New Mexico Women's XC/Track Finishes 8th in Program of the Year Standings

Release courtesy of New Mexico Athletics.

NEW ORLEANS, La. — The University of New Mexico women's cross country and track & field program placed eighth in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's Terry Crawford Program of the Year award standings for the 2015-16 academic year. 

The Lobos combined to gain 46.5 points for their best-ever finish in the final standings, which combine the teams' finishes from the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships, 2016 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

It's the third time in program history that the Joe Franklin-coached women earned the award, after placing 16th in 2012 and 14th last year.

New Mexico is the highest-finishing school from a non-Power Five conference.

The women's cross country team got New Mexico in the standings first as the Lobos won the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November. It's the second ever national title in any sport in New Mexico history.

Five All-Americans — Courtney Frerichs, Alice Wright, Rhona Auckland, Calli Thackery and Molly Renfer — powered the Lobos to the best team score (49 points) at the NCAA Championships since 1982.

Thackery continued the trend of scoring performances during the indoor season, as she took sixth-place in the 3,000-meter run at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in March in Birmingham, Ala.

Along with a fifth-place finish by Sophie Connor in the mile (which is the best-ever finish by a Lobo woman in a track event at the indoor championships), the Lobos scored at the national indoor championships for the second straight year.

The UNM women's capped the year with another national title, as Frerichs captured the NCAA championship and NCAA record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at NCAA Outdoor Championships last weekend at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Wright added a runner-up performance in the 10,000, helping the Lobos post program bests in team finish (15th) and team points scored (18th).

Presented annually since 2009, the NCAA Division I Program of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding cross country and track & field programs in Division I based on the institution's performance through the academic year. Final standings are predicated on the institution's combined finishes at the NCAA Division I Championships in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field.

To be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for all three NCAA Championships. Scores for award are calculated from the team's each finish at those championships (i.e., first place earns one point, second place two points, 31st place 31 points, etc.). The team with the lowest total score for all three championships receives the award.

15 women's teams scored at all three 2015-16 championships. Leading the final standings was NCAA indoor champions Arkansas (six points), with NCAA outdoor champs Arkansas (12) and Oklahoma State (29.5) rounding out the top three.