Best Colleges for Cross Country in Division II

January 6, 2012
by Justin

You are back on ScoutMe’s track and field, known simply as The Fast Track with the @HempsteadHuddle. The Fast Track’s first volume was all about speed training, while the second week was all about training for college track and field events. In week three, The Fast Track went back to the fundamentals and explored different track and field programs like Texas A&M, St. Augustine’s, along with smaller powerhouse programs in Division III and the NAIA like North Central and Shorter University in two part series for volume four. Volume five’s piece, highlighted advanced drills and workouts that will increase top end speed.

 

There is a short list of powerhouse Division II, cross country colleges that consistently bring home the hardware every year. Over the past twenty years Western State and rival Adams State has dominated the Division II, cross country landscape. The only other team that has recently shook those team powerhouses out of the championship race has been Abilene Christian, who went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. This week will focus on the three best colleges for cross country in Division II. Let’s check them out right now.

 

The Best Colleges for Cross Country Division II: Western State  

Western State College of Colorado is one of the best colleges for cross country. Since 1991 they have won seven cross country national titles, six of them under former head coach Duane Vandenbusche. Vandenbusche won those six cross country titles in seven years, before rival Adams State and Abilene Christian won the next five straight cross country titles. Western State climbed back to the mountain top in 2011 with their new coach Jennifer Michel. Coach Michel is a trailblazer in the cross country world, and her status was boosted to a higher level when she became the first woman in any sport at any NCAA level to earn a National Coach of the Year honor for a men’s sport. As an athlete, Coach Michel earned eight All-American honors in track and field and cross country. In track and field, Coach Michel won Division II titles in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, 3,000-meter run and indoor mile, and held the national championship steeplechase record until 2008. This team’s cross country pedigree is truly undeniable. If you are interested in running cross country in the high altitude of Colorado, fill out this questionnaire.

 

The Best Colleges for Cross Country Division II: Adams State 

When it comes to the best colleges for cross country, Adams State is in a rare air space. Just like Western State, Adams is a cross country programs that runs in the thin air of Colorado. It seems to be an asset of this cross country program, and the fruits of their labor is quite evident. The Adams State cross country program has won 23 national cross country titles, with the women holding the lion share of the hardware at an impressive 17 championships. Damon Martin, winner of 29 national coach of the year awards is the coach that has brought Adams State to the elite cross country level. If you are interested in running cross country in another rocky mountain powerhouse of Colorado, fill out this questionnaire.

 

 

The Best Colleges for Cross Country Division II: Abilene Christian

If Adams and Western State are the two top dogs of cross country, Abilene Christian is the Napoleonic Chihuahua nipping at their heels. Abilene Christian won back-to-back cross country national championships in 2006 and 2007 dethroning Adams and Western State in dramatic fashion. They have had a coaching change since 2007, and have hired Chris Woods. Coach Woods has yet to strike championship gold as a coach, but as a cross country collegian he was a two-time All-American, along with a four-time All-SEC and a four-time all-Mideast Region selection. If you are interested in running cross country for the best Division II team in Texas, fill out this questionnaire.

 

Check back next week for an expansion of this article. Until you get your next track and field or cross country gold medal, I’ll be here on the Fast Track. This is Yorick Hempstead, signing off.

 

Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for ScoutMe. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle.

 

 

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