STILLWATER, Okla. – The Oklahoma State cross country program begins its 2011 season Saturday, traveling to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in the Hurricane Festival at Mohawk Park.
The Cowboys enter the season as the No. 1 team in the preseason poll after winning their second-straight national championship and third-straight Big 12 championship.
The Cowgirls come into the 2011 campaign ranked No. 26 after a 17th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, they’re best finish since 2005.
The Hurricane Invitational, hosted by the University of Tulsa, is set to begin at 8 a.m. with the men competing in a four-mile race. The women follow at 8:35 with a two-mile race.
Most of the men’s top athletes will not be travelling to Tulsa, so a number of younger runners will have an opportunity to gain valuable experience.
Mark Nelson is the lone senior of the group, and he will be joined by sophomores Klaus Schmidt and Taylor Monaghan as the only runners who have previously competed for the Cowboys. They will be joined by a host of redshirt freshmen: Kevin Colon, Kirubel Erassa, David Osborn, Neal Smith and Nick Thorp.
The women will send out quite a few more athletes, including a handful of veterans. The Cowgirls will be lead by seniors Brandi Andrews, Victoria Fratczak, Laura Heaton and Teran Mixon, as well as juniors Jackie Campos and Melanie Funke.
Sophomores Jori Davis, Jenny Dyer, Caileigh Glenn, Ruth-Anne Hadjis, Victoria Hanna and Kate Kujawa will be back in action for the Cowgirls. Sophomore transfer Natanya Luther and freshmen Adela Hofmannova, Monika Juodeskaite and Taylor Light will be running in an OSU uniform for the first time.