The St. Thomas men’s cross-country program is recognized for a tradition of excellence. The Tommies won NCAA Division III titles in 1984 and 1986 and have finished in the top 20 at the national meet 22 times.
Tommie distance runners have won nine individual national titles in either cross country, or in track and field at 800, 1,500, 5,000 or 10,000 meters, or the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Nic Manciu was the 1982 national CC champion and was a two-time NCAA 10,000-meter champ in track. Individually, St. Thomas runners have earned cross-country All-American honors on 31 occasions.
Their 16 conference team titles include a streak of 10 in a row from 1984-93 under the leadership Coach Larry "Doc" Russ and current coach Pete Wareham. The Tommies placed first, second or third in the MIAC for 32 consecutive seasons from 1973-2004.
At the conference level, individual Tommies have raced to top-15 finishes and All-MIAC honors 146 times since 1976 -- more than any other conference school.
The 2001 Tommies repeated as MIAC champions and placed fifth at nationals. Led by individual champion Brian Preus, a junior, St. Thomas put three runners in the top five and six in the top 15 to win the 2001 MIAC championship with 26 points -- one of the lowest team scores in MIAC history. Preus and senior Nick Maddox went on to earn All-America honors with top-35 finishes at nationals. Preus placed 10th in the 2002 nationals to repeat as All-American and led St. Thomas to an 18th-place finish. St. Thomas also won the 2003 MIAC championship.
The 2009 Tommies qualified for the NCAA Division III meet for the first time since 2002 and placed 18th out of 32 teams. It was the school’s 24th trip to nationals in the past 36 seasons. Coach Pete Wareham was named Central Region Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
In both 2010 and 2011, Tommies All-American distance man Ben Sathre was named the Men’s Cross Country Central Region Athlete of the Year. Sathre repeated as Division III Cross Country All-American in the men’s 8,000 meters race by finishing second overall in the national field of 279 runners. Sathre’s time of 24:23 was just one second behind the champion. Sathre came back as a senior and won the 2011 NCAA title and claimed his third All-America honor as he capped an unbeaten fall season.
The 2014 team finished third in the MIAC Championships and advanced to the NCAA Division III meet after receiving an at-large berth.
Wareham -- himself a former St. Thomas All-American distance runner -- fields a team of approximately 25 runners. Junior-varsity runners compete alongside varsity runners in many competitions. While competing nationally as an NCAA Division III school, St. Thomas also is involved in competitions with several top Division I and II institutions, including Marquette University, the University of Notre Dame and Boston College.