June 13, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma men’s cross country and track and field teams finished the year ranked 15th in the John McDonnell Program of the Year standings announced this week by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Sooners posted 100 points on the year, highlighted by a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championship this past fall. It marks the third straight year Oklahoma has finished in the top 15 of the annual standings.
The USTFCCCA Program of the Year award, now in its fourth year of existence, is given to an institution that had the best combined team finishes in each of the NCAA’s cross country/track & field sports in a given academic year. Oklahoma was one of 20 programs that recorded team finishes at each of the year’s NCAA championships.
Oklahoma was the third Big 12 Conference men’s team on the list, following No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Texas A&M. OU was the highest ranked state school, coming in just ahead of 16th-ranked Tulsa and 20th-ranked Oklahoma State.
The cross country team finished in the top 10 for the second consecutive year, placing sixth at the NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind. Bill Kogel earned his first All-America honor with a 29th-place finish. The Sooners (213 points) placed just outside of the top five by 14 seconds and were 10 points outside of fourth behind Stanford (207) who finished fifth and BYU (203) who was fourth.
The men’s distance medley relay team finished sixth in the event finals at the indoor national meet as Eric Harasyn, Jamel Wood, Frezer Legesse and Riley Masters combined to cross the line in nine minutes, 36.90 seconds, the fourth fastest time in program history. The finish garnered the quartet All-America honors.
All six of the men’s points at the outdoor meet came from Luke Bryant’s third-place finish in the men’s discus throw on June 6. Bryant closed out his career with his highest finish ever at the NCAA Championship and earned his first All-America honor.
The John McDonnell Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former Arkansas head coach John McDonnell. McDonnell’s Arkansas teams won a combined 40 National Championships and finished in the top ten in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field in 24 of his 36 seasons in Fayetteville. Five of his teams won the NCAA Triple Crown.
The NCAA Division I Program of the Year Awards are awarded annually to the most outstanding cross country/track & field programs. 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 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 & 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.