Saturday, Missouri Southern State University in Joplin will host the NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championships. It is the first of three different collegiate national cross country meets that will be hosted in consecutive years in the Show-Me State.
MSSU hosts the DII meet for the 5th time, at the Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course on the school's campus in Southwest Missouri.
Next Fall, Columbia College will host the 2024 NAIA National Championship at Gans Creek with the City of Columbia and the Columbia Sports Commission. That will be the first of three NAIA national meets that Gans Creek was awarded two years ago. Columbia and Columbia College will also host the meet in 2027 and 2030.
After the Division II Championships in Joplin this weekend and the NAIA Championships at Gans Creek next November, the NCAA Division I Championships will be hosted by the University of Missouri and the City of Columbia in 2025.
The three-year stretch of national meets in Missouri adds to the history of top college cross country in the Show-Me State. Mizzou has hosted multiple NCAA Division I Midwest District/Regional meets at A.L. Gustin Golf Course and Gans Creek.
Missouri Southern has taken up the reins in hosting 5 NCAA Division II meets after Missouri State (SMSU) and Southeast Missouri (SEMO) hosted the DII national meet multiple times before moving to Division I in the 1980's and 1990's.
The 2024 NAIA meet will be the 4th NAIA Championship in Missouri. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), based in Kansas City, held the 1970, 1971, and 1972 meet in the Kansas City suburb of Liberty, where member William Jewell College is located. The 2016 national meet was hosted by St. Louis-based American Midwest Conference (AMC) just north of St. Louis, across the Missouri and Mississippi River in Elsah, Illinois at NCAA Division III school Principia College's new cross country course.