LOGAN, Utah - Following the conclusion of the indoor track & field season, Utah State's men's track & field/cross country program is ranked No. 13 in the Program of the Year standings by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
"It means a lot to myself and our whole staff," said interim head track & field coach Matt Ingebritsen. "It’s great to see that the hard work put in through the whole season, by both the coaches and the athletes, has been paying off. It also is really special helping bring national recognition to Utah State. I look forward to seeing what else we can accomplish as we move on to the outdoor season where we add other events and athletes that are at a very high level."
The Aggies picked up eight points at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships last week to place tied for 29th. Overall, it was the best team finish since 1977, when USU took 21st. The Aggies earned four points from the senior-laden, fifth-place distance medley relay team, made up of Jordan Beutler, Brady Martin, Clay Lambourne and Dillon Maggard, that set a school record with a time of 9:32.31. Then, Maggard earned four more points after his fifth-place finish in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 8:06.69.
The distance unit's success was not surprising, as the men's cross country team also had a historic season to start off the year.
"The cross country season was very special with both teams qualifying for the NCAA's for the first time," said interim head cross country coach Artie Gulden. "They really set a great tone for the year, which certainly carried over into indoors. To place as a team in the top 30 nationally in both cross country and indoors is great. Now, we look forward to the outdoor season and shooting for better."
The cross country season saw the Aggies earn the program's highest national ranking at No. 19. As a team, the Aggies won three races, posting first-place finishes in the USU-hosted Sagebrush Invite, the Lehigh-hosted Paul Short Run, and the Utah State-hosted Steve T. Reeder Memorial. Individually, Maggard was named an All-American following his sixth-place showing at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships, leading USU to a 27th-place finish in Utah State's first ever appearance in the national meet.
Overall, Northern Arizona leads the men's program ranking following a cross country national championship and a 15th-place finish at the indoor national championships. On the women's side, Oregon leads the way with a pair of fifth-place team finishes in the national championships.
In order to be eligible for the Program of the Year 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 winner. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.
Utah State track & field opens up the outdoor season this weekend when it competes at the Spring Break Classic in Irvine, Calif., on Friday and Saturday, March 16-17.
Fans can follow Utah State’s track & field programs at twitter.com/USUTF_XC or on Facebook at USUTrack. Fans can also follow the USU athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at UtahStateAthletics.
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