Cross Country Runners Looking Forward To Spring Season

Sophomore Craig Huff finished fifth in the 3000m steeplechase at last summer’s USA Track & Field Junior Championships.
March 14, 2016

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San José State University men’s cross country team’s spring season kicks off Saturday, March 19 at the Hornet Invitational track and field meet on the Sacramento State campus.

I think we will have some very solid performances that will give the program some more exposure. We want to be competitive on the track just as much as on the cross country course, and we will,” says Jeff Petersmeyer, the Spartans’ track and field head coach.

“Our distance runners are looking forward to running on the track. They will run in the best meets such as the Mt. SAC Relays and San Francisco State Distance Carnival. They are hungry and ready. A number of them are looking to qualify for the NCAA Championships,” says cross country head coach Brad Wick who plans to use performances in the 1,500-meters as a fitness baseline for the Spartans.

Redshirt sophomore Ben Branagh, senior Jannik Ernst, redshirt freshman Josue Gonzalez, sophomore Craig Huff, freshman Jose Piña, junior Raul Rodarte and sophomore Huruy Zeratsion are back from the 2015 cross country season to compete as San Jose State individual entries in up to five outdoor track and field meets this spring.

Going into the season, Wick projects Branagh, Gonzalez and Piña racing in the 5,000-meters with the possibility of each Spartan adding the 10,000 meters.

A native of Belfast, Ireland, Branagh posted a best time of 3:53.59 in the 1,500-meters at the 2015 West Coast Last Chance meet in San Francisco. His 5,000-meters career best of 14:25.60 was at the 2015 San Francisco State Distance Carnival.

Ernst is ticketed to run in the 10,000 meters.  The Huenstetten, Germany native placed first in the 10,000 meters at the 2015 West Coast Last Chance Meet.

Huff will specialize in the steeplechase, an event in which he finished fifth at last summer’s USA Track & Field Junior Championships with a time of 9:33.16.

“The steeplechase is a niche event where the technique is demanding as it’s taxing and takes a lot out of you,” says Wick.

Rodarte and Zeratsion each are looking for a best fit for the 2016 spring season.

The men's cross country team has come a long way.  Coach Wick has done a great job recruiting and developing our distance runners and we've had some pretty good success on the track and I don't see any reason why we can't continue to improve this season,” says Petersmeyer.



San José State Men’s Cross Country 2016 Spring Schedule:





Hornet Invitational

Sacramento, Calif.


Fresno State Twilight

Fresno, Calif.

4/1 – 4/2

San Francisco State Distance Carnival

San Francisco, Calif.

4/1 – 4/2

Stanford Invitational

Stanford, Calif.

4/14 – 4/16

Mt. SAC Relays

Walnut, Calif.


Bryan Clay Invitational

Azusa, Calif.


Long Beach State Invitational

Cerritos, Calif.


Bulldog Invitational

Clovis, Calif.


Steve Scott Invitational

Irvine, Calif.

5/26 – 5/28

NCAA Division I West Preliminaries

Lawrence, Kan.

6/8 - 6/11

NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Eugene, Ore.