Missouri Southern State University and the Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course has been selected to host numerous NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Regional Championships, as well as a National Championship as the NCAA announced today.
Already slated to host the 2021 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Central Region Championships, MSSU will now be hosting the 2022-25 Central Regional Championships, as well as the 2023 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s National Championships.
The Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course is no stranger to big meets as the facility is routinely home to one of the largest cross country events in the Midwest with the Southern Stampede that sees thousands of athletes and many more spectators each year. The facility has been host to numerous MIAA Championships, as well as NCAA Regional Championships in 1999, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2019. The course has also been host to the NCAA Division II National Championship in 1999, 2007, 2012 and 2015. This will be the fifth time a National Championship has been hosted by MSSU at the course.
“What the NCAA announced today only solidifies what we already know,” said Director of Athletics Jared Bruggeman. “The Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course is a premier facility in all of Division II, as well as the country. We are excited about the opportunity to once again host NCAA competitions. This run of regionals is unprecedented in Southern history. We appreciate the faith the NCAA and our region has in knowing the community of Joplin and MSSU will host the events in a way that allows for the best student-athlete Championship experience.”
“Our region spans through the states of Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. This is also a great opportunity to display the hospitality of Southwest Missouri and simultaneously create another economic occasion for our local communities especially with the hotels, stores, airport and restaurants to prosper. Being able to host the 2023 National Championship is icing on the cake!”
The Joplin Sports Authority will once again support the University in this endeavor in showcasing Joplin as a Championship City.
“The Joplin Sports Authority is proud to support Missouri Southern Athletics on this successful bid to bring the NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championships back to the Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course,” said JSA Director Craig Hull. “Earning the opportunity to host the NCAA Division II Regional Cross Country Championships for five-straight years on top of the National Championship will allow a significant impact on the local economy generating visitor spending for our hotel, restaurant and retail partners.”