The UW-Oshkosh men's indoor track & field team ranks fifth in the NCAA Division III, according to preseason computer rankings released Jan. 11 by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The computer rankings were first introduced during the 2011 season. Mathematical information based on current national descending-order lists in all events are used to compile a team's ranking. The purpose of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving a top finish at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championship.
UW-La Crosse claimed the top listing in the preseason rankings with 116.28 points. The Eagles were followed by Rowan University (N.J.) with 110.19 points, University of Dubuque (Iowa) with 96.11, Christopher Newport University (Va.) with 91.96 and UW-Oshkosh with 85.22.
Rounding out the top 10 teams were Benedictine University (Ill.) with 82.95 points, University of Mount Union (Ohio) with 81.29, Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 76.95, UW-Stevens Point with 72.90 and North Central College (Ill.) with 71.39.
UW-La Crosse and North Central College shared last year's NCAA Division III indoor title with 34 points while UW-Whitewater finished third in the country with 30 points, UW-Stevens Point fourth with 27 and University of Mount Union fifth with 26.
UW-Oshkosh, which began its indoor season by winning an eight-team meet in Kolf Sports Center on Dec. 2, has 32 returning letter winners on this year's roster, including All-American Ryan Powers and WIAC champion Justin Skinkis.
Powers finished sixth in the 400-meter run at the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Championship, while Skinkis won the 800-meter run at last year's WIAC Indoor Championship.
UW-Oshkosh qualifiers back from the 2017 NCAA Division III Indoor Championship are Powers in the 400-meter run, Skinkis and Nick Freitag in the 800-meter run, Devan Gertschen in the pole vault and Joe Zack in the mile run.
The Titans also return Freitag, Powers and Garrison Griest from last year's national qualifying 1,600-meter relay team.
In this season's national event rankings, Zack ranks third in the country with a time of 4:09.21 in the mile run while Powers ranks fifth with a time of 22.01 seconds in the 200-meter dash.
UW-Oshkosh finished fifth at last season's WIAC Indoor Championship before placing 42nd at the Division III Indoor Championship. UW-Oshkosh, the 2009 national champion, has finished among the top four teams in the country 11 times in the past 19 seasons, including second-place showings in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2013.
The 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor Championship will be held March 9-10 at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala.
UW-Oshkosh resumes its indoor schedule by hosting Ripon College on Saturday (Jan. 13) in Kolf Sports Center.