NCAA CC sign

Tribune-Star file/Arthur Foulkes

Cross Country Town USA: Vigo County's LaVern Gibson course has hosted more than a dozen NCAA Division I men's and women's cross country national championships in the past 17 years.

The NCAA's Division I Cross Country Championships will be returning to LaVern Gibson Course ... but not as frequently as it once did.

The NCAA announced championship sites for several sports, including cross country, on Tuesday afternoon.

The NCAA Championships will return to Terre Haute in 2019. That is the only time the Championships are scheduled to come to Terre Haute through 2021.

The Gibson Course will host the Great Lakes Regional in 2018 and 2020. It was already announced that the course would host a regional in the coming 2017 season.

The Championships are scheduled to be in Louisville this fall, continuing the rotation that Terre Haute and Louisville have had since 2014. However, Wisconsin will host the 2018 Championships in Madison, Wis. After Terre Haute hosts in 2019, the Championships go to Oklahoma State (Stillwater, Okla.) and Florida State (Tallahassee) in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

"We knew there was multiple schools interested in hosting. We kind of knew there was some new locations in play," said ISU assistant track and field coach Jeff Martin, who has served as meet director for the past two NCAA Championships in Terre Haute.

"We're excited to have Cross Country Town host another championship and two championships, but we're a little disappointed to only be rewarded one," Martin added.

The two-year gap between hosting in 2016 and 2019 will be the first for Gibson Course since it hosted its first Championships in 2002.

"The course and the city of TH has kind of changed the sport of cross country. Other people are trying to get in and see if they can do it a little bit better. That's OK, the sport needs to rotate. The sport will benefit from being at a different location," Martin added.

The NCAA Championships has become a less frequent event in recent years at Gibson Course. From 2004-11, Terre Haute hosted the event annually, and promoted itself as Cross Country Town USA.

The NCAA also announced Division III championship sites, but Gibson Course will not host any championship meets in that division as it did in 2012 when the Division I Championships went to Louisville.

Getting awarded the multiple regional events are nice but not quite the luster of the championships.

"That's a nice consolation prize. We'll do our best to put on the best meet possible for those. When the bid cycle opens up, we'll hopefully get another national championship," Martin said.

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Craig Pearson has been a sportswriter at the Tribune-Star since his days as an undergraduate at Indiana State in the early 2000s. He has covered high school sports, Indiana State women's basketball, professional baseball, and NCAA cross country and track.

Todd Aaron Golden has been Sports Editor and Indiana State beat writer since September 2004. Born in Milwaukee but an Indiana resident most of his adult life, he previously worked in Jeffersonville, Columbus and Eau Claire, Wis.

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