Men's Cross Country Has Best Ever Finish At MW Conference Championship

Freshman Jose Piña led the Spartans for the second time this season.
Oct. 31, 2015

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RENO, Nev. -- San José State University men’s cross country team had its best
finish at the Mountain West Conference Championship since joining the league in 2013 by placing sixth out of eight teams. The Spartans placed ahead of Fresno State, the only other school located at sea level along with Utah State, an elevation school.

On a cool, sunny day with the race time temperature around 60 degrees, the Spartans took on the hilly 8K Montreux Golf Club course situated approximately 5,600 feet above sea-level.

“Overall, the guys had a great effort but it was a tough race with the elevation. It’s a variable that we can’t do anything about so we just have to go out there and run the best we can,” said Spartans cross country coach Brad Wick.

Freshman Jose Piña led the way for San José State by finishing 23rd overall with a time of 27:41.94, as it was the second time this season that Piña had the highest placement among the team.

“Jose did a great job. He stayed calm as sometimes in your mind, you know you can be top-ten or top-15 and all of a sudden when you get out there running, the reality is different. But he stayed calm, he stayed under control and he worked his way through the pack to finish in the top-25,” said Wick.

Piña, running in his first Mountain West Conference Championship meet said, “It was a very tough course because of the elevation and the hills. Its four loops around every hill. I tried to keep calm at first as a lot of people were passing me on the course but I feel the best strategy was pacing myself as it doesn’t matter how you start, its how you finish. It was a great experience.”

Jannik Ernst, a senior, running in his third Mountain West Conference Championship, was the second Spartan to cross the finish line at 29th overall with a time of 28:01.64. It was Ernst’s best finish at the conference championship meet having placed 58th in 2013 and 39th in 2014.

“Jannik had a great race as he ran a very smart race. He likes to move up through the pack and that strategy really played into his favor in a race like this. He was our all-star today and did a really nice job,” said the third-year coach.

Sophomore Josue Gonzalez finished five seconds behind Ernst to finish at 32nd overall, good for third on the team. Gonzalez improved his placement from a year before when he finished 60th in the 2014 conference championship meet.

Sophomore Craig Huff was the fourth Spartan finisher, the highest he finished this season for the team. Huff finished 40th overall with a time of 28:22.09.

Junior Ben Branagh, who has led the Spartans in three of the four races this year, struggled and finished 43rd overall to round out the top-five finishers for San José State.

Sophomores Huruy Zeratsion and Raul Rodarte finished 45th and 58th, respectively.

“We have a good conference and we placed the best we could under the conditions. Finishing sixth is a definite progress. We’ll be ready to roll in two weeks in Seattle at the West Regionals,” said Wick, looking forward to the last meet of the 2015 cross country season on November 13.

Colorado State's Jerrell Mock won the race with a time of 26:16.26, 14 seconds ahead of the second place finisher Patrick Corona of Air Force.

Mountain West Conference Championships

Men’s Cross Country 8K Run

Montreux Golf Club Course, Reno, Nev.

October 30, 2015



1. Air Force


2. Colorado State


3. Boise State


4. Wyoming


5. New Mexico


6. San José State


7. Fresno State


8. Utah State






1. Jerrell Mock

Colorado State


2. Patrick Corona

Air Force


3. Kyle Eller

Air Force


4. Aaron Derner



5. Michael Vennard

Boise State




( ) denotes displacers.


23. Jose Piña


29. Jannik Ernst


32. Josue Gonzalez


40. Craig Huff


43. Ben Branagh


(45.) Huruy Zeratsion


(58.) Raul Rodarte