For the first time in school history, Nebraska Wesleyan finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Men’s Track and Field Power Rankings for NCAA Division III.
The power rankings are based on the performances of every team’s top two athletes in each event and finishing the season No. 1 is also commonly referred to as being “dual meet national champions.”
“Our philosophy focuses on having a powerful team not only on the national level, but one that is balanced and deep enough to be very tough in dual and conference meet environments,” Head Coach Dr. Ted Bulling said.
Prior to leading the NWU men to a third-place team finish at the NCAA Div. III Outdoor Championships, Bulling was named 2005 USTCA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year for Div. III, the fifth national coaching award of his career.
“Winning another National Coach of the Year award reaffirms what we already know,” Nebraska Wesleyan Director of Athletics Dr. Ira Zeff said. “Ted is one of the best coaches in the entire country.”
While attending the awards ceremony, Bulling went against the usual protocol when he asked to say a few words after accepting his award. In his speech, Bulling recognized assistant coaches at Nebraska Wesleyan and at all schools, stating their importance to track and field programs.
Zeff echoed those remarks after the awards ceremony.
“We definitely appreciate our assistant coaches and all of their hard work and loyalty to the Nebraska Wesleyan track program,” Zeff said.
Having extended its streak of consecutive conference outdoor titles to 17 this year, the NWU men’s track and field team has long been a force at the league level and has many top 10 national finishes in its history. But with six national trophies (awarded to the top four teams at the NCAA Div. III Championships) in the last three years, the Prairie Wolves have elevated themselves to perennial contender.
“Our men’s team this year featured great athletes in virtually every event and in many events, multiple great athletes,” Bulling said.
Those great athletes include 13 who earned All-America status with their performances at the NCAA Div. III Outdoor Championships: Jeff Aldrich, Bret Blake, Gordie Coffin, Jed Droge, Aaron Dye, Craig Dye, Blake Henning, Evan Knight, Vince Sickler, Ben Thayer, Ryan Tietjen, Matt Turman and Chris Wolf.
In fact, NWU athletes posted NCAA provisional qualifying marks in 17 of the 21 events considered in the power rankings. Nebraska Wesleyan’s women finished at No. 19 in the final women’s poll. To view the final power rankings, click here.
Bulling is closing in on his teams’ 50th conference championship, despite being the only institution in the GPAC not offering athletic scholarships. A list of the awards Bulling received during the 2004-05 academic year follows, along with a sport-by-sport breakdown of the league team titles earned during Bulling’s NWU head coaching career.
Ted Bulling, Nebraska Wesleyan University
Director of Track & Cross Country
2005 USTCA Men’s National Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year for NCAA Div. III
2005 USTCA Men’s Regional Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year for the Central Region
2005 Hauff Mid-America/GPAC Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year
2005 Hauff Mid-America/GPAC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year
2004 Association of Division III Independents Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year
Conference team titles won to date under Bulling:
16 men’s indoor
18 men’s outdoor (includes current streak of 17 in a row)
1 women’s indoor
8 men’s cross country
5 women’s cross country
48 total league championships