All signs of rust have disappeared as Oklahoma State cross-country prepares to conclude its regular season Saturday in College Station, Texas, at the Arturo Barrios Invitational.
Racing on the Dale Watts cross-country course will begin at 9 a.m. with the men’s 8K. The women’s 6K will follow shortly after at 9:45 a.m. Unlike the Nuttycombe Invitational, the Arturo Barrios will not feature B races.
The Cowboys and Cowgirls enter the meet as favorites against a smaller field of teams. The No. 24 OSU men are, along with No. 28 Middle Tennessee State, one of two nationally ranked squads competing. On the women’s side, No. 29 OSU stands as the only nationally ranked team.
Dave Smith, OSU’s coach, said this meet offers an opportunity for the Cowboys and Cowgirls to test themselves in preparation for the upcoming championship races.
“This is the last chance we have to experiment with race strategies and styles,” Smith said. “At Wisconsin, we were a little more conservative, and here we want to be more aggressive.”
The women’s side will return the same crew that placed 15th in Wisconsin, including Sinclaire Johnson, a sophomore, who is in the midst of an impressive season. Johnson won the Hurricane Invitational in early September and placed 15th at the Nuttycombe Invitational against some of the nation’s top collegiate runners.
The OSU men will feature several changes to their lineup. Ryan Smeeton and Luis Martinez, who finished second and third for the Cowboys in Wisconsin, will stay in Stillwater and rest during this meet. Isai Rodriguez, a sophomore, will make his Cowboy cross-country debut.
“The main newcomer we’re looking to see is Isai and see what he can do,” Smith said.