Nov. 19, 2012
After the Oklahoma State men's cross country team brought home its third national title in four years and the 51st overall national championship in OSU history, we talked to All-American Tom Farrell about the experience and what the victory means to the team.
On his strategy and mindset during the race:
"It was pretty normal. We had a pretty conservative group. Our main aim for each of us was the team win. We all had our instructions from Dave [Smith] and Girma [Mecheso] slightly went off plan, but it went fine. He had run pretty conservatively all year, so when he went to the front like that, I was confident, knowing that he must be feeling good. I followed Shadrack [Kipchirchir] the whole race, and it was really comforting having him there. I kept glancing back and I saw Joe [Manilafasha] and bright orange jerseys that I could see really well. Knowing that your teammates who you have run with all year are there and knowing that it's such a big race was great. It's comforting. After about 6K, we were running great. Come 8K, Dave said the sweep was possible to me, meaning it was over and to hold our positions. Shadrack and I didn't have to stress about catching people. We had enough of a cushion to get to the finish line and we knew there wasn't much more we could do. In theory, there was one guy ahead of me who I could have caught that would have gotten us one more team point, but it didn't make much difference in the end. That last 2K was sweet. As much as it hurts, it was nice knowing we would take the championship back to Stillwater."
On the feeling of winning:
"It's pretty awesome. Two years ago when we won, I crossed the line as our fourth guy. German [Fernandez], Colby [Lowe] and Girma were already standing there. When I crossed the line on Saturday, I had to wait for a bit. All the officials were trying to get me out of the way while I stood there looking for Shane [Moskowitz]. As soon as I saw him coming, I knew it was pretty much over. As I crossed the line, I caught, the athletic trainer, Joel's [Ludke] eye and said, `Yes!' They may have been slightly overconfident, but we didn't know the scoreboard was giving updates throughout the race. It was pretty clear that something really bad would have had to happen to lose. It's emotional, happy and exciting. Everything comes together at one time. There's emotion being thrown around and people screaming at each other. To know all your hard work over the past three or four months has come together and paid off is indescribable, really."
On having a much better performance at nationals this year than last year:
"Like I said, we went with a pretty conservative race plan. I thought a good race for me would have been top 20, knowing that I got injured this summer and I hadn't had the greatest runs this year. We took it easy at Regionals, so I knew I was fit, but I didn't really know what to expect. The Nationals are such a crazy race. I could have finished anywhere from seventh to 20th and it still would have been a good race. Anything inside of 20 would have been a great day. I hadn't really thought about breaking the top ten. Once we got out in the race, I kept hearing people shouting at people and shouting at me saying, `You're in tenth or 11th,' and the last K, I kind of lost count. It was crazy to be that high up. Testament to Dave, he had confidence with me throughout the whole season and said I would have a great race at Nationals. Until Big 12's, I was weary about believing it. Not because I didn't trust him, but because I hadn't seen progress in my runs or workouts. I still don't really know how I finished ninth, fitness-wise, but I felt great on Saturday. It was a great end to the season for me."
On winning the title after having a disappointing season last year:
"It was really tough last year. We did put a lot of work in and we wanted it really bad. The guys coming in this year were almost a different breed of athletes. We weren't a huge, well-known talent with names or superstars, but through good training and good belief of our coach and the system here, we had a group of guys who were more focused than I've ever experienced. They wanted it badly and really came together for four months. We were all on the same page, and at the end of the year, we had seven or eight guys who could have all run on Saturday. To bring that championship back to Stillwater, it means a huge deal to me. There's only one thing for me in cross country, and that's the team. I don't really care about individual performance. I'll do whatever it takes for the team to do well. I know all the guys worked extremely hard. We've been focused on this for months. We were very disappointed last year knowing that we let it slip away. It was good that we were able to prove that we weren't just a blip on the radar with some talented guys on the team. It proves that we have the coach and the setup that should put us on the podium for the next few years to come."
On earning All-America honors:
"It means a lot. It meant so much. It's such a huge honor. It's my third time with cross country. You can take that anywhere in the world. With the range of international athletes in the collegiate system here, they know what the extent of that is. I'm proud to represent Oklahoma State and to be an All-American for them again."