship limits. Traditionally, we have done a pretty good job of having a relatively complete team, but as the Big 12 Conference has evolved into what it is today our emphasis has had to change in our recruiting.

“Our women’s teams exceeded expectations, not due to lack of talent, but we are pretty young, and some of the young kids made tremendous progress in a short period of time.”

The Wildcats were the third Big 12 team on the list with Texas coming in fourth in the standings and Colorado standing 10th. Three more Big 12 schools were listed to give the conference six of the 18 teams to make the standings. Iowa State (13), Oklahoma State (14) and Texas Tech (15) round out the Big 12 schools.

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).

The NCAA Division I Program of the Year Awards are awarded annually to the most outstanding cross country/track and field programs. The award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year based on the institution’s finish at the NCAA Division I 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 Division I Championship in cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and 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.

Florida State won the men’s John McDonnell Program of the Year after finishing second in cross country, fifth indoors and second again outdoors. The Seminoles ended the reign of Oregon with the win as the Oregon men had won the first two men’s program of the year awards.