2017 FloXC Countdown: #17 Oklahoma State Men

2017 FloXC Countdown: #17 Oklahoma State Men
Follow our 2017 FloXC Countdown, where FloTrack ranks the top 25 cross country teams and individuals in the NCAA this season which will be LIVE on FloTrack. The No. 17 men's spot goes to Oklahoma State, and here's why:

Probable Top Four:

SR Hassan Abdi (8:00 3K; 13:43 5K; 28:54 10K; 16th at '16 NCAA XC)
SR Sylvester Barus (8:07 3K; 14:05 5K; 29:04 10K; 139th at '16 NCAA XC)
JR Christian Liddell (9:05 3K SC; 121st at '16 NCAA XC)
SR Anthoney Armstrong (3:49 1500; 8:11 3K; 8:59 3K SC; 142nd at '16 NCAA XC)

Fifth Man Battle:

FR Ryan Smeeton (8:12 3K; 8:54 3K SC)
FR Kevin Mulcaire (4:04 Mile; 14:02 5K)
FR Alec Haines (8:17 3K; 14:27 5K; 2nd at '17 USATF Jr 5K)
SR Luis Martinez (8:12 3K; 14:27 5K; 184th at '16 NCAA XC)

Impact Freshmen/Transfers:

Kevin Mulcaire via Ireland (4:04 Mile; 14:02 5K; 4th at '15 Euro Jr. 5K)

Analysis:

Led by head coach Dave Smith, the Cowboys are hoping to continue their powerhouse tradition and return to a form that saw them crack the top 10 at NCAAs three years ago.

The team's low stick will be senior Hassan Abdi, who turned heads last year by finishing 16th at NCAAs, going along nicely with his 13:43 5K and 28:54 10K PBs outdoors in 2017. Abdi has a decent shot to improve upon his individual finish again this year, but more important for the team score will be the spots behind him. With superstar Josh Thompson graduated and standout Cerake Geberkidane -- who ran 8:05 and 13:51 in 2016 -- still dealing with complications from a herniated disc, those spots couldn't be more wide open for new talents to swoop in and contribute.

Three other top-150 national XC finishers return in junior Christian Liddell, sophomore Sylvester Barus, and senior Anthoney Armstrong, and all three have recorded PRs in the 5K this outdoor season. Perhaps the most impressive, Barus is coming off a 29:09 10K PR -- one that led him all the way to NCAAs, where he finished 23rd (ahead of Abdi whose run ended with a DNF).

Behind them, a squad of three freshmen will need to secure those crucial last scoring spots. International talent Kevin Mulcaire joins the Cowboys all the way from Ireland, and he comes from a history of doing well on the European junior scene. At just 19 years old, his 14:02 5K and 4:04 mile PRs are certainly enough to begin contributing to the team right away. The two other talents are Ryan Smeeton and Alec Haines, with Smeeton having better flat 3K and steeplechase PBs, but Haines having the 5K strength that led him to a runner-up finish at USATF juniors last spring.

Matching their 12th-place finish from last year will be tough, but if the young talents step up things should come together for OK State this fall with another top-20 finish.

FULL MEN'S RANKINGS HERE

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