Gray Becomes Third Cowboy to Qualify for Nationals

AUSTIN, Texas - Oklahoma State junior Joe Gray became the third Cowboy runner to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with an impressive showing at the Midwest Regional Meet in Austin, Texas on Saturday.
Gray finished with a time of 8:55.93 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, earning him fourth-place honors in the event and an automatic bid to the national meet. The Tacoma, Wash. native moved into fourth place on the final lap of the race after steadily moving up from eighth with three laps to go.

"Joe ran a brilliant race," said Cowboy assistant coach Dave Smith. "He came out very patient and just moved up gradually throughout the race and not giving up any position after he gained it.

"I've said it before, Joe may not be as athletic or talented as a lot of the guys that he is going up against, but he is so successful because he out works, out desires and out competes those guys."

Mincea Bogdan, a senior from Texas-El Paso, finished first in the event with a time of 8:52.93, while UTEP sophomore Patrick Mutai and Texas senior Mark Floreani rounded out the top three. Mutai finished second with a time of 8:53.72, and Floreani finished third with a time of 8:55.25.

Gray will join Cowboy teammates David Jankowski and Ryan Vail in Sacramento, Calif., for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 7-10. Jankowski, a sophomore, will represent the Pokes in the 10,000-meter run, and Vail, a redshirt freshman, will run in the 5,000-meter race.