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Cowgirl Indoor Track & Field Wins First Team Title in Program History

February 25, 2023

LUBBOCK, Texas – Oklahoma State women's track & field earned its first Big 12 track & field title in program history Saturday, crowning four Big 12 Champions on the weekend.

The Cowgirls finished the weekend with a program-best 146 points and were highlighted by four individual titles. The Cowgirls entered Saturday with 20.5-point lead and rode it to the end, ultimately defeating a field that included No. 1 Texas by 9.5 points overall.

Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Dave Smith said the journey to this year's championship started last year.

"It's just unbelievable, I'm still in a bit of shock," Smith said. "This is a dream we've had for a long time. I'm so proud of the way the women came together. We had a bunch of kids just running on fumes and giving it their all. Couldn't be happier for that group and couldn't be more impressed by the grit, toughness, determination and competitive fire in this group of women."

The Cowboys finished second place in the team scoring, coming back from a large deficit that kept them off the podium entering Saturday's events. It's OSU's highest position since the Cowboys won the indoor title in 2016, which was the only other time in OSU history that both men and women reached the podium in the same season.

"The guys went out and took care of business," Smith said. "We had a lot of guys that did a bunch of running to get this finish for us."

Billah Jepkirui, Fouad Messaoudi, Juan Diego Castro and Alex Maier were all crowned individual champions on Saturday, each of whom won their second respective individual Big 12 title of the weekend. OSU was the only school in the championship to place in the top two for both the men and women.

Maier and Taylor Roe swept the board for the High-Point Scorer Awards, becoming the first school since Iowa State in 2020 to sweep it. Maier and Roe scored 20 and 24 points, respectively, and collected three total individual titles on the weekend.

Jepkirui and Messaoudi started the day by sweeping the Mile races and becoming Big 12 Indoor champs for the second and third time in their careers, respectively. Jepkirui, Roe and Maddie Salek notched 24 of the 29 points for the Cowgirls in the event after taking the top three spots. Roe led for most of the race before Jepkirui had a burst of speed in the final 200 meters which propelled her to the finish line with a time of 4:37.64.

Messaoudi and Ryan Schoppe continued their dominance in the mile, running first and second the entire race. Messaoudi edged out Schoppe by one second to claim his first individual title of the weekend. Isaiah Priddey also contributed four points, with the race boosting the Cowboys with 22 points.

For the second time in as many days, Castro broke the Sports Performance Center's facility record in the men's 1,000 Meters, while recording OSU's program record in the process. Castro continued his dominant streak in conference competition, as he led the entire race and edged out Iowa State's Nehemia Too by a slim margin. Castro and Alex Stitt combined for 16 points in the event and boosted OSU into second place after 13 events.

Maier went undefeated in the weekend's events, winning Friday's 5,000 Meters race and Saturday's 3,000 Meters. The last 1K was all Maier, as he gradually pulled away from the competition to seal his fifth indoor conference title in two years. Maier, Rory Leonard and Messaoudi went in order at the top to give the Cowboys 24 points and kept them in the top three.

Roe, Jepkirui and Gabby Hentemann mathematically clinched the victory for OSU after their performance in the 3,000 Meters race, racking 13 points to cement themselves over Texas with one event remaining.

The men's 4x400 Relay team broke OSU's 52-year-old record with their 3:07.37 time. Charlie Bartholomew and EJ Berry had the Cowboys in a solid position at the end of their respective legs and in second going into the final half of the race. DJ McArthur snuck past Kansas' Jameir Colbert in the final turn of his leg to give OSU the lead in their heat, which Cash Merutka brought home.

"This is a group that doesn't have an indoor facility, doesn't have an indoor track, doesn't have any home meets, and they don't let that stop them," Smith said. "They don't let it be an excuse not to succeed. They come in here and give their best."

Gabija Galvydyte finished second in a nail-biting women's 800 Meters, finishing in 2:05.11. Galvydyte and Salek combined for another 11 points, which gave the Cowgirls a 30-point lead over Texas with five events remaining. Tamara Woodley, Tori Ortiz and Jinah Mickens-Malik carved out eight gritty points in the women's 600 Yards, while Sivan Auerbach tacked on six more points in the women's 1,000 Meters.

The men's 600 Yards tacked on eight points for the Cowboys with DJ McArthur's 1:08.98 time moving him into third place in OSU history.

In the jumping area, Saara Hakanen and Bailey Golden carved out 11 vital points in the High Jump with both completing a 1.76-meter leap. Golden broke the tie with Emily Rogers and moved into sole possession of third place in OSU history. Golden was also competing in her seventh event of the weekend after placing second in both the Pentathlon and Long Jump Friday.

"Our assistant coaches were phenomenal," Smith said. "Josh Langley was incredible with his group. Zivile Pukstas getting Saara back together after a tough day in the Triple Jump and Long Jump, to come back and score in the High Jump, and score well… And Giles McDonnell getting us key points in the sprints events… Not to mention Anna Thorp and Justin Duncan getting our kids ready for multiple events… Just really impressed with the assistant coaches."

OSU ends the tournament with nine individual titles earned and sweeps in three events (Friday's Distance Medley Relays, 5,000 Meters and Saturday's Miles). Seven Cowboys and Cowgirls leave Lubbock with their first Big 12 Indoor title.

OSU will now have a bye week before taking on the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. March 10-11.

Big 12 Indoor Championships

Women's Team Standings
1. Oklahoma State — 146
2. Texas — 136.5
3. Oklahoma — 99.5
4. Texas Tech — 93.5
5. Iowa State — 59
6. Baylor — 57
7. Kansas — 54.5
8. Kansas State — 38
9. West Virginia — 37
10. TCU — 20

Men's Team Standings
1. Texas Tech — 159
2. Oklahoma State — 111
3. Texas — 105
4. Kansas — 96
5. Iowa State — 76
6. Oklahoma — 75
7. Baylor — 60
8. Kansas State — 29
9. TCU — 27

Men's Individual Results

1. Fouad Messaoudi — 3:57.27
2. Ryan Schoppe — 3:58.47
5. Isaiah Priddey — 4:02.46

600 Yards
4. DeJuana McArthur — 1:08.98
6. Elijah Berry — 1:10.11

1,000 Meters
1. Juan Diego Castro — 2:20.29
3. Alex Stitt — 2:21.34

800 Meters
3. Mehdi Yanouri — 1:49.54

3,000 Meters
1. Alex Maier — 8:04.77
2. Rory Leonard — 8:09.49
3. Fouad Messaoudi — 8:09.87
11. Christopher Middleton-Pearson — 8:17.81
15. Ryan Schoppe — 8:23.35
16. Will Muirhead — 8:23.43
18. Alex Stitt — 8:26.68
24. Isaiah Priddey — 8:35.16

4x400 Relay
3. Charlie Bartholomew, Elijah Berry, DeJuana McArthur, Cash Merutka — 3:07.37\

Women's Individual Results

Shot Put
14. Hannah Bradford — 13.94m/45'9"

Triple Jump
9. Saara Hakanen — 12.38m/40'7.50"

1. Billah Jepkirui — 4:37.64
2. Taylor Roe — 4:39.53
3. Maddie Salek — 4:45.41
6. Sivan Auerbach — 4:47.30
7. Krystal Rodriguez — 4:47.91

600 Yards
5. Tamara Woodley — 1:20.61
6. Tori Ortiz — 1:20.63
7. Jinah Mickens-Malik — 1:22.71

1,000 Meters
3. Sivan Auerbach — 2:47.26

High Jump
3. Saara Hakanen — 1.76m/5'9.25"
4. Bailey Golden — 1.76m/5'9.25"
11. Maddie Meiner — 1.67m/5'5.75"

800 Meters
2. Gabija Galvydyte — 2:05.11
6. Maddie Salek — 2:09.01

3,000 Meters
3. Taylor Roe — 9:22.84
5. Billah Jepkirui — 9:31.26
8. Gabby Hentemann — 9:37.59
12. Molly Born — 9:42.58
15. Cameron McConnell — 9:50.57
18. Payton Hinkle — 9:53.79
20. Heidi Demeo — 9:54.55
29. Emily Carter — 10:08.82
31. Kaylie Politza — 10:09.75

4x400 Relay
8. Tori Ortiz, Tamara Woodley, Gabija Galvydyte, Ansley Scott — 3:39.27

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Cowgirl Indoor Track & Field Wins First Team Title in Program History

505 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 23 days ago by TUSKAPOKE
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I don't know how much Coach Smith makes, but that man deserves a big raise.

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