Coach Dave Smith of Oklahoma State has paid tribute to his team for winning back-to-back Cross Country national titles, but paid special tribute to his four and fifth runners who came big on the day.

Stubs (John Stublaski) had the race of his career and I’m really proud of that guy because I have been really hard on him and have put a lot of pressure on him to step up,” Smith said.

“I’ve said over and over again that we needed a fifth man to come through. Both he and Joe Manilafasha beat every other number five man competing here at nationals. That’s tough to do and a real tribute to how well those guys ran.”

Smith also outlined the process it took to win the title for back-to-back years.

“The three guys who really came through biggest for us were John Stublaski, Joe Manilafasha and Ryan Prentice. All three ran outstanding races. Stubs and Joe were big. Stubs made All-American. We asked him to go out in the 80-to-100 range and move up and he did that extremely well and Joe was not far behind.

“Ryan Prentice lost his shoe in the first 1,000 meters and had to run the next 9,000 meters with one shoe on and one shoe off. Having to go through that and still focus is tough, but he did a great job.”

By Gary Smith

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