Cross Country Season in Review

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 02, 2013

NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma men’s and women’s cross country teams capped off an exciting season as the men’s team competed for a regional title, finishing fourth at the Midwest Regional Championships in Ames, Iowa.

The Sooners entered 2013 with a new coaching staff. Head Coach Jim VanHootegem completed his first season at the helm of the program after spending nine seasons as an assistant coach for the track and field and cross country programs at Texas A&M. VanHootegem was joined by Associate Head Coach Jason Dunn, who was also coaching his first season for Oklahoma.

After graduating many contributors from last season, both the men and the women’s team welcomed many fresh faces this year.

The Oklahoma men finished the season ranked fourth regionally, three spots up from its preseason ranking of seventh. Aside from individual competition at the regional meet, the women’s team concluded their season at the 2013 Big 12 Championships.

The 2013 season was highlighted by several individual achievements as well. Three OU runners earned All-Big 12 honors with Abbabiya Simbassa, Brandon Doughty and Hilary Krein all earning the honor for the first time in their careers. Simbassa and Krein also claimed All-Midwest Region honors at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet. Simbassa was also honored as Big 12 men’s Newcomer of the Year.

Five members of the men’s and women’s teams were named to the 2013 Academic All-Big 12 Team. Hilary Krein, Patrick Gomez, Brandon Doughty and Dan Schubert all earned first-team honors, while Eric Graf was named to the second team.

Eric Graf was also named the Big 12 Men’s Runner of the Week for his performance at the Missouri Southern Stampede.

Hurricane Cross Country Festival

The teams started out the season in Tulsa, Okla., where the duel format resulted in two wins and one loss for the men. The women split their four duels with two wins and two losses.

The man placed five runners in the top 10 with runners placed fifth through ninth. Patrick Gomez, Brandon Doughty and Abbabiya Simbassa finished fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, and all completed the four-mile course with the identical time of 20:37.

Dan Schubert (20:38) and Alex Deir (20:42) finished eighth and ninth to round out the top 10 for the Sooners while Allen Eke finished 21st (21:27) with Malcolm Wankel close behind at 22nd (21:54).

The top finisher for the OU women on the two-mile course was Kelsey McKee who finished fourth overall with a time of 11:27. Elena Arriaza finished second for the Sooners and sixth overall after completing the course with a time of 11:31.

Lane Maguire finished 17th followed by Bryce Perry at 18th (12:12), Jessica Hembree at 19th, Ashley Guidot at 25th, Chloe Peek at 27th and Morgan Baulier at 32nd.

Missouri Southern Stampede

The men’s team took home the title at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo. The Oklahoma women’s team also had a successful day finishing third overall and second among division one schools.

The then-No. 10 regionally-ranked OU men placed four out of five runners in the top -10 en route to the first-place team finish.

Sophomore Eric Graf was the top finisher for the Sooners, placing third overall and clocking a time of 24:41.46. Kyle Polman was the second finisher for OU and fourth overall with a time of 24:56.06.

Dylan Blankenbaker raced to a fifth-place finish (25:08.70) with Will Hogston close behind in seventh (25:26.40). The men’s team rounded out its successful day with Daniel Aldaba finishing 12th (25:47.73).

The top finisher for the OU women in the 5k race was Kesley McKee who finished sixth overall with a time of 17:50.38. Elena Arriaza finished second for the Sooners and sixth overall, finishing in 18:00.46. The third top-10 finisher for the women was Jessica Hembree with the 10th place finish and a time of 18:17.75.

Lane Maguire finished 12th (18:44.17), followed by Marissa Codispodi in 13th (19:06.66), Ashley Guidot in 14th (19:14.95), Chloe Peek in 15th (19:51.53), Morgan Baulier in 16th (20:11.56) and Alysa Burchill in 17th (20:25.90).

Roy Griak Invitational

The men’s team finished fifth at the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn.

The top finisher for the Sooners was Abbabiya Simbassa who finished fifth overall in just his second appearance in an Oklahoma uniform. Simbassa finished the 8k course with a time of 24:32.

The second runner for OU to cross the finish line was Brandon Doughty who finished 13th (24:43). After Doughty was Patrick Gomez who finished 31st (25:01) followed by Dan Schubert at 42nd (25:11), Eric Graf at 61st (25:23), Kyle Polman at 72nd (25:32), Dylan Blankenbaker at 110th (25:57), Daniel Aldaba at 166th (26:20) and Will Hogston finished at 181st (26:32) out of the event’s 240-plus participants.

Chile Pepper Invitational

The women’s team finished seventh at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival in Fayetteville, Ark.

The top finisher for the Sooners was Elena Arriaza who finished 49th out of 318 runners with a time of 18:46. The second runner for OU to cross the finish line was Kelsey McKee who finished 79th (19:17). After McKee was Marissa Codispodi who finished 90th (19:25) followed by Ashley Guidot at 106th (19:42), Bryce Perry at 134th (20:00), Lane Maguire at 153rd (20:13), Morgan Baulier at 206th (20:55) and Alysa Burchill who finished 219th in 21:05.

Pre-National Invitational

The Oklahoma men’s cross country team finished ninth and the women’s team placed 27th at the 2013 Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind.

The then-No. 3 regionally-ranked men’s team finished ninth out of 52 teams in the meet’s Blue race. The top finisher for the Sooners was Abbabiya Simbassa, who finished the 8,000 meter course 12th overall with a time of 23:41.

Brandon Doughty finished second for OU and 78th overall with a time of 24:27. Finishing behind Doughty was Eric Graf who placed 97th (24:33), followed by Patrick Gomez at 101st (24:36), Dan Schubert at 121st (24:46), Alex Deir at 160th (25:00) and Kyle Polman at 214th (25:15).

The Oklahoma women finished 27th out of 35 teams in the White race. Hilary Krein led the way for the Sooners in her first race of the season after finishing 12th in a time of 21:26.

The second Sooner to cross the finish line for the women was Elena Arriaza who finished 44th with a time of 22:00. After Arriaza was Ashley Guidot at 179th (23:41), Kesley McKee at 188th (23:47), Marissa Codispodi at 193rd (23:53), Bryce Perry at 205th (24:16) and Lane Maguire who finished 211th out of 227 runners (24:32).

Big 12 Championships

The then-No. 28 nationally-ranked men's team finished fourth at the 2013 Big 12 Cross Country Championships. OU's women matched their finish from last year, placing ninth.

The Sooners were led by the one-two-punch of Abbabiya Simbassa and Brandon Doughty who finished at eighth (23:27) and ninth (23:31) overall, respectively. Doughty finished 17 spots ahead of where he placed in last year’s competition.

Patrick Gomez was the third finisher for the Sooners, and first to finish outside the top-10 at 29 with a time of 24:09.1. Finishing less than a second behind Gomez was Eric Graf who finished in 24:09.6 at No. 30. OU also occupied the next two positions with Kyle Polman at 31st (24:12) and Dan Schubert finishing 18 spots above last year’s competition at 32nd (24:14).

Also competing for the Sooners was Alex Deir at 37th (24:23), Jacob Burcham at 42nd (24:34), Daniel Aldaba at 48th (24:56) and Allen Eke rounded out the day for the men finishing 57th (25:30).

The Oklahoma women finished ninth in the event. Senior Hilary Krein paced the Sooners on the 6,000-meter course, finishing 14th with a time of 21:07 in just her second race of the year.

The second Sooner to cross the finish line was Elena Arriaza at 30th with a time of 21:39. Behind Arriaza was Kesley McKee at 59th (22:32), Marissa Codispodi at 70th (23:15), Ashley Guidot at 74th (23:34), Lane Maguire at 76th (23:40), Bryce Perry at 77th (23:56) and Morgan Baulier at 81st with a time of 24:18.

NCAA Midwest Regional Championships

The men’s team finished fourth at the NCAA Regionals in Ames, Iowa.

The Sooners were led by Abbabiya Simbassa, who finished 13th overall after finishing the 10,000-meter race with a time of 30:43.54, just two seconds off the top 10 pace. Simbassa earned All-Region honors for finishing in the top 25.

Patrick Gomez was the next best finisher for Oklahoma, finishing 26th overall with a time of 31:05.14. Brandon Doughty finished 32nd with a time of 31:10.74, seven spots better than his performance at last year’s event. Behind Doughty was Eric Graf at 36th (31:14.84), Kyle Polman at 49th (31:25.39), Jacob Burcham at 50th (31:26.74) and Alex Deir at 134th (32:56.8).

Senior Hilary Krein and freshman Elena Arriaza represented the women’s team in the meet, finishing 13th (20:47.7) and 50th (21:39.0), respectively. Krein also earned All-Region honors for her finish in the top 25.





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