Oct. 31, 2009
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The No. 20 University of Oklahoma men’s cross country team records its highest finish ever in the Big 12 Championships as it took third Saturday. The performance was also the highest conference finish since the 1980 team took third in the Big 8 Championships as the women’s team finished 12th Saturday on the muddy A.L. Gustin Golf Course in Columbia, Mo.
Three runners claimed All-Big 12 honors as sophomore Kevin Schwab, redshirt freshman Bill Kogel and junior Rob Sorrell each finished in the top 15.
Schwab led the way for OU, pacing the muddy 8,000 meter course with a time of 25:08.32 and finishing sixth overall. The sixth-place finish marks the second-highest individual finish for a Sooner in Big 12 history. Kogel was the next Sooner to cross the finish line with a time of 25:20.65, to finish 10th. Sorrell finished 11th, completing the course with a time of 25:22.12.
Schwab and Kogel’s sixth and 10th-place finishes, mark the first time since the creation of the Big 12 that two Sooner runners finished among the top-10 competitors in the same Big 12 Championships.
Redshirt-freshman Kevin Williams and junior Jeremy Sudbury both finished in the top 25, with Williams finishing 23rd (25:43.52) and Sudbury 25th (25:45.23). Junior Clay Mayes (25:52.59) finished 31st, while true freshmen Bobby Nicolls (26:14.49) and Pat Gomez (27:16.74) finished 49th and 78th, respectively.
The Sooner women were led by senior Lauren Watson who paced the 6,000 meter course for OU with a time of 22:58.16 and a 38th-place finish. True freshman Erin Hargens (23:54.73) was the next Sooner to complete the course, finishing 70th.
Rounding out scoring for the women’s team were sophomore Molly Ferguson (24:15.00) in 80th, junior Lindsay Pierson (24:43.54) in 89th and senior Ellen Dobbin (25:10.23), in 92nd. Freshman Tati Ogan (26:33.68) took 96th.
The Sooners will make the trip back to the state of Missouri on Nov. 14 to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Springfield, Mo. The top two teams from the Midwest Regional will advance to the 2009 NCAA National Championships along with the top two teams from eight other NCAA Regionals. The remainder of the 31-team NCAA Championships field will consist of 13 at-large teams selected by the NCAA.
In addition to the teams qualifying for the NCAA Championships, thirty-six individuals automatically qualify for the race on the basis of finishing in the top four at their respective NCAA Regionals and not being on an advancing team. Two additional individuals are selected at-large by the committee to round out the field of 255 competitors. All individual qualifiers must finish in the top 25 of their event.