Oklahoma State junior Natalja Piliusina will begin the 2013 indoor track season as the No. 1 runner in the women's 800-meter race, according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association preseason rankings.
Piliusina is coming off a 2012 indoor season where she captured her second-straight Big 12 conference title in the 800m and was runner up in the same event at the NCAA national meet. She also hit a new personal best in the 800m with a school-record 2:03.46 at the Alex Wilson Invitational.
"It's recognition of how well she's done and how hard she's worked," said OSU head coach Dave Smith. "She's worthy of that kind of ranking. For her it probably doesn't mean that much. She doesn't care what the rankings are, she wants to win it and she's focused on that. For the program it's awesome to have someone ranked number one in an event. It shows the program is going in the right direction."
While both OSU teams as a whole were not ranked in the top 25, members of both the men's and women's teams are ranked in their events.
Along with Piliusina, freshman Chase Ealey is the other ranked Cowgirl, coming in 25th in the shot put.
For the Cowboys, Kirubel Erassa (12th) and Raul Botezan (13th) are ranked in the men's mile.
In the 3,000-meter race, Tom Farrell comes in at No. 9, followed by Erassa (26th) and Shadrack Kipchirchir (28th).
Kipchirchir (8th) and Girma Mecheso (11th) represent the Cowboys in the 5,000-meter event, while Nick Miller begins the season No. 25 in the weight throw.
The women's team travels to Fayetteville this weekend to compete in a dual with Arkansas.