STILLWATER, Okla., Sporting Alert – The Oklahoma State men’s cross country team goes in search of its eighth successive Big 12 Championship this weekend in Stillwater.
The Cowboys, who have dominated the Big 12 Championship since 2008, will be hosting the event for the third time, but for the first time since 2010.
At the 2014 championship, outgoing senior Kirubel Erassa led Oklahoma State to victory with a first finish in the men’s individual 8,000m.
This season, rising star Cerake Geberkidane, who has been the lead runner for Dave Smith’s program, will hope to do the same thing again for the No. 6 nationally ranked team.
As usual, Smith has raced his men sparingly this term, but Geberkidane has won three individual titles from three events and head in this weekend’s championship as one of the front-runners to land the 8k ground on his home course.
The likes of Vegard Oelstad, Chad Noelle, Josh Thompson, Brian Gohlke and Anthoney Armstrong all raced well the last time out at the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, and should be very good support again for Geberkidane, who won in Alabama and was also successful at the 2015 Cowboy Jamboree on this course in September.
Meanwhile, on the women’s side, defending champion Iowa State will go in search of their fifth consecutive Big 12 cross country championship crown.
The No. 8-ranked Cyclones have controlled this event since lifting the crown in 2011 and will start favourites to continue its tradition.
Last time out, Iowa State finished seventh at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on October 16 in what turned out to be the most competitive regular season event this campaign.
Perez Rotich and Erin Hooker, who finished in the top 15 at last year’s Big 12 championship, led the way for the Cyclones in Wisconsin, and the pair are expected to do the same again in Stillwater.
No. 23 Oklahoma State will be looking for some joy on their home course.
The Cowgirls are ranked No. 2 in the conference behind Iowa State, while West Virginia, which finished second last year, will be trying to hit form again after a poor performance when they last competed
The then-No. 20 ranked Mountaineers finished 27th in the team score in Madison.
On the individual side, Maggie Montoya, a junior at Baylor, will be hoping to land the women’s crown after finishing seventh last season.
Montoya produced a very strong finish on her way to running a new personal best of 19:56 when finishing 11th at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
The Bears star defeated some very strong runners, including both Rotich and Hooker of Iowa State.
Big 12 Championship Meet Information
Men 8k 10 AM CT
Women 6k 11 AM CT Results