Faster Than Forty Ranks the Best Division I Cross Country Programs of “All Time”

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Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Colorado lead the rankings, based on 50 years of NCAA Championships data.

We believe this is the first time anyone has compiled 50 years’ worth of NCAA cross country results into one spreadsheet... you can recognize seismic shifts in the fortunes of various cross country programs.

Faster Than Forty, a Web publishing venture that provides entertainment and research content for the running community, released its first-ever historical ranking for NCAA Division I cross country programs. The ranking, which used 50 years of NCAA Championships results data combined with a unique points system, is available for free download at http://www.fasterthanforty.com in Microsoft Excel format.

Overall, Wisconsin bested Arkansas by 326 points; Colorado, Providence, and Oregon rounded out the top five programs.

“Preserving the history of our sport is one of Faster Than Forty’s missions,” said Rick Miller, the list’s primary creator. “We believe this is the first time anyone has compiled 50 years’ worth of NCAA cross country results into one sortable spreadsheet, and when you scan the data you can recognize seismic shifts in the fortunes of various schools’ cross country programs.”

In total, 148 schools qualified for the list – less than half of the 300+ NCAA Division I colleges that field a cross country team. A school only qualified for the list if it participated in the team competition at the NCAA Championships between 1961 and 2010; individual representatives from a school did not earn it inclusion in the list. Even schools known for producing great cross country runners (like Liberty University) were unable to qualify full teams for the NCAA Championships, and even some long-time programs (Yale) and powerhouse conference schools (like the SEC’s Ole Miss and Mississippi State) didn’t make the cut – illustrating that just making the list is an accomplishment.

“We’ve been using the descriptor ‘of all time’ somewhat loosely,” Miller said. “Although we used data from 1961 on, the NCAA Cross Country Championships actually started in the late ‘30s – but the format of the meet changed enough by 1961 that we felt that was a good place to start.”
This ranking included men’s programs only. Faster Than Forty is working on women’s rankings.
To download the rankings directly, visit:

http://www.fasterthanforty.com/the-fairest-of-all-time-historical-ncaa-cross-country-rankings/

About Faster Than Forty

Faster Than Forty is a Web publishing venture that provides entertainment and research content for runners. It slants toward Masters running, but its articles and other content is useful to runners of all ages.

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Rick Miller