OSU Cross Country Set for Chile Pepper Festival

STILLWATER, Okla. – The Oklahoma State cross country program returns to action Saturday, as the men’s and women’s teams travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Chile Pepper Festival.

The annual event, in its 22nd year, features many of the top collegiate teams from around the country, with this year’s edition hosting about 4,000 athletes.

The collegiate portion of the day will begin at 9:45 a.m. with the men’s 10,000-meter race, while the women’s 5,000-meter race is scheduled to follow at 10:30 a.m. All races will be held at the University of Arkansas Cross Country Course.

OSU Lineups

Nearly all of Oklahoma State’s men and women are registered to run Saturday, including several key men’s athletes from last year’s national championship team.

On the men’s side, Jeff Arnier, Tom Farrell, German Fernandez, Sean Fleming, Colby Lowe, Joseph Manilafasha, Matthew McElroy, Girma Mecheso, Taylor Monaghan, Ryan Prentice, Klaus Schmidt and Johnathan Stublaski are registered to run.

For the women’s squad, Brandi Andrews, Jori Davis, Jenny Dyer, Victoria Fratczak, Melanie Funke, Caileigh Glenn, Ruthanne Hadjis, Victoria Hanna, Laura Heaton, Kate Kujawa, Felicity Milton, Teran Mixon, Natalja Piluisina, Aven Sanders and Mihaela Susa are set to compete.

Last Time Out

The Oklahoma State cross country program turned in one its most dominant performances in the 74-year history of the Cowboy Jamboree Saturday, claiming the first-place individual and first-place team finish in both the men’s and women’s university divisions.

Cowgirl senior Mihaela Susa was the top women’s finisher in the event, running the 6,000-meter race with a time of 21:10.53. She was one of five Cowgirls to finish in the top 10.

On the men’s side, OSU junior Girma Mecheso anchored the Cowboys’ meet championship, winning the individual title by more than 20 seconds. He was one of five Cowboys in the top 10.

2009 in Review

The 2009 season was perhaps the best season in the history of Oklahoma State cross country for the men’s team. The Cowboys captured their second Big 12 Championship in two years, and added their second NCAA Championship, their first since 1954. Senior Ryan Vail won the individual Big 12 championship and was joined in the top four by three of his teammates. OSU went on to win its fifth NCAA Regional Championship before winning the NCAA Championships.

The Cowgirls were led all season by star runner Mihaela Susa who narrowly missed out on notching her third straight All-Big 12 honor. Susa showed up strong at regionals to win her third straight All-Region honor and an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.

OSU in the Polls

The USTFCCCA rankings have listed the Oklahoma State men’s cross country team at the No. 2 spot in each 2010 poll. This week the Cowboys sit only eight points behind top-ranked Stanford. The men have also been the No. 1-ranked Midwest region squad in each poll this year.

The Cowgirls began the year unranked, but have climbed to No. 28 in the latest poll after impressive performances in their first two meets. They are No. 3 in the Midwest Region.

Updated 10-15-2010

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