ESPN Networks to Air NCAA Division 1 Cross Country Championships Through 2023

The USTFCCCA has combined efforts with ESPN and is pleased to announce that the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships will be presented live via telecasts on ESPN’s linear channels and through ESPN’s online platforms through at least 2023.

  • The thrilling, unpredictable event returns to live television for the first time since 2009 as the upcoming, rescheduled 2020 championships will be exclusively presented on ESPNU and available through the ESPN App on Monday, March 15 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
  • The USTFCCCA has previously worked with broadcast partners to air the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. To date, those have been the only live telecasts of the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
  • The two-hour live telecast on March 15 will feature, without commercial interruption, the women’s six-kilometer, national-championship race at 12:50 p.m. ET with the men’s 10-kilometer, national-championship race to follow at 1:40 p.m. ET.
  • The event, originally scheduled for November 21, 2020, will take place at the Oklahoma State Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State University is hosting the national championship event for the first time.
  • Truly unique in the collegiate sporting landscape, no other sport features the number of institutions represented on the field-of-play at one time as compared to cross country. Thirty-one teams in each race will battle to raise an NCAA Division I national-championship trophy while up to 255 student-athletes per race will be vying for individual glory.
  • The post-championships awards ceremony will also be streamed live on ESPN3 and through the ESPN App on mobile and connected devices.
  • The teams and individuals chosen to compete in the championships will be first revealed via a selection show, streamed on on Sunday, March 7 at 1 p.m. ET.
  • Arkansas’ women and BYU’s men are the defending champions. Both programs won their first NCAA cross country team crowns in 2019.
  • The championships telecast, produced by the USTFCCCA in coordination with TrackTown Productions, will be hosted by SportsCenter’s John Anderson with Carrie Tollefson and BillSpaulding providing analysis and play-by-play.
  • Anderson and Tollefson have previously teamed up on seven broadcasts of the TCS New York City Marathon while Tollefson and Spaulding’s paired commentary has been featured on a number of USATF and road-racing events.
  • Anderson, a staple on ESPN’s SportsCenter, has provided hosting and play-by-play commentary for several collegiate track & field and cross country events across ESPN networks. He has also hosted The Bowerman Presentation seven times.
  • Tollefson, a five-time NCAA champion and 2004 Olympian, won the Division I cross country individual title as a junior in 1997 and she led the Villanova Wildcats to the cross country national-championship crown during her 1998 senior campaign. Her work as an analyst has been featured previously with ESPN, ABC, NBC, NBCSN, and — a bevy of work that has featured many world-class running events.
  • Spaulding’s broadcasting highlights include play-by-play roles for the Rio and Pyeongchang Olympics on NBC, college football for ESPN, three Penn Relays, and with a number of Boston-area universities.

What they’re saying:

  • Dan Margulis, ESPN senior director, programming & acquisitions: “We look forward to showcasing the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on ESPNU this spring and in the years to come. We greatly value our relationships with both the NCAA and the USTFCCCA, and are thrilled to highlight the hard work of these student-athletes as they conclude an unparalleled season.”
  • Sam Seemes, CEO of the USTFCCCA: “This is an incredible opportunity for collegiate cross country. We are ecstatic to help showcase this event to a wider audience and to continue to enhance the sport in the years ahead. It’s our belief that viewers who experience the richness of compelling competition, presented in an enjoyable format, will want to learn more about the sport along with the student-athletes and coaches that make it great.”
  • Abbie Day, chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country Committee: “We are excited that fans across the country will have an opportunity to enjoy these great championships. To showcase the achievements of these student-athletes in front of a national television audience is an incredible opportunity and the committee is thrilled to continue our partnership with ESPN and the USTFCCCA in 2021 and for many years to come.”