News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

October 18, 2013

Oklahoma State men again the NCAA favorite

But staying on top is as hard as getting there

TERRE HAUTE — It took a great five-man pack from Wisconsin in 2011 to interrupt Oklahoma State from winning three straight NCAA men’s cross country titles at LaVern Gibson Championship Course.

The Cowboys got back to their title-winning ways last fall in Louisville, Ky., and coach Dave Smith’s team arrived Friday in Terre Haute for the Pre-Nationals as the No. 1 team in the nation.

Repeat and three-peat championships are pretty common through the sport’s history.

Oregon reiterated its 2007 team title over runner-up Iona by doing it again in 2008. The now former Ducks coach, Vin Lananna, also won repeat titles when coaching Stanford, defeating runner-up Arkansas in 1996-97. If not for Lananna’s Cardinal squads, the Razorbacks might have won an all-time best six consecutive titles under coach John McDonnell.

Regardless of all that recent history, Smith — a former Michigan State standout — appears to have a team capable of contending for a second set of repeat titles.

Four titles in five years would place the Cowboys in the discussion among the elite accomplishments in the sport’s history with programs like Oregon, Colorado, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Michigan State, an eight-time winner from 1939-59.

Figuring out how to stay at the top is a fun puzzle to attempt to solve, Smith is finding.

“We’re facing different challenges. It's one thing to be the hunter. It’s another to be the hunted,” Smith said. “At the end of the year, even if you don’t win, there was something on the ladder to climb. Every year we don’t win, it's a disappointment. It’s hard to outperform our expections. The only surprise outcome can be negative.”

Smith is looking for positives today but not necessarily in the form of first place. Only two of his top seven — Craig Nowak and 2012 All-American Joe Manilafasha — are racing today as he looks to narrow 12 or 13 runners down to his top 7 to 10.

For many teams, today’s races represent a chance to earn points toward at-large berths to the NCAA championships. But since Smith figures his squad can finish top two in his region for an automatic berth, it’s a chance to develop his program’s depth.

“We’re in pretty good position. Couple guys dinged up, couple coming back from injuries,” Smith told the Tribune-Star on Friday. “It looks like a team that can challenge for a title. It’s the deepest we’ve ever had.”

Tom Farrell and Shadrack Kipchirchir, both 2012 cross country All-Americans, will not run. Neither will ShaneMoskowitz nor Kirubel Erassa. Oregon transfer Chad Noelle and veterans like Oklahoma native Taylor Monaghan, Tommy Casey and Neil Smith are hoping to prove they could be valuable members in the team’s run for a championship next month.

“Monaghan’s a guy that’s a sixth-year senior. He didn’t have eye-popping credentials out of high school. He was a 9:24 [two-miler],” Smith said. “He’s just been a little better every year.”

Edging Oregon in 2009 created a buzz that has attracted talent.

But Smith, who was still on campus in Stillwater, Okla., visiting with recruits Friday morning, said it takes more than just bringing in top-tier talent to sustain success.

“We still have up-and-down years. We’ll have a year we get everyone we want. Then a a year where you don't get anybody,” Smith said. “But we have five or six guys that are blue-collar type guys. Guys that came here, knew that they would have to earn their stripes.”

So it’s he Cowboys’ young guns and blue-collar workers looking for a strong performance and gaining valuable experience today.

“There’s only one place you can simulate the numbers, the quality of field,” Smith said. “They do a great job at Indiana State. The coaches, grounds people, even the announcer, are first-class professionals. So, Pre-nationals, it's got the atmosphere of the national championships. It’s really important for youngsters to experience it.”

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Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis Team effort: The North Terre Haute Little League All-Starts won the District 4 championship by beating Clinton 4-0 Friday evening.

  • Bradley’s stellar pitching helps TH North win District 4 title

    Jordan Bradley didn’t walk a batter until the sixth inning, scattering three hits in a shutout pitching performance to lead Terre Haute North to the District 4 championship with a 4-0 victory over a tough Clinton team.

    July 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Andy Amey: Just a small trip to talk about this time

    To paraphrase Carl Spackler, the heavy stuff’s not going to come for quite awhile. So while it’s true that I’m back from a week’s vacation, it’s not time — yet — for the big vacation column. Trips to Noblesville, Brunswick and Reelsville, while providing some nice family time, don’t really have the cachet to fill newspaper space.

    July 11, 2014

  • Pacers sign three free agents

    The Pacers couldn’t keep waiting around for Lance Stephenson to make up his mind. So on Friday, they went to work. The two-time Eastern Conference runner-ups announced they had signed three free agents — backup big man Lavoy Allen, swingman C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez, a sharp-shooting forward from Europe.

    July 11, 2014

  • Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team

    Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.

    July 11, 2014

  • Metro sports: Rosselli, Biechler capture Prospect League honors

    The Terre Haute Rex swept the Prospect League Player of the Week honors this week.

    July 11, 2014

  • Thoroughbreds complete race card at Martinsville

    Thoroughbred races were on Friday’s card to wind up four days of Illinois racing at the Martinsville Agricultural Fair. Horses owned by Bart Baird and Lance and Stacey Holsapple won all six of the thoroughbred races on the card with two other features run for ponies and mules.

    July 11, 2014

  • LeBron James says he’s returning to Cavaliers

    LeBron James is going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
    James told Sports Illustrated Friday that he’s decided to go home. It’s a move that would have seemed unfathomable four years ago, after the venomous fallout that followed his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat.

    July 11, 2014

  • Sports: What’s going on today

    July 11, 2014

  • SPT 071014 RAMER TROPHY.jpg Ramer, Kuppler claim junior city golf titles

    Megan Ramer and Colton Kuppler were two winners in the junior city golf tournament concluded Thursday in sunny, warm conditions at Rea Park.
    Both golfers claimed titles in the 15-17 age division for the first time while Ramer and Andrew Granda were two of the winners in the 2013 tournament.

    July 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rex return from All-Star break with a win at Danville

    The Terre Haute Rex returned to action on Thursday in winning fashion as they defeated Danville 4-1.

    July 11, 2014

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