May 11, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Oklahoma State track and field program had an impressive start to the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by Kansas State, as four athletes placed in the top eight to earn team points, including a Big 12 title from Nick Miller in the hammer throw.
Miller continued his amazing freshman season with a conference championship in the hammer throw after recording an effort of 216 feet, six inches. It marks the fifth-straight outing Miller has placed first, and his first-place finish gave the Cowboys 10 team points.
He is the first Cowboy athlete to win an outdoor conference title in the hammer throw since Wallace Thornberry in 1901.
“The guy is just rock solid when it comes to big competitions,” coach Dave Smith Said. “The bigger the competition, the better he is. He’s just one of those guys that likes high-level meets: the more pressure there is, the more he shines.”
Two other Cowboys scored in the first day of action, as Shadrack Kipchirchir and Girma Mecheso each placed in the top five in the 10,000 meters. Kipchirchir placed second after recording a 29:32.99, which gave OSU eight team points. He ran a neck-and-neck race with George Alex from Oklahoma, but finished just .38 seconds behind Alex.
“It was an extremely dramatic finish, but unfortunately, he came out on the second end of it,” Smith said. “I’m still really proud of him. He qualified for the regional championships with that mark.
“It was a gutsy race. I’m really proud of the way he ran. The kid from OU is really good, so it was two of the best guys in the country going head-to-head, battling back and forth.”
Mecheso placed fifth after running a 29.39.91, despite having run the 10,000 meters just 10 days ago at the Payton Jordan Invitational, in which he set the OSU school record and a top 10 national mark. His fifth place finish gave the Cowboys four team points.
“Girma had a good race, but I think he’s disappointed in himself,” Smith said. “I think he went into that race thinking he was going to win. The problem is he ran an incredibly hard 10K 10 days ago. It’s really hard on your body to come back from a hard 10K in 10 days.”
For the women, sophomore Caitlin Way recorded an impressive throw of 183 feet, seven inches in the hammer throw to place sixth. Her sixth-place finish gave the Cowgirls three team points. She was able to come back after fouls on her first two throws to deliver the second-best throw of her career on her third attempt.
“I’m really happy for Caitlin,” Smith said. “She broke into the all-Big 12 range and did a really great job. Going into that third throw with a lot of pressure, she had the second-best throw of her career, and that’s a tough way to do it”
The Cowboys currently stand in second place in the team standings with 22 points. OSU will continue competition at the Big 12 Championships tomorrow, starting at 2 p.m. with the women’s long jump and shot put.
Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Women’s Hammer Throw