VU claims Top-15 finish in Program of the Year standings

June 16, 2015

Those who follow Vanderbilt’s women’s cross country and track and field programs are well aware that the Commodores are on the rise.

Proof of Vanderbilt’s success arrived on Tuesday morning.

When the USTFCCCA released its final Program of the Year standings, Vanderbilt was ranked No. 15 in the nation. It marked the first time in school history that the Commodores have earned a spot on the list, and they were one of only two schools from the SEC — along with Arkansas — to qualify.

In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for the NCAA Championships in each of the following three seasons — cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. Scoring is based on the team’s finish at each NCAA Championship meet. For complete standings, click HERE. 

“We are certainly very pleased, and it’s an honor to be recognized,” said Vanderbilt head coach Steve Keith. “It’s another good step for the program, and it’s something we aspire to every year.”

Oregon won the Program of the Year honors in both men’s and women’s. For complete release from the USTFCCCA, click HERE. 

Vanderbilt set the tone for its record-setting season in the fall, when the Commodores’ women’s cross country team won its first-ever South Regional title and went to a 28th place finish at the NCAA Championships. Vanderbilt then finished 38th at the NCAA Indoor Championships and 35th at the Outdoor Championships, with triple-jumper Simone Charley earning fourth and third, respectively, at the two national meets. (More on Charley below).

In addition to the successes that the Commodores had on the track and the cross-country course, the Vanderbilt athletes also excelled in the classroom this year. The four Vanderbilt teams — men’s cross country, women’s cross country, indoor track and outdoor track — each compiled team GPAs of 3.0 or better, and all four earned the prestigious Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate scores. (The APR annually measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or quarter and charts the academic performance for each team in each sport).


Vanderbilt’s Simone Charley, the standout sophomore triple-jumper, secured her spot as a First Team All-American by finishing third at last weekend’s NCAA Outdoor Championships – and now, the USTFCCCA has made it official.

Charley was formally recognized as an USTFCCCA First Team selection when the organization announced its list on Monday. The honor comes just three months after Charley earned First Team Indoor All-American honors by finishing fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships. 

Track and field athletes who finish among the top eight in their respective events at the NCAA Championships — for both indoor and outdoor — earn automatic First Team status, and the No. 9 through No. 16 finishers earn Second Team honors.  

“It was a pretty awesome feeling, just seeing all the hard work pay off,” said Charley shortly after appearing on the podium following last weekend’s meet in Eugene, Ore. “It was definitely an exciting moment, and I am so thankful to (assistant coach Clark Humphreys) for all he did to help make it happen.”

l For the complete USTFCCCA release, click HERE.  
l For a link to the complete list of 2015 USTFCCCA women’s All-Americans, click HERE.  
l For a complete list of Vanderbilt’s all-time All-Americans, click HERE.  

Charley delivered the best series of her career at last weekend’s NCAA Championships, , including breaking her own school record with a leap of 44-3.25 in the finals, to take third place among the incredibly talented field. Her outstanding performance enabled the SEC to sweep the top-3 positions in the event: Keturah Orji, the outstanding freshman from Georgia, was first with a mark of 46-5.25, and Auburn sophomore Marshay Ryan was second at 44-4.75.

In mid-March, Charley captured fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a mark of 43-2.25 to earn a First Team selection.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Simone has that special ‘it’ factor that enables her to compete at her best when the pressure is on,” said Vanderbilt assistant coach Clark Humphreys, who helps guide the Commodores’ jumpers and vaulters. “And we saw that again today. She has the ability to just dial it up at the right moment, and that’s a trait that only the special athletes have.”

Charley, the school record holder in both indoor and outdoor, earned Second Team All-American honors as a freshman with a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.