Although the cross-country season is young, the Nuttycombe Invitational will offer a preview of the top schools in the nation.
Oklahoma State cross-country travels to Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday to compete against the best in the country at the 2018 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.
The first race of the day is the women’s “B” 6K, which begins at 11 a.m. Following this is the men’s “B” 8K at 11:40 a.m. The championship races are next with the women starting at 12:20 p.m and the men at 1 p.m. All races are held on the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.
On the men’s side. No. 22 Oklahoma State will race against 37 schools, including No. 1 Northern Arizona, No. 3 Portland and No. 5 Iowa State.
The No. 29 Cowgirls will compete against 40 schools, including No. 1 New Mexico, No. 2 Colorado and No. 5 Boise State.
Dave Smith, OSU’s coach, said he thinks this large race will benefit his athletes in preparation for nationals.
OSU cross-country usually hosts the Cowboy Jamboree at this point in the year against a smaller group of schools. The Nuttycombe Invitational will host a much larger field, which will test OSU early in the season.
“The Cowboy Jamboree is much like a conference meet,” Smith said. “This type of race (Nuttycombe Invitational) is more brute force running and is a very different style of racing, which is why we’re doing it.”
Kaylee Dodd, a senior runner, said that this race will serve as a great learning experience on what it feels like to run against a larger group. She recalled memories of nationals last year.
“A lot of us freaked out at how quickly the race went off, and we couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Dodd said.
Smith commented on how he is excited to see how the newcomers perform Friday. The men’s side will feature some new faces, including Jorge Perez, Ashenafi Hatte and Ayrton Fuentes.
Molly Born, a freshman, will have her race debut for the Cowgirls on Friday.