Oklahoma State track and field head coach Dave Smith joins Casey Kendrick on the OSU Spring Sports Roundup to talk about the achievements of the Cowgirl Track program in 2012 and Natalja Piliusina's Olympic aspirations. Piliusina has already earned the Olympic "B" standard, which could allow her to represent Lithuania in the 1,500 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Coach Smith also talks about Cowgirl Basketball player Toni Young joining the Cowgirl Track & Field program, and making an immediate impact nationally in the high jump.
Honors and Awards 2010 Cross Country All-Midwest Region 2010 USTFCCCA All-Academic Team (Cross Country) 2011 Cross Country All-Midwest Region 2011 Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 (Cross Country) 2012 USTFCCCA All-Academic Team (Track and Field) 2012 First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (Track and Field)
2013 Outdoors: Won the NCAA Championship in the 1,500 meters, with a time of 4:13.25. She was in eighth place entering the final turn. She became the second OSU female to win an individual outdoor NCAA championship ... Two days before that, she was the top qualifier in the semifinals winning her heat in 4:13.73 ...Ran the top 1,500 meter time in the NCAA, a 4:09.57 at the Payton Jordan Invite. That mark was just .06 off her personal best and school record. She ran the 800 meters twice, finishing under 2:04 both times. First, a 2:03.80 at the Mt. SAC Relays, then a 2:03.99 to claim her sixth-straight Big 12 800 meter title ... Was the top qualifier out of the NCAA West Region, clocking a 4:13.73 in the 1,500 meters in Austin.
2013 Indoors: Earned first team All-America honors after taking fifth place in the 800 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships ... Won her fifth-straight Big 12 800 meter title (third indoors) ... Was a part of the distance medley relay squad that finished second at the Big 12 Championships and fifth at the Alex Wilson Invitational ... Broke two more school records--the 1,000 meters, when she finished in 2:46.55 at the Arkansas-OSU Dual, and the mile, where she clocked a 4:32.36 in Seattle at the Husky Classic.
2012 Outdoors: Earned second-team All-America honors after placing 10th in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Championships ... Advanced to the final race after winning her heat in the semifinal race with a time of 4:12.55 ... Entered the NCAA Championships as the national leader in the 1,500 meters with a personal-best and school-record 4:09.51 that she ran at the Payton Jordan Invitational ... Won her heat in the preliminary 1,500 meter race at the West Regional after beating - among others - No. 2-ranked Katie Flood of Washington ... Piliusina's 4:09.51 was the seventh-fastest mark in the world at the time she ran it ... Not only did that mark lead the NCAA during the regular season, but it was more than two seconds faster than the second-best time and it set a new standard at OSU by more than three seconds ... Placed eighth in the 800 meters at the European Championships with a 2:06.59 ... Won her second-straight Big 12 outdoor title in the 800 meters (to match her two consecutive Big 12 indoor 800 meter crowns) ... Ranked 11th nationally and second in the Midwest Region in the 800 meters with a 2:04.01 that she clocked at the Stanford Invitational.
2012 Indoors: Notched a runner-up finish in the 800 meters at the NCAA Championships after clocking a 2:04.48 to earn first-team All-America recognition ... Won her second-straight 800 meter title at the Big 12 Championships, posting a time of 2:07.43 ... Also helped the distance medley relay team come from behind to win its second consecutive Big 12 Championship, as the team set the third-best DMR time in OSU history with an 11:19.24 ... Hit a new personal best in the 800 meters with a school-record 2:03.46 at the Alex Wilson Invitational ... That time led the nation during the regular season ... Ran an 4:46.84 in the mile to place seventh at the Razorback Invitational.
2011 Cross Country: Was the Cowgirls top finisher in all five events in which she competed ... Placed fourth at the conference meet to earn All-Big 12 honors after finishing the 6,000 meters in a school-record 19:45.9 ... Earned all-region recognition after coming in ninth at the Midwest Regional, completing the 6,000-meter race in 21:15.45 ... Led the Cowgirls with an 83rd place finish at the NCAA Championships, posting a time of 20:53.3 ... Finished fourth at the Cowboy Jamboree, clocking a 17:26.64, the 14th-best 5,000 meter time in OSU history ... Completed the 6,000 meters at the Chile Pepper Festival in 20:33.3 on her way to a 10th-place finish.
2011 Outdoors: NCAA runner-up in the 800 meters with a time of 2:02.16 at the NCAA Championships ... Set the school record earlier in the season with a 2:03.91 at the Payton Jordan Invitational ... Piliusina's 2:03.91 was the fastest regular-season time in the Big 12 by more than a full second before she went on to improve it at NCAAs ... Won the Big 12 800 meter title with a time of 2:05.75 ... Finished 12th in the 800 meters of the quarterfinal round of the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds with a time of 2:06.70 to advance to the NCAA Championships ... Ran the 800 meters in 2:05.84 at the John McDonnell Invitational ... Logged a 1,500 meter time of 4:20.63 at the Mt. SAC Relays for a mark that ranks fourth on the all-time Oklahoma State outdoor list.
2011 Indoors: Secured the first All-America honor of her career running as part of the Oklahoma State distance medley relay squad that placed fifth at the NCAA Championships with a school-record time of 11:04.59 ... A two-time Big 12 champion as a true freshman, winning the 800 meters in 2:08.47 and competing as part of the distance medley relay squad that won the conference title in 11:09.67 ... Set a season best when she ran the 800 meters in 2:05.86 at the Razorback Invitational ... Just missed out on earning a spot in the NCAA finals in the mile when she placed 11th at the NCAA prelims in 4:40.97 ... Best mile time of the season was a 4:39.39 at the Husky Classic, a mark that ranks third on the all-time Oklahoma State indoor list and ranked her No. 12 on the 2011 NCAA indoor list during the regular season.
2010 Cross Country: A very strong performer for the Cowgirls as a true freshman ... Member of the USTFCCCA all-academic team ... Earned all-region status by placing 16th at the 6,000 meter NCAA Midwest Regional in 20:35.51 ... Just missed out on all-Big 12 accolades by placing 16th at the 6,000 meter conference meet in 20:57.06 ... Was the first Cowgirl to cross the finish line at the NCAA Championships, placing 49th in 20:59 to lift OSU to a 17th-place finish at the meet, its best team finish since 2005 ... Fifth-place finisher at the 6,000 meter Cowboy Jamboree in 21:35.55 to help lead the Pokes to the team title at the meet ... Also helped lead the Cowgirls to the team championship at the 5,000 meter Chile Pepper Festival by placing 11th in 17:43.10.
Prior to OSU: Attended Azuolynas Gymnasium in Klaipeda, Lithuania ... Coached by Romas and Jolanta Berzinskai ... Lithuanian junior record holder in the 1,500 meters ... Won national titles at several different age groups ... Took fifth at the 2009 European under-20 championships in Novi Sad, Serbia ... Placed seventh in the 800 meters at the 2007 World Youth Championships and was eighth in the 800 meters at the World Youth Championships in 2008.
Personal: Natalja Piliusina was born October 22, 1990 in Klaipeda, Lithuania ... Daughter of Daiva and Aleksandr Piliusina.