Tech track makes standings for top program

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) announced the mid-year update for the Program of the Year Award. The Montana Tech women are in the running for the Fred Beile Program of the Year.

“It’s pretty incredible to be on this list in just our second year as a program,” Tech coach Zach Kughn said. “The Program of the Year Award is truly a career goal for both myself and as a program.”

The USTFCCCA Program of the Year Award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year determined by where the institution finishes in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field. In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for each of the NAIA Championships. Scoring is based on the team’s finish at each championship with the lowest score determining the winner.

“Both Coach (Jacob) Sundberg and I have been involved heavily with the USTFCCCA since the beginning of our careers, we are big fans of coaches education and all that the coaches association does,” Kughn said. “It’s an honor to have our name up there and we understand the weight this award carries. Winning this award is ultimately the final goal for a program. To be in the running so early is pretty special. We couldn’t do it without our athletes that have come in right away and shared that vision.”

The Orediggers are currently third in the standings with 17 POY points. The women’s cross country team placed 11th at the cross country championships last fall and finished sixth at the indoor championships.

St. Francis (Ill.) is leading in the POY standings with nine points. The Saints were the runner-up in cross country and finished in seventh at the indoor championship. Taylor (Ind.) is second with 14.5 points after finishing fourth in cross country and a share of 10th place at indoors.

“We are only through two of the three seasons, we have to get things done at the Outdoor national championships in order to stay on this list,” Kughn said. “It’s cool to be in the running, but we are far from done.”

The award is named for Beile who guided the Doane (Neb.) women to a pair of team titles at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and more than 250 All-America honor and numerous conference championships.