CROSS COUNTRY TOWN USA
Nestled along the Wabash River where Illinois and Indiana meet is the bustling city of Terre Haute, Indiana. Once known for being one of the largest railroad and manufacturing hubs in the Midwest, Terre Haute is now known for something else nationwide: cross country.
Indiana State University has hosted both the Pre-National Invitational and the Division I NCAA Cross Country Championships a total of 12 times at Terre Haute's prestigious LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center since the 2002 season. ISU hosted for eight straight seasons from 2004-2011, a consecutive streak not seen at the Division I level on the men's side since the days of Michigan State hosting the first 26 NCAA meets from 1938-64. In women's competition, no school has hosted the national meet more times than Indiana State since the women's national title race was instituted in 1981 (when it was run in Wichita, Kan.).
After hosting six straight seasons, the city of Terre Haute was officially given the nickname of Cross Country Town USA in 2009 for its efforts.
The city, in conjunction with the University, went on to host four more national championships in 2010-11 and 2013-14, with both the Pre-Nationals and NCAA Championships returning for the 2016 season.
Widely known as one of the finest cross country courses in the United States, LaVern Gibson has seen its fair share of spectacular athletes come through in 12 separate Pre-National and NCAA Championship races, including recent 2016 Rio Olympians like Shalane Flanagan (2002 Champion), Jenny (Barringer) Simpson (2008 runner-up) and Abbey D'Agostino (2013 Champion).