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OSU cross-country team heads to Penn State

Josh Thompson

Josh Thompson and the OSU cross country team head to Penn State on Friday.

Oklahoma State has its final tune up.

It’s the last chance for OSU cross-country to compete before championship season.

The Cowboys and Cowgirls are headed across the country to University Park, Pennsylvania, to compete at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Penn State Invitational.

Last time out, OSU hosted the Cowboy Jamboree.

The Cowboys won their seventh straight Jamboree, and the Cowgirls finished as runners-up.

Sylvester Barus won the men’s division, and Josh Thompson, Christian Liddell and Luis Martinez finished in the top 10.

Coach Dave Smith wanted to narrow the one-to-five gap after Barus dominated.

“In practice, I guess, we’ve changed up the groups a little bit,” Thompson said. “We’ve kept a controlled effort. In our workouts we try to focus on staying together as a group.”

Savannah Camacho was the Cowgirls’ best finisher, finishing eighth. Aurora Dybedokken came in 10th, and Molly Sughroue and Anna Boyert placed 12th and 13th.

Michelle Magnani, the race’s runner-up, ran unattached, but she will represent OSU at Penn State.

The Cowgirls remain without Kaela Edwards, and the Cowboys still don’t have Cerake Geberkidane.

However, the Cowboys added a key piece.

Hassan Abdi makes his season debut Friday and figures to score for the Cowboys.

“He trains with everyone, so I don’t think it’ll affect us that much,” Thompson said. “He trains with a good group. He’s going to help us a lot.”

The cold weather also presents a problem of OSU. To this point, OSU has yet to run in temperatures lower than 65 degrees. It is forecasted to be about 48 degrees Friday at race time.

“Typically, the colder weather makes you feel better when you’re running,” Smith said. “It’s better to run in the cold than it is in the hot. We won’t do much to change. We’ve been practicing at 6 a.m. anyway.”

Barus said he doesn’t like running in the heat because he is tiny, and he loses a lot of heat.

Smith said it is a challenge to eliminate body heat.

With championship season around the corner, OSU is treating this meet as a final tune up before the Big 12 Cross Country Championships on Oct. 29.

“I want to see us compete well,” Smith said. “Now it’s time to start to turn the screws down a little bit. It’s getting a little more intense. I hope that we have championship-level effort when we race up there at Penn State.”

sports@ocolly.com