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OSU Women's Indoor Track and Field Had Great Timing with Facilities Announcement

February 27, 2023

STILLWATER – Saturday in Lubbock, Texas the Cowgirls timing was impeccable as Billah Jepkirui came on in the kick to pass by Oklahoma State women’s track superstar Taylor Roe, who had led most of the race, as she took first in the women’s mile at the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships. Jepkirui stopped the clock at 4:37.64 with Roe at 4:39.53 and another Cowgirls third with Maddie Salek at 4:45.41. That timing was good, but pulling that off and winning the Big 12 Championship for the women in a complete surprise was great timing with the announcement of a string of new facilities on the board conceptionally at Oklahoma State. Those facilities include an indoor track. Something the indoor track and field champs don’t have.

Oklahoma State Athletics
Oklahoma State men and women celebrate an awesome weekend in the Big 12 Indoor Track Championships.

“We went one, two and three,” head coach Dave Smith said. Smith is actually assistant athletic director for all track and field and cross country. “Taylor Roe got outkicked. She did all the work and got outkicked by our freshman Billie Jepkirui. I was excited for Billie and heartbroken for Taylor, because like you mentioned she is a superstar. She was a workhorse this weekend. It is hard for an athlete to put themselves in a position where they know they might not win because they are competing on tired legs.”

Smith was referring to Roe coming back and running in the 3,000-meters against two of the best in the country, but Smith knew his women would need the points in order to upset and win the title.

“Bless her heart, Taylor said, ‘I’ll do it,’” Smith said.

Roe finished third behind the top two runners (Ceili McCabe of WVU and Cailie Logue of Iowa State) but the Cowgirls finished 9.5 points ahead of top-ranked Texas to win the Big 12.

Texas Tech University
Oklahoma State would put a track like Texas Tech built to good use.

That’s right! The school that doesn’t have an indoor track won the championship. The men won the Big 12 Indoor in 2014. Unbelievable that a school wins the indoor track and field championships and they don’t even have an indoor track. Oklahoma State has Ariadni Adamopoulou win the pole vault with a vault of 4.19m/13'9" and she used to use the East lobby of Gallagher-Iba Arena for her practice.

“We haven’t had a home competition in track here in 30-years,” Smith said. “None of these athletes have ever been able to run in front of their home crowd. We were there watching Texas Tech beat Texas (men’s) and their community getting out there and supporting them. They had football players running, so the football team came out and supported their athletes.”

Oklahoma State’s outdoor track facility has no stands, no restrooms, and is really just a good workput track, but this could be more, so much more. if they go all the way with it.

Oklahoma State Athletics
This is the rendering for the indoor track at Oklahoma State on the northwest corner of Knoblock and McElroy.

“There are two ways of looking at things,” Smith said of the future building. “You can cut corners and get it built faster or you can do it right, take a little longer, and raise more money. I want a facility so badly. I’ve wanted this for 20-years. I just think this would make us nationally competitive to have this, an outdoor track, and help are cross country team.”

Oklahoma State has the best cross country course in the Greiner Family Cross Country Course that just hosted it’s second NCAA Championships last November. 

“If you’re going to do it, do it right,” Smith said. “Let’s build a facility that can host a Big 12 Championships, that can host an NCAA indoor championships, and get this done right. Let’s show the NCAA, like we did with cross country that we are the best hosts in the country.”

Dave Smith/Twitter
Smith (right) with standout Alex Maier, who was the men’s high point athlete at the Big 12 Indoor Championships.

Smith added that with that kind of facility the track team would never leave home. They would run home meets every weekend. Less travel expenses and all kinds of money flowing into hotels and restaurants from visiting teams.

“Recruits have asked me if we have an indoor track and I’ve tld them, ‘sure, we keep it over in Fayetteville (Arkansas),” Smith said. “We build it right we’ll never leave home.”

They would for championships, that is unless they are hosting that year. Smith and the Big 12 champion Cowgirls and runner-up Cowboys will head to University of New Mexico for the NCAA Championships. It would be nice to bring that event to Stillwater. 

It’s now on the table, how soon it happens is in the hands of fund raisers and donors. 


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OSU Women's Indoor Track and Field Had Great Timing with Facilities Announcement

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