(15-Feb) -- One of the world's greatest team running competitions, the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, will be broadcast live by ESPN on Monday, March 15, and those championships will be carried by that network through at least 2023, according to a joint statement released today by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and ESPN. ESPN will use their ESPNU and ESPN app platforms to deliver the broadcasts.
PHOTO: Dani Jones of the University of Colorado winning the 2018 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Madison, Wisconsin (photo by Mike Scott)
"We look forward to showcasing the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on ESPNU this spring and in the years to come," said Dan Margulis, ESPN senior director, programming & acquisitions through a statement. "We greatly value our relationships with both the NCAA and the USTFCCCA, and are thrilled to highlight the hard work of these student-athletes as they conclude an unparalleled season."
The championships are traditionally held in late November, but the 2020 edition was postponed until March, 2021, due to the pandemic. The race --10 km for men and 6 km for women-- will be held at the Oklahoma State Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State University is hosting the national championships for the first time.
Thirty-one teams per gender, plus individual qualifiers from other schools, will put 255 men and 255 women on the field of play competing for their schools and the all-important team titles. The defending champions are Brigham Young University for the men and the University of Arkansas for the women. The reigning individual champions, Edwin Kurgat of Iowa State and Weini Kelati of the University of New Mexico, have both completed their collegiate careers. The championships will be held for the 83rd time for men and 41st time for women.
Moreover, ESPN said that the competition will be shown without commercial interruption and that TrackTown Productions will produce the event. John Anderson will provide the play-by-play and Carrie Tollefson and Bill Spaulding will provide analysis and commentary. Tollefson, a 2004 Olympian in the 1500m, was the individual 1997 NCAA cross country champion (when she upset the University of Arizona's Amy Skieresz), and was part of Villanova's winning women's team in 1998 where she finished 11th.
The next four editions of the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships are scheduled to take place as follows:
2020: Stillwater, Okla. (host: Oklahoma State), March 15, 2021
2021: Tallahassee, Fla. (host: Florida State), November 20
2022: Stillwater, Okla. (OSU Cross Country Course), host: Oklahoma State
2023: Charlottesville, Va. (Panorama Farms), host: Virginia