Terre Haute, Ind. – San José State men’s cross country runner Jose Piña finished the 2016 season at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, something no Spartan had done in 32 years.
Piña completed the 10k LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in 31:24.4 and 174th place.
“The whole experience was great,” Pina said after the race. “I really enjoyed everything and can’t wait to bring what I learned here back to the team.
“The race itself was a battle for the first 5k. Everyone who finished was all spiked up and my shins are pretty bloody. I’ve never been in a race like that, which was so physical. I went through the first mile in a good time, but it was really hard to maintain a good rhythm throughout. People were constantly fighting for position. I was where I wanted to be in the early part of the race, but if you can’t maintain your spot, you fall back. In the end I was forced to try to move up on the outside.”
“Jose followed his game plan, which was to try to be in the top-40,” head coach Brad Wick said. “He was right where he wanted to be after 2k, but after the breakthrough race he had at Regionals, and with his youth, putting together back-to-back efforts like that proved to be to much.
“Remember Jose is a true sophomore, so with age and maturity he will be able to put together a strong race of this length and come back a week later and repeat his performance. I think his legs were a bit heavy in the last half of the race, which won’t be a factor as he continues in his racing career.
Piña, who finished in eighth place and earned All-West Region honors at the NCAA West Regional Championship last week, is the first Spartan student-athlete to compete in the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships since Danny Gonzales in 1984.
“Overall, this was a fantastic experience for Jose,” Wick said. “He got to see how this type of race is run and knows what it takes to compete at this level. He wants to get back here, but also get home and share what he’s learned with the team.
“He competed with the best in the nation today. In any race moving forward, he can put himself in the front and be confident of his abilities.”
In the team competition, Northern Arizona won championship with 125 points, Stanford was second with 158 points and Syracuse finished in third place with 164 points.
Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan crossed the line in 29:22.0 to win the individual championship. Syracuse’s Kustyn Knight and Oregon’s Edward Cheserek came in second and third in times of 29:27.3 and 29:48.0, respectively.
2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships - Men’s Results
LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course
Terre Haute, Ind. – November 19, 2016
Team Results (Top-10)
- Northern Arizona – 125 pts.
- Stanford – 158 pts.
- Syracuse – 164 pts.
- Mississippi – 196 pts.
- Arkansas – 206 pts.
- Colorado – 223 pts.
- BYU – 247 pts.
- Wisconsin – 256 pts.
- Oregon – 282 pts.
- Iona – 319 pts.
Individual Results (Top-10)
- Patrick Tiernan (Villanova) – 29:22.0
- Justyn Knight (Syracuse) – 29:27.3
- Edward Cheserek (Oregon) – 29:48.0
- Futsum Zienasellassie (Northern Arizona) – 29:49.8
- Grant Fisher (Stanford) – 29:57.9
- MJ Erb (Mississippi) – 29:58.5
- Morgan McDonald (Wisconsin) – 29:59.2
- Edwin Kibichiy (Louisville) – 29:59.5
- Nicolas Montanez (BYU) – 30:02.3
- Scott Carpenter (Georgetown) – 30:03.0
San José State Result
- Jose Piña – 31:24.4