2013 Cross Country conference title returns to Stillwater

This is only the beginning of a hardware-hopeful championship season.

 The No. 3 Cowboys won its sixth-consecutive Big 12 Championship in Waco, Texas, on Saturday.

 Each of the Cowboys’ All-Americans placed in the top five. Redshirt junior Kirubel Erassa led the team with a second-place finish (22:53.9).  Shadrack Kipchirchir (22:54.3) took third and Tom Farrell (23:07.1) placed fifth.

 “We wanted to test ourselves the way we will at Nationals,” coach David Smith said.  “I thought the guys put together a great effort.”

 The Cowboys ran well across the board; four other runners placed in the top 20.  Brian Gohlke (23:36.2) finished in 11th-place, Shane Moskowitz (23:36.5) finished in 12th-place, Craig Nowak (23:41.8) finished in 16th-place and Chad Noelle (23:45.5) took 18th-place.

 The Cowboys beat second-place Iowa State by a staggering 44 points.

 Farrell said experience plays a key factor in this part of the year.

 “Experience is huge, especially in the NCAA Championships,” he said.  “The majority of us have been here before.  The younger guys, who aren’t as experienced, can set themselves on how we’re running. Nationals is a lot bigger and is where experience certainly comes in more.”

A conference championship is not just an accomplishment, it’s a point of reference.

 “It’s a massive momentum booster,” Farrell said.  “Coming off of a good race at Big 12s, being excited and motivated about it…and riding that wave is something that really does have an effect.  Having a positive experience at Big 12s only helps us at regionals.”

On the women’s side, Monika Juodeskaite led the Cowgirls again with her time of 20:29.9.  She finished third overall and helped her team to a third place finish as well.

Despite the team result, the Cowgirls had promising performances from freshman Kristin Helle (21:18.4), who placed 18th overall, and a 23rd-place finish in sophomore Kaela Edwards (21:30.6).

 The OSU cross country teams will continue their championship season at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet in Ames,Iowa, on Nov. 15.