The Oklahoma State men's cross country team won its third national championship in four years Saturday in Louisville, Ky.
The Cowboys earned 72 points, beating Wisconsin by 63 points to claim the school's 51st NCAA team title in all sports.
Girma Mecheso led the Pokes, finishing in fifth place with a time of 29:14.8. It was his best finish ever at the national championships.
“I'm really proud of the way the guys ran,” said OSU coach Dave Smith. “I'm thrilled with the way they responded and bounced back from last year. We were second last year and were dejected and left with our heads down. We could have folded up camp and crumbled and not have been a trophy team this year.”
Also running his best time of the season, Tom Farrell finished in ninth place with 9:26.3. Shadrack Kipchirchir (29:43.0) and Joseph Manilfasha (29:48.8) rounded out the top-25 by finishing in 18th and 24th place, respectively.
“It went the way we planned,” said Kipchirchir. “Dave told us to run together and we did. We stood our ground and we finished well. It was amazing.”
By finishing in the top 40, Mecheso, Farrell, Kipchirchir and Manilfasha all earned All-American honors. This is the third time for both Mecheso and Farrell and the first time for Kipchirchir and Manilafasha to be named an All-American.
Shane Moskowitz (30:22.6), running in his first national championship race, Kirubel Erassa (30:44.8) and Fabian Clarkson (31:15.2) all added to the team score by finishing 53rd, 102nd and 164th places.
For the eighth-straight year, the Cowboys placed in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships.
“The guys really responded to the challenge of rebuilding the team,” said Smith. “We had some young guys that really came through and some guys with experience who ran the best races they've ever run. We had five guys run their best at nationals and that's hard to do. I'm just thrilled. They worked hard. They earned it.”
2012 NCAA CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Men's Team Results – Top 5
1. Oklahoma State - 72
2. Wisconsin -135
3. Colorado - 158
4. Northern Arizona - 191
5. Florida State - 238