NORMAN, Okla. — Eighth-ranked Oklahoma took home a share of the NCAA Midwest Regional title Friday in Springfield, Mo., tying with in-state rival No. 1 Oklahoma State. With the victory, OU earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
The Sooners and Cowboys each finished with 45 points to share the title. No. 19 Tulsa (47), Illinois (154) and Missouri (173) finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, to round out the top five.
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“I thought we ran a very disciplined race,” head coach Martin Smith said.
“It was a very positive sign that we held our composure in the latter stages of the race, and that enabled us to keep our split from one to six extremely tight. Hopefully this will be a very positive step heading into nationals, which gives us good team chemistry and confidence.”
The share for the first-place finish was the first ever in Midwest Regional history, second in men’s regional action and fourth throughout the history of both men’s and women’s NCAA Regional roundups. Michigan and Wisconsin were the first two teams to share a title after they each finished with 68 points in the Great Lakes Regional in 2007.
Patrick Casey placed third (30:28.61) overall to lead the Sooners to a fourth consecutive NCAA Championship berth and second Midwest Regional title in the past three years. Kevin Williams crossed the finish line with a time of 30:29.25 to take fifth.
Senior Bill Kogel rounded out the top 10 with a 30:34.03 effort. Riley Masters followed right behind Kogel in 11th place with a time of 30:34.17. Andrew Weaver came in at 16th clocking a time of 30:45.96, followed by Ryan Poland who placed 17th with a time of 30:46.21. Brandon Doughty finished 39th crossing the line at 31:15.81.
Girma Mecheso led Oklahoma State’s squad by finishing in second place with a time of 30:26.39. Tom Farrell (30:29.06) and Shane Moskowitz (30:30.21) finished in fourth and seventh place, respectively.
Louisville will play host to the 2012 NCAA Championships on Nov. 17. For the first time since World War II, the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships will be held on a Saturday instead of a Monday – and for just the second time in a Big East Conference city. With the new date formula prescribing the national meet be held on Saturday before Thanksgiving, and by virtue of the calendar having the earliest possible Thanksgiving this year, the meet will be the earliest in Division I history.