(CARLISLE, Pa.) – The NCAA has announced that Dickinson College, in collaboration with Big Spring High School and the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau, will serve as the host of the 2023 Division III Cross County National Championships. The Red Devils have hosted NCAA Regional Championship events at Big Spring and are excited to bring nationals back to the Cumberland Valley for the second time.
Dickinson hosted the National Championships in 1998 when it had its home course at Carlisle High School. The Red Devils moved the Dickinson Long Course/Short Course Invitational to Big Spring in 2011 and hosted the NCAA Mideast Regionals in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. The course at Big Spring High School is highly regarded as one of the best in the area and a favorite venue of many high school and collegiate runners who have competed there.
Dickinson Head Coach Don Nichter expressed his feelings on earning the bid for the second time in his tenure and credits all the support he received during the process. "We are honored to be selected to host this National Championship event. Our Athletic Director, Joel Quattrone, has been highly supportive of bringing this event to Dickinson College and The Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau has been instrumental in developing a collaborative plan with Dickinson for hotels, restaurants, marketing, and the banquet facilities.
Nichter also feels confident that working with Big Spring in the past few years will be a great asset to providing a great experience for all the teams and athletes who qualify for the 2023 championship. "Dickinson College previously hosted this championship event in 1998 at Carlisle High School. At that time, the competitive field in the men's and the women's races was 187 athletes. The current field size for the NCAA championship is now 280 athletes in each race. Fortunately, we are blessed to have a positive connection with the Big Spring High School and the wonderful facilities they now have for accommodating this larger race size."
Big Spring Director of Athletics Joseph Sinkovich complemented his staff and the local community for their efforts in helping to secure the bid to host, stating, "This is a big accomplishment for not only the Big Spring School District but for the community itself. The pride that is taken into the district shows through. Over the years we have hosted some big events on our cross-country course. Having the NCAA Championships here is in part of the hard work and commitment of our coaches, administration, and grounds keepers over the years. Without the commitment and time that they have put in we would not have the facilities that could support or live up to the expectations of hosting such a prestigious event. The economic boost to the community and surrounding areas will be seen and benefit numerous families and businesses with the number of athletes and fans that will be attending."
Nichter went on to add, "Head Coach Bob Jumper at Big Spring is experienced in hosting large meets of this magnitude and their cross-country community will be providing meet management support. The local communities will now have the opportunity to market central PA as a destination for tourism and recreational opportunities as a result of this national event."
Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) CEO, Jamie Keener also shared his thoughts on the positive endorsement of the NCAA, saying, "The NCAA choosing to bring the Division III Cross Country 2023 National Championships to the Cumberland Valley is a testament to our region's ability to collaborate and host large sporting events. CAEDC worked closely with Dickinson College and Big Spring School District in preparing the application. This event will showcase our region to thousands of visitors, and will support our dining, shopping, and hospitality industries. We look forward to seeing these athletes and their families in 2023."
This is the first time since that 1998 season that the NCAA has awarded the Division III Cross Country championships to a college in the eastern section of the country. Coach Nichter looks forward to bringing the event back to the region, saying, "I am excited to work with our current athletic department coaches, student athletes, and our alumni in bringing this championship back to Dickinson 25 years after we first hosted. It is most certainly an event that will bring recognition to Dickinson College and the Red Devils' cross country programs. We are looking forward to an exceptional national championship when teams and individuals from all over the country arrive in Carlisle and Newville in November of 2023."
Dickinson President Margie Ensign shared the college's commitment to supporting this endeavor, the cross country programs and all the athletes that will come to compete, stating, "Dickinson is honored and excited to be host of the 2023 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Championships in Cross Country, a sport in which Dickinson has excelled for decades under Coach Nichter's outstanding leadership. Dickinson and the surrounding community look forward to supporting the Red Devils and all the athletes competing at the championship level. We also look forward to celebrating the unifying power of sports."
This is the third time for this specific NCAA championship bid process, which created the largest host site announcement ever, spanning 86 championships across a four-year cycle. Previously, selection announcements varied by sport. This process now gives the NCAA and host sites more time to plan each championship experience.
Bidding for 86 of 90 NCAA championships began in August 2019 and more than 3,000 bid applications were ultimately submitted. Each sport committee, per division, selected the host sites it believed would provide the ultimate experience for the respective student-athletes, resulting in more than 450 total championship event sites being awarded. More than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships each year.