March 19, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin men's program is currently tied for seventh in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association standings in the race for its 2011-12 John McDonnell Program of the Year Award.
With a total of 31 points, the Badgers share seventh place with Florida.
The John McDonnell Program of the Year Award is given annually by the USTFCCCA to the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year spanning the cross county, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field seasons.
Teams must qualify for each of the NCAA championships in order to be eligible. Scoring is based on the team's finish in the championships, with a first-place finish awarding the program 1 point in the rankings, while finishing 31st would earn that program 31 points.
The program with the lowest total score, encompassing placement in each of the three championship seasons, determines the award recipient.
Cross country got the Badgers off to a fast start in the rankings after capping off its impressive season by winning a national title at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championship.
In indoor track and field action, sophomore Japheth Cato's historic performance and runner-up finish in the heptathlon at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships helped Wisconsin earn 30 points in the Program of the Year rankings.
Indiana leads the standings with a lead total of 13 points, followed tightly behind by Stanford in second with 16 points, BYU and Texas tied for third with 18 points each and Florida State fifth with 21 points.
This is the fourth-consecutive year the USTFCCCA has conducted its John McDonnell Program of the Year award. Wisconsin previously appeared in the 2009-10 rankings, finishing eighth in the final standings.
With Wisconsin currently ranked in the top 10 of the standings for this academic year, the UW outdoor track and field team has the opportunity to give the program one final push up the standings as their season gets under way Friday in Starkville, Miss., at the SEC/Big Ten Challenge.