The conditions were immaculate and the runners sure made the most of that.
Seniors Sylvester Barus and Hassan Abdi finished first and second, respectively, for the No. 9 Cowboy cross country team (1-0), leading the team to its eighth consecutive victory in the Cowboy Jamboree on Saturday morning in Stillwater.
Barus defended his Jamboree title from last season, finishing in 24 minutes and 15.9 seconds in the men’s 8-kilometer race, shaving about 18 seconds off his time from 2016.
OSU had three more runners finish in the top 10 as Abdi finished in 24:22:1 to take second, Luis Martinez posted a 24:44:.9 to finish sixth and junior Christian Liddell finished tenth in 24:53.2.
Barus said keeping the streak alive at their home meet meant a lot to the Cowboys, who got out to a quick start.
“It’s really important because it’s our home meet, and winning for us is really important,” Barus said.
In the women’s 6k race, OSU’s Michelle Magnani finished 15th in 21:36.4, but the team fell to fourth place behind Mississippi, Penn State and Missouri.
Karissa Schweizer, the defending NCAA cross country champion from Missouri, blew away everyone as she finished in 19:56.5.
OSU coach Dave Smith, in charge of both the men’s and women’s teams, noted a lot of positive for the men’s team and its great start to the season.
Smith said the he was pleased with the organization of the meet, and more pleased with the performance of his men.
“You don’t want to practice not winning,” Smith said. “Sometimes in cross country it doesn’t matter until the end, the last race is the only one that matters because of the way our season is conducted.
“But I think you always want to practice competing and winning and running like every meet matters.”
OSU took home the win over No. 25 Mississippi 42-44, with the objective in cross country to have the lowest score based on the finishes of a team’s runners.
Smith said the home course might have played a part in the Cowboys’ narrow victory over the Rebels because of the familiarity.
“It’s a big home course advantage to know this course,” Smith said. “Ole Miss, maybe on a neutral course, they beat us. They ran a great race and we beat them by two points, but knowing this course the way we do is a big advantage.”
On the women’s side, the No. 22 Cowgirls finished with 111 points, while No. 16 Mississippi finished first with 44.
Magnani, ran as an unattached runner in the 2016 jamboree as a freshman, which means she preserved her redshirt for that race.
However, when she finished second, Smith pulled the redshirt and she went on to have a strong season.
Fast forward to Saturday, Magnani didn’t have as good of a race as she had hoped but was positive nonetheless.
“We finished a little bit farther back than we wanted, but we’re making good progress,” Magnani said.
The Penn State Open on Oct. 13 presents the next test for OSU before the Big 12 and NCAA championships.
Magnani said the Cowgirls didn’t put too much emphasis on this race, but said in the next few weeks they need to train harder.
“Our goal is obviously to get back to nationals again and be in that top 10,” Magnani said. “The team is cooperating really well and we’re growing and thriving together.”