Cross Country Looks to Win Third-straight NCAA Championship




Nov. 16, 2011

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STILLWATER, Okla. – The second-ranked Oklahoma State men’s cross country looks to claim its third-straight national title when it travels to Terre Haute, Ind., to compete at the NCAA Championships on Monday, Nov. 21.

The event is held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course on the Indiana State campus. The action will get underway at 11:08 a.m. with the running of the men’s 10,000-meter race. The women will follow at 11:58 a.m. with the 6,000-meter race.

Seven athletes will compete for each team during the event, but the lineup will not be chosen until race day. The most likely candidates for the men, based on participation from the Midwest Regional include 2010 Cowboy All-Americans Colby Lowe, German Fernandez, Tom Farrell and Johnathan Stublaski, as well as Shadrack Kipchirchir, who earned All-America recognition as a freshman at Western Kentucky last season.

Sophomore Joseph Manilafasha, redshirt freshman Kirubel Erassa and freshman Fabian Clarkson are also likely candidates to run for the Cowboys.

Coach Dave Smith is confident with the experience his runners have gained at the NCAA Championships in the past.

“They’ve run in big races before; they’ve run under pressure before,” Smith said. “We’ve run under pressure situations and failed; we’ve run under pressure situations and succeeded. So I think they know what to expect, they know how it goes.

“Really, at this point, we don’t say much. We just let those guys do what they know how to do.”

The No. 22 women’s squad has qualified to compete as a team at the NCAA Championships in consecutive seasons for just the second time in school history. Last season, the Cowgirls finished in 17th place at the event.

The Cowgirls feature sophomore Natalja Piliusina, who has been OSU’s top finisher in all four races she’s competed in this season. She was also the Cowgirls top finisher at the NCAA Championships a season ago.

Other likely competitors will be seniors Teran Mixon and Victoria Fratczak, junior Jackie Campos, sophomores Caileigh Glenn, Kate Kujawa and Natanya Luther and freshman Monika Juodeskaite.

Without the pressure of defending a national championship, Smith said the women should be free to perform their best without stress.

“That’s a great way to run, when you can sit back and be the hunter and not feel the weight of expectation on your shoulders,” Smith said. “No one’s watching us. We’re kind of gunning for everybody else. We’re ranked 22nd in the nation right now, and I think we’re better than that.”

The race can be viewed free of charge via webcast at NCAA.com.


 

 

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