Cowboy Jamboree: 76 years and running

Cross Country

Kate Kujawa

The Oklahoma State cross country teams return from a two-week hiatus on Saturday as they host the 76th Cowboy Jamboree.

The Cowboy Jamboree, which is the oldest consecutive cross country race in the country, will be held at the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater.

The host Cowboys and Cowgirls highlight the university divisions, starting with the Women’s 5,000-meter race at 9:15 a.m., followed by the Men’s 8,000-meter race at 9:45 a.m.

The men’s and women’s teams seek their fourth-straight title at the meet. The Cowboys have won five of the last six years.

The No. 1 Cowboys return three of last year’s scoring-five and five top-10 finishers from a 76-point victory.

Shadrack Kipchirchir led the Cowboys, sprinting away with the individual championship (24:29.17).

Returning Cowboys who placed in the top ten are Joseph Manilafasha, Kirubel Erassa, Brian Gohlke, and Shane Moskowitz. Craig Nowak took fifth-place overall as while running unattached.

The No. 22 Cowgirls return four of last year’s scoring-five and six top-20 finishers where they won by 41 points.

Monika Juodeskaite led the Cowgirls with a third-place finish, an improved performance from her 22nd-place finish as a freshman. Kate Kujawa took sixth-place finishing outside the 18-minute mark.

“I can’t wait to race,” Juodeskaite said “I hope to do better than last year. I will do everything I can to be ahead.”

Despite both teams’ early success this season, coach Dave Smith has yet to run a full-strength team on either squad. That will change Saturday.

He said the top runners who haven’t raced are champing at the bit to finally take the start line.

“There is a different type of excitement when you run in a home race,” redshirt senior Tom Farrell said. “This is a measuring step for the rest of our season.”

There are 76 collegiate teams entered for this weekend. The Cowboys will face a competitive field including No. 2 Northern Colorado, No. 6 Tulsa, No. 29 Michigan, and unranked Kentucky and Furman.

“This year we have a much more competitive field,” Smith said. “It’s good to be tested early to see where you are.”

“Both teams have an equal chance of winning. We’re going to have to run well for where we are, but it’s an achievable goal.”