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Distance Medley Relay Win an NCAA Individual Championship at Indoor Championships

March 11, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – Oklahoma State men's Distance Medley Relay squad earned the program's first Indoor NCAA Title since 1986 on Friday night at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. The Cowboys crossed the finish line in 9:28.77, breaking the Albuquerque Convention Center's facility record by five seconds in the process. It's the fastest-ever time at high altitude. Fouad Messaoudi (2:53.75), Charlie Bartholomew (46.67), Juan Diego Castro (1:47.85) and Ryan Schoppe (4:00.50) took home the victory in dominating fashion, holding leads after every split.

Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Dave Smith has coached his first indoor champion on the men's side, and his third overall.

"The guys ran a brilliant race," Smith said. "We just decided to from the gun and make people come get us."

Messaoudi kicked it off for the Cowboys in the 1,200 Meters, charging ahead of the pack in the final half of the leg with the fastest split by almost two seconds and gave the Cowboys a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

NCAA Track and Field
Ryan Schoppe finishes the race as the anchor.

Bartholomew built on the lead with what would be the second-fastest 400 Meters time in program history. Castro's steady 800 Meters put the Cowboys in the lead for good as Schoppe put the race away in the anchor leg.

"Each one of those guys ran perfect races," Smith said. "I thought Ryan holding the lead when we told him to run 30 points the whole way and doing that every split until the last two, then he felt good and took off. He brought it home with a bit of emphasis on the last straightaway and it looked fantastic."

The Cowboys ultimately won in a field of teams that broke the previous facility record by almost three seconds. It's the first time OSU has had a DMR squad win an Indoor NCAA Title. OSU's last indoor champion, Paul Larkins, accomplished the feat in 1986 in the Mile race.

Pokes Report
Cowboys on the victory stand at the NCAA Championships. 

Messaoudi, Castro and Schoppe are first-team All-Americans for the second time in as many years in the event after placing fifth at last year's NCAA Championships. Bartholomew became in indoor All-American for the first time Friday.

"I think the DMR is a great symbol of your overall strength in the middle-distances," Smith said. "It's so hard to win. You can't just do it with four guys. You have to have eight pairs of legs. We had two guys on the collegiate record team that didn't run tonight, and we still went out and got the win."

The Cowgirls DMR program also had a solid outing, becoming the sixth DMR in program historynamed first-team All-Americans the first time since 2021. OSU finished sixth overall, crossing the finish line in 11:02.57, with Billah Jepkirui starting strong for the Cowgirls in the first leg of the race, registering the second-fastest 1,200 Meters leg of the day.

Tamara Woodley and Gabija Galvydyte teamed up to keep the Cowgirls in striking distance. Taylor Roe capped off the race for the Cowgirls with the fifth-fastest anchor time in the field, leading to the ninth-best time in program history.

"They ran really composed races to get us back in contention," Smith said. "They deserve the All-America standing."

Natalie Cook returned to the indoor track in the 5,000 Meters, becoming an NCAA second-team All-American for the first time. Cook adds another impressive accolade to what has proven to be a successful start to her collegiate career.

Alex Maier and Isai Rodriguez opened the men's events in the 5K, with both notching first and second-team All-American honors, respectively. Maier was among the top eight in the loaded field for the entire race and is an indoor All-American for the second time.

The Cowboys finished the day tied for fourth place in the team race with 11 points and will look to build on the momentum going into Saturday's events, with Maier, Messaoudi and Schoppe competing in the men's 3,000 Meters Saturday night.

"We've got three guys who all have potential to be NCAA champions in the 3K," Smith said. "Each one of them thinks they're going to win tomorrow."

Roe will round out the competition on the women's side in the 3K looking to win back-to-back NCAA titles for the first time in Cowgirl history.

"She's a competitor," Smith said. "She had a great leg today. Tomorrow, everybody gets the same start. She'll stick her nose in it and we'll see what happens."

Roe will start the action for OSU at 6 p.m. CT, with the men's 3K following at 9 p.m. on ESPN+.

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Distance Medley Relay Win an NCAA Individual Championship at Indoor Championships

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