STILLWATER — Oklahoma State Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Dave Smith and cross country runners Alex Maier, Fouad Messaoudi and Natalie Cook picked up several yearly awards from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and Big 12 following their performances this season, the organizations announced Tuesday.
Smith swept the men’s and women’s Coach of the Year awards for both the Big 12 and USTFCCCA Midwest Region. The Cowboys and Cowgirls swept the top step of the podium at the Big 12 Cross Country Championships for the second straight year before becoming the only program to have both teams earn team trophies at the NCAA Championships.
Smith’s Big 12 honors were his 14th and 15th cross country Coach of the Year awards overall, with 11 on the men’s side and four on the women’s side. This is also the second straight year he has the women’s Big 12 honor. He also picked up his ninth and tenth USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year awards, with eight men’s and two women’s awards.
Maier picked up both the men’s USTFCCCA Athlete of the Year and the Big 12 Runner of the Year following his dominant season on the grass. After dominating a loaded Cowboy Jamboree field early in the season, he became the first OSU runner to win the Big 12 Cross Country Championships since Hassan Abdi in 2017. At the NCAA Championships, Maier led the second-place Cowboys with his fifth-place finish overall, earning his second career cross country All-America honor in the process. He’s also just the second Cowboy to win either award after Colby Lowe won the USTFCCCA award in 2010 and Abdi won the Big 12 award in 2016.
Cook also picked up a pair of awards following her impressive freshman campaign, winning USTFCCCA Women’s Athlete of the Year and Big 12 Women’s Newcomer of the Year. She kicked off her career with a win at the Cowboy Jamboree, which included three teams that ended up competing in the NCAA Championships. Cook continued a successful season with fourth and second-place finishes at the Big 12 Championships and NCAA Midwest Regional Championships, respectively. The Cowgirls finished with first-place team finishes in both races with the help of the Flower Mound, Texas native. She wrapped up her season at the NCAA Cross Country Championships with a seventh-place finish to earn All-American honors and a time of 19:46.3, which shattered the previous course record and set a personal best for the 6K by 25 seconds. Cook was the second-highest placing freshman in the field as she led the Cowgirls to their first top-four finish in program history.
Cook is the sixth Cowgirl to be named Big 12 Women’s Newcomer of the Year and the first since Ingeborg Loevnes in 2015.
In his first season on the grass, Messaoudi became the seventh Cowboy to be named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. He joins teammates Isai Rodriguez (2018) and Victor Shitsama (2020), who were the two most recent Cowboys to earn the award. Messaoudi completed his first career 8K at the Big 12 Cross Country Championships, helping the Cowboys to the team title with his sixth-place finish. In his second career cross country race and first career 10K, he placed 12th overall at the NCAA Championships to help OSU secure its first runner-up finish at the national meet since 2011.
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