Cowboy Cross Country Closes Regular Season with Win
The team win came against some of the best teams in the country with the likes of No. 10 Mississippi, 19th-ranked Virginia, No. 28 Virginia Tech and Big 12 rival Texas toeing the line at the PSU Cross Country Course.
A pair of Texas men took the lead early, but were run down by the pack, including Sylvester Barus and Abdi, among others before the 5K mark.
"Hassan ran an incredible race," coach Dave Smith said. "He's the real deal and he's a cross country guy who can do big things for us."
Barus and Abdi kept pace with the lead-pack, opening up the door for Josh Thompson, and leading the Pokes to a first place finish with 47 points, topping Mississippi by two points.
Abdi's run of 25:01 got him second overall, and Thompson earned a third-place finish with a 25:03 on the 5.2 mile course. Luis Martinez (11th), Anthoney Armstrong (14th), and Barus (17th), helped secure the win for the Cowboys.
"Josh ran his typical solid race," Smith said. "He and Sylvester have been going really hard in practice and that might be why Sylvester struggled a bit today. Luis and Anthoney had the best races of their cross country careers and I'm really proud of how they ran today."
Ole Miss senior MJ Erb won the individual title in 24:49.
Friday also marked a big day for another OSU newcomer in Michelle Magnani who suited up in orange for the first time in the women's 6K.
The Cowgirls surged back from fifth place with a kilometer to go to take third behind hosts and No. 8 Penn State (47), and No. 25 Mississippi (94), scoring 114 points behind a strong showing from Aurora Dybedokken who took ninth overall.
"I think our front three did a great job," Smith said. "Aurora, Molly and Michelle ran great, and Savannah is running than she's ever run, but I know and she knows she can run better."
Molly Sughroue took 12th and true freshman Magnani finished 13th in her first official race for OSU. Savannah Camacho crossed the line in 26th, while Anna Boyert came in at 54th to wrap up the Cowgirl top-five.
"We're still not where we want to be, and we're looking for a fifth runner," Smith said. "Our ace in the hole is Kaela, who has been looking great in practice recently, but we have to get some our girls back on track for the championship season. We still got a lot of effort out of the team today, and that's what I want to see."
Penn State's Tessa Barrett won the women's individual title followed by two other PSU runners in second and third, all but securing the team title for the eighth-ranked Nittany Lions.
The regular season is over and the real test begins for Oklahoma State in two weeks at the Big 12 Cross Country Championships where the Cowboys and Cowgirls seek to defend their conference titles from a season ago.
Penn State Open | Oct. 14, 2016 | University Park, Pa.
2. Hassan Abdi – 24:53
3. Josh Thompson – 25:01
11. Luis Martinez – 25:15
14. Anthoney Armstrong – 25:18
17. Sylvester Barus – 25:26
25. Christian Liddell – 25:34
44. Matthew Fayers – 25:54
52. Noah Gade – 26:02
54. Brigham Hedges - 26:04
80. Sukhi Khosla - 26:34
9. Aurora Dybedokken – 20:37
12. Molly Sughroue – 20:42
13. Michelle Magnani – 20:43
26. Savannah Camacho – 20:59
54. Anna Boyert – 21:29
59. Abbie Hetherington – 21:34
71. Kaylee Dodd – 21:45
73. Kaytlyn Larson – 21:47
93. Emily Helms – 22:04
96. Gintare Zenkeviciute – 22:09
105. Clara Nichols – 22:22
110. Natalie Baker – 22:28
121. Jennifer Celis – 22:49