(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
INDIANAPOLIS – Announcing a swath of future championship hosts on Wednesday, the NCAA awarded Montana State University Billings hosting rights for the 2022 and 2024 NCAA Division II Men’s & Women’s West Region Cross Country Championships.
This will mark the fifth and sixth times that MSUB is scheduled to host the biggest meet in the west region, and the event will take place at Amend Park in Billings in both 2022 and 2024.
“We are excited and honored to be selected to host the 2022 and 2024 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Regionals,” said Yellowjacket athletic director Krista Montague. “We have gained valuable experience by hosting this event in the past, and we look forward to providing an excellent experience for student-athletes, coaches, and fans. Bringing a quality championship like this to our university and city is a big deal, and I want to thank our community partners who continue to support us in our quest to host high-quality competitions such as these in Billings.”
MSUB first hosted the regional championship meet in 2014, and has hosted two more times in 2016 and 2018. The Yellowjackets were scheduled to host the event once again in 2020, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic cancelled all fall sport championships. “We were scheduled to host this event in 2020, so it is especially sweet to be given two more opportunities in the future,” said Montague.
The meet, typically scheduled for mid-November, brings more than 400 men’s and women’s runners from the western United States to the Magic City to compete for a chance at reaching the NCAA national championships. The NCAA Division II West Region consists of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the California Collegiate Athletic Association, and the PacWest Conference.
“We are looking forward to having more opportunities to host the NCAA D2 west region XC meet,” said MSUB head cross country and track and field coach Jonathan Woehl. “The Billings community has done a phenomenal job welcoming visiting teams, which certainly helped us continue to host. Our team is going to be looking forward to running in front of friends and family, and we hope to make them proud.”
In addition to hosting the regional meets, MSUB played host to the GNAC Cross Country Championships in 2019 and is scheduled to host the conference meet again in the fall of 2021. Former Yellowjacket cross country and track coach Dave Coppock spearheaded the effort to bring the regional and conference meets to Billings seven years ago, and he continues to assist in running the events as the meet’s technical director.
MSUB also partners with the Billings Chamber of Commerce and Visit Billings, which results in an enhanced experience for all participants at the event.