Looking for solid academic D2 and D1 (slower) for my competitive DD XC runner (East Coast)

I’ve been struggling to compile a list for my DD. We live in South Jersey and she doesn’t want to go too far. 4 hours away might be her limit. She wants to continue running competitively and prefers a D1 or D2 school. New Jersey is limited in D2 schools. I’ve listed some D3 schools that are competitive. Rowan is very close to us but she just refuses.

She is filing out the recruitment forms but doesn’t want. I just don’t want to miss any. We do check runcruit for times that fit her profile. We also have the free account for NCSA. She is getting recruitment letters but she also needs to send stats to schools as she keeps improving.

This what I have…

Mount St. Mary’s
West Chester
Kutztown University
Loyola University Maryland
Marist College
Monmouth University
Sacred Heart University
University of Scranton
Bentley University
Franklin and Marshall
Siena College
Queens University of Charlotte

Thanks for your help.

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She should be using this website to see at which schools she is competitive: https://tfrrs.org/ Note there is quite a bit of overlap across NCAA divisions (as well as NAIA schools).

Beyond her event times, her academic stats, intended major, desired school characteristics, and budget are important to know when building a list. So, the more info you can share with us, the more posters can help.

She should also be reaching out to coaches, not waiting to get ‘recruitment letters’. Fill out the TNF recruiting questionnaire on the sites of schools she’s interested in and follow up with an email to the coaches listed on the website (head coach, event coach, recruiting coordinator).

You can search for schools by division and location here: NCAA Directory - Home


Manhattan College has excellent track & cross country programs and competes at D1. It competes in the mid major Metro Atlantic Conference which includes the following:

St. Peter’s
St. Bonaventure


Thanks. A few she needs to drop more time and Fairfield doesn’t have a track team. We’ve gone to Marist and Monmouth. Siena is on the list. Rider we hear about financial issues so my husband is not pushing that school.

How does that level of competition look for her times. Can she compete at a higher level? Would that level be challenging for her?

Is she a distance runner or sprinter?

Are her event times competitive at the schools that you added to your OP? What year is she? Are her academic stats competitive at Bucknell and Colgate?

I’d look at the times for Lafayette College and other Patriot League schools as well.


That is quite a variety, both in sport level and academics.

Note that Queens (NC) is switching to D1, which means a couple of things. They’ll HAVE to maintain 14 varsity teams, and it also often means more scholarship money to maintain those teams. It is a lovely campus and has nice sports facilities.

St Peter’s! Everyone’s new darling.


It would help if you provided academic stats, cost constraints (if any), and other preferences (ex. size of school etc.).


St Bonaventure competed in Atlantic 10.

What about St Joseph’s or other Atlantic 10 members?

It’s tough without knowing approximate PBs but I can see why sharing those might compromise privacy. So I’d focus the search by conference in the way a few others suggest. Look at conference performance lists on tfrrs. Get a sense of athletic fit. Cross out any schools that don’t meet your academic, geographical, financial preferences to start with, then research the rest.

Given that you mention XC and not track makes me think you have a more distance-oriented runner (as opposed to mid-d). Identifying fit for those types can be more challenging with tfrrs. Colleges (women) run 6k not 5k in XC and these runners are running 5k or 10k in track, not 3200. Indoor 3k times might be your friend here, and once you get to the team level you can look at HS times for past recruits on milesplit or athletic.net. Her XC performances at state, FL, NXR would be an indication of where she’d fit also. If her strength is more in the mid-d range it’s easy to convert and compare 1500 times.

I wouldn’t exclude D3. A school like TCNJ could be a great academic and running option for the right athlete. They have a robust program. The key question is whether, if she improves, she’ll have training partners. Whereas at a decent D1 program the training group would be less of an issue but on the flip side the chances to actually compete might be more limited.

Runcruit is a nice concept but I’ve found it doesn’t really match what I see happening in the real world. So I’d take it with a grain of salt and use it more to get ideas for schools that might fit.

I’d be aggressive with filling out recruiting forms and always follow that up with an email to the distance coach. Given your list, I’m assuming you’ve concluded that schools like Villanova, Penn, Princeton, Columbia aren’t a good athletic fit. If you think it’s anywhere close, schools like that are worth emailing (if they’d be academic and financial fits).


Dickinson College has a very strong program for a d3 school. Consistently goes to nationals and does well. They are even hosting XC nationals in 2023. I know TCNJ has a very strong track program but do not know as much about XC. Definitely worth a look!

Use TFRRS.org to find times of different teams across all divisions. It is one of the most widely used platforms in college track and XC - the college edition of Milesplit.


She did not like St. Joe’s at all. The tour was poorly done.

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We are definitely going to take a look at Dickenson.

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These are all D2 schools that might fit the bill:

U. of New Haven (CT)
Adelphi (NY)
Le Moyne (NY)
Molloy (NY)
Gannon (PA )
U. of the Science (PA )
West Chester (PA )
Thomas Jefferson (PA )
Mercyhurst (PA )
Slippery Rock (PA )
Seton Hill (PA )

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These are some D1 schools. I can’t say whether these are fast or slow D1 teams, but based on the schools on your list, it seemed as though they’d be worth a bit more investigation.

• Quinnipiac (CT)
• U. of Hartford (CT)
• American (D.C.)
• Saint Peter’s (NJ)
• Seton Hall (NJ)
• Fordham (NY)
• St. Bonaventure (NY)
• Canisius (NY)
• Niagara (NY)
• Manhattan (NY)
• Wagner (NY)
• Hofstra (NY)
• Iona (NY)
• Duquesne (PA )
• Lafayette (PA )
• La Salle (PA )
• Lehigh (PA )
• St. Francis (PA )
• U. of Richmond (VA)

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Lots of good advice on the board. Much of this is restating things that have already been said, but here is my standard spiel.

The TFRRS site is great. Just be aware that many conference meet races are tactical, so you need to look at season performances, not just a conference meet result. Also, if there is a long list of 1500 performances, for example, the slower times on the list are likely not really 1500 runners.

Make sure your daughter is driving the recruiting bus. She should reach out to the coaches of schools she is interested in, rather than responding to coaches who are interested in her. Fill out the recruiting forms, then send an email to the head coach, event coach, and recruiting coordinator with the high level details and let them know you filled out the forms.

All of the contact needs to come from her, but someone should proof read what she sends.

Don’t get too caught up in DI, DII, and DIII. There is a lot of overlap between programs at various levels, and not tons of DII schools in the Northeast.

Know what you are looking for in the recruiting process. Different coaches have different things to offer: athletic scholarship, finding an academic scholarship, admission help, a roster slot, or a tryout. It might not be the same thing everywhere your daughter is looking.

If she finds a school she is interested in, make contact with at least one other school from the same conference. Coaches have to pick and choose who they are recruiting. While they don’t like to lose a recruit, losing a recruit to a conference rival hurts twice.


This is a really good point and worth emphasizing. Just as an example: the Ivy championships were especially tactical this year because it was an extremely windy weekend. The men’s 1500 was won with a 3:59. The contenders were all sub-3:45 guys and there are loads of sub 3:50 guys in that conference. A 3:59 recruit wouldn’t get much if any interest at most of these schools (with occasional exceptions for sure, but those are exceptions not the rule). So yes, look at the performance lists by conference on tfrrs, not just conference meet results.

Another thing to keep in mind when looking at XC results is that schools are often going to run squads for reasons that aren’t always obvious in the results. You’ll sometimes see D3 teams or weak D1 teams getting close to, or beating, stronger D1 teams at early season meets. But what is happening in some of those cases is that D1 teams are required to compete at least once by a certain date. So the coach enters a team of runners who won’t compete at any other meets in an early season meet to fulfill the requirement while the top 10-15 runners train through September. Or the team will show up but tempo the race. Looking at those results without knowing the back story would give a warped sense of relative strength of teams, and of what it takes to be recruited to those stronger programs.