Oklahoma State men’s cross country has been named the No.1 team in the nation, according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason poll.
This ranking comes one day after the Cowboys earned the No. 1 preseason ranking in the Midwest Region.
Being on top of the men’s cross country rankings is nothing new for OSU, as the defending champion and winners of three of the past four NCAA titles. The Cowboys earned 10 of the 12 first-place votes in the poll.
The Cowboys return four scorers from their title-winning squad a year ago, three of whom are now seniors who finished in the top 25 as individuals. Tom Farrell finished ninth overall in 2012, while teammates Shadrack Kipchirchir and Joseph Manilafasha finished 18th and 24th, respectively. Shane Moskowitz, who finished 53rd last year, also returns.
“It’s always great to earn recognition,” OSU coach Dave Smith said. “However, this is just a preseason ranking. They don’t award trophies for preseason rankings. We have to go out there and back it up. We’re excited to get started.”
On the women’s side, the Cowgirls will begin the season with the nation’s No. 21 ranking. OSU is the highest-ranked squad from the Big 12, and No. 2 in the Midwest Region. Returners Monika Juodeskaite and Natalja Piliusina, who each finished in the top 50 at last year’s NCAA Championships, will lead the way for the Cowgirls.
The OSU cross country season begins this Saturday, Aug. 31, with the Tulsa Duels, in Tulsa, Okla.
2013 USTFCCCA Preseason Men’s Cross Country Rankings
1 Oklahoma State (10)
2 Northern Arizona (2)
11 Eastern Kentucky
19 New Mexico
21 Florida State
22 Notre Dame
25 NC State
2013 USTFCCCA Preseason Women’s Cross Country Rankings