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November 2, 2013

Oklahoma State men's cross country claims sixth straight Big 12 title

WACO, Texas — Led by a trio of top-five finishers, the Oklahoma State men’s cross country won its sixth consecutive Big 12 Championship in Waco, Texas, on Saturday.

Kirubel Erassa (2nd), Shadrack Kipchirchir (3rd) and Tom Farrell (5th) started fast, creating a small lead group in the first kilometer of the 8K race, and never looked back. Brian Gohlke (11th) and Shane Moskowitz (12th) rounded out the Cowboys’ team score of 33, which created a 44-point winning margin over second-place Iowa State.

“We wanted to come out hard,” OSU coach Dave Smith said. “We wanted to test ourselves the way we will at Nationals. It was a deceptively tough course, and I thought the guys put together a great effort. We kind of broke from our normal strategy. I wanted to see if we could struggle and recover, and they did what we told them to do.”

On the women’s side the Cowgirls finished third, led by Monika Juodeskaite who took third overall to lead the way. Kristine Helle also delivered a top-20 finish, taking 18th. With less than a kilometer remaining in the 6Krace, OSU was sitting in sixth place as a team. That’s when Kaela Edwards made her move. In the final 800 meters, she passed at least 20 competitors on her way to finishing 23rd, helping the Cowgirls jump from sixth to third in the team standings.

“Kaela is kind of new to distance running,” Smith said. “Her background is in sprints and middle distance. She’s starting to realize she can run cross country. When there was less than a kilometer to go, I told her it’s her time, and she took off. I think she single-handedly moved us from sixth to third. She is only going to get better. Kristine and Monika did a great job, too. This is Kristine’s first experience competing in the NCAA, and she’s learning how competitive and intense it can be.”

OSU cross country will be back in action at the NCAA Midwest Regional, on Nov. 15, in Ames, Iowa.

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