Oct. 24, 2012
By Michael Minshew - For redshirt freshman Brian Gohlke, cross country is focused on the team, not the individual.
Gohlke, an accounting major from The Woodlands, Texas, said in a race the team tries to run together whenever it can.
"The goal is to finish together as a team," Gohlke said. "It doesn't always work out but we try do that as best as we can."
In the three races this season, the nation's No. 1 men's cross country team has won each by finishing as a group at the top. In the Hurricane Invitational, the top seven were all from Oklahoma State. In the Cowboy Jamboree, all but three of the top 10 were comprised of Cowboy runners, and at the Chile Pepper Invitational, finishers two through six and 10-12 were from OSU.
Gohlke finished second, eighth and 11th, respectively.
Coach Dave Smith said he's seen Gohlke grow a lot in the short time he's been at OSU.
"Brian, like most guys on this team and like all who are successful in this sport, is an extremely hard-working guy," Smith said. "He is not afraid to get after it in training and has put down some big miles over the last 12 months. In that time, he has also become much more patient and has developed the ability to focus his attention on future rewards and avoid the frustration that can come in the near team for a distance runner."
Gohlke had an illustrious high school career, garnering all-district, all-region and all-state honors at College Park High School. He was also a two-time district champ and won a regional championship as well.
Gohlke received scholarship offers from OSU, Georgetown, Texas and Texas A&M, but when it came down to making a decision, he saw one thing stick out about OSU.
"You don't have a lot of other places that are a family like it is here," Gohlke said. "I loved the campus on the official visit, loved the coaches and the overall team chemistry. I thought this was the best school and the best chance for me to go pro after I graduate."
In the first race of the season, the Hurricane Invitational, Gohlke finished second, only one second behind the leader Taylor Monaghan, with a group of five other OSU runners. First and seventh were separated by two seconds.
"Nobody wanted to be the one to win it because we wanted to cross the finish line as a group," Gohlke said. "We just wanted to finish the race together with our guns up."
Another thing Gohlke said he likes about OSU is the strong presence of international students on campus. There are five international runners on the roster this season.
"We do the best we can to accommodate them but they know their stuff really well," Gohlke said. "We work well together and we use a lot of nonverbal communication to try to encourage each other so cultural barriers aren't really a big deal."
Gohlke said encouragement is key while training for long runs.
"I'll listen to music some but we usually make a lot of conversation if we are running together," Gohlke said. "It's mostly a lot of positive talk, building each other up and making sure we can stay positive.
"No matter how your day has been to that point, before practice we just try to start over and encourage each other to let that run be the only thing we have going on and just have fun with our teammates and forget whatever else is going on."
Although he sees it as a team sport, Gohlke has also placed personal goals for his first season running for OSU.
"My goals for this year are to race at the Big 12 Championships, race at the NCAA Regionals and then travel to the NCAA Championship," Gohlke said. "I have a great opportunity to meet these goals, especially coming out of being a redshirt last year and being able to continue progressing and taking it to the next level. I definitely think the goals I've set forth are really attainable."
Coach Smith said he's looks forward to what Gohlke will bring to the team during the postseason run.
"He has come a long way even since last May and has been one of the best surprises of the cross country season thus far," Smith said. "I am really excited to see how he responds to the challenge of contributing to our championship run." Gohlke and the rest of the cross country team travel to Austin, Texas to compete for their fifth-straight Big 12 title on Saturday.