Changes are coming to the NCAA Division III cross country regional model that has been in place for an estimated minimum of 40 years. Starting in September 2021, there will be ten regions in the newest alignment format. The Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country committee put this into practice over the summer. The new regions in the updated breakout will be: The East, Great Lakes, Metro, Mid-Atlantic, Mideast, Midwest, Niagara, North, South and West.
This varies slightly from the incumbent eight region model, which featured larger divisions like the Atlantic, Central and New England groups.
Realignment for the sport had been a long time coming. Cross country has grown notably throughout the last 15 years in Division III, and the influx of institutions offering the sport was a motivating factor in deciding to break up schools into evenly distributed groups moving forward. Under the old system, there would be regions that contained many more schools than others, and it caused a logistics issue with trying to find venues large enough to accommodate them all.
It looks like the realignment is being received favorably, including by Russell Sage College’s David Taranto.
“The new Mideast Region will allow Russell Sage to compete against the same teams that we see on a weekly basis at some of the smaller regional invitationals,” the men’s and women’s coach opined. “We will be able to continue regional rivalries and give our athletes the opportunity to qualify for Nationals against a strong field.” Via SageGators.com
There were no 2020 cross country championships held to the pandemic. In 2019, Johns Hopkins University came out victorious in the women’s side, and will compete in the Mid-Atlantic region. The men’s 2019 championship was claimed by Pomona-Pitzer colleges, who find themselves in the West region.
Every school is hoping to make it Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday November 20th, when the Division III Cross Country Championships will take place.