Spartan Cross Country Has High Hopes

San Jose, Calif. The Spartans return from altitude training high in
 Bear Valley, Calif., and have set their sights near the seaside of San
 Francisco.

"They've really been dedicated this summer," said cross country head
coach Augie Argabright of the Spartans, "They're going to really be 
exciting to watch."

The cross country season opens September 1 with the USF Invitational in
 Golden Gate Park.

Last year, the women's team took third and the men's team placed fourth at the USF Invitational, hosted by the University of San Francisco. In that meet, first team All-WAC runner Tiffany Hall won the women's 
5K race. Erica Sahli placed sixth. Jonathan Gragert ran 11th in the men's 8K race.

Hall's successful cross country career at San Jose State ended after
last year's NCAA West Regional race in Portland, Ore., where she placed 
29th. She graduated with a degree in kinesiology last spring.

However, Hall leaves a good example for the Spartans to follow. San
Jose State also returns second team All-WAC athletes Erica Sahli, Marlene Elizalde and Sam Wambugu.

Sahli returns for her fourth year with the Spartans and second
season as co-captain. She earned a second-team All-WAC selection
 two years in a row. In 2006, Sahli received a place on the Academic
 All-WAC list. She lettered in cross country and track at Villa Park 
High School in Villa Park, Calif. Sahli is the first female runner to have
 her jersey retired in Villa Park High School history.

Elizalde begins her fourth season at San Jose State and her 
first year as co-captain. Elizalde garnered second team All-WAC
 selection in 2006 and earned Academic All-WAC three years in a row. 
Elizalde graduated from Saint Paul High in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. in 
2004, where she received recognition three times as an all-league pick in cross country and track.

Wambugu, a native of Kenya, begins his second season at San Jose
 State. In 2006, he earned second team All-WAC selection and 
Academic All-WAC honors. In junior college, Wambugu ran third at the 
2004 California Community College meet with a 20: 28.13 time. He was an All-Nor Cal choice at American River College. In high school, Wambugu
 lettered in cross country and track at Highlands High in North 
Highlands, Calif. Wambugu received all-league honors in cross country 
and track.

Wambugu turned in a 14th place effort at the men's cross country WAC
 Championship in Fresno, Calif., in 2006. Argabright was optimistic of
 Wambugu's chances in 2007. "Sam is starting this year at the same 
point he ended last year," said the head coach.

The women's team possesses a good amount of talent. In addition to
 Sahli and Elizalde, the Spartans return Nisha Richardson and Annaliza 
Rizo, both sophomores who scored top 20 times in the 2006 women's 5K race 
at the USF Invitational.

The team added depth with talented new runners, including Arely
 Marquez and Jacqueline Turner, to an already successful squad.
 Argabright said that competition for a spot in the lineup would be strong.

Marquez, a freshman, begins her first season at San Jose State.
She lettered in cross county track and soccer at Yerba Buena High in
 San Jose. Marquez was awarded the Most Valuable Player in cross 
country and track all four years. She finished second at the 2006 
Blossom Valley Athletic League cross country championships. Marquez finished second in the 1,600 meters at the 2007 Central Coast Section
 Championship with a lifetime best of 5:04.72.

Turner, a freshman at San Jose State, lettered in cross
country at Orange Lutheran High in Orange, Calif. Turner finished in
 the top-20 in three C.I.F. Division IV state championship meets. She
 received a Division IV all-state team selection and first-team C.I.F.
Southern Section choice in 2005. Orange Lutheran named Turner the 
school's Female Athlete of the Year for 2005.

Lindsay Bryant, a senior twice named to the Academic All-WAC list, She
served as the sports editor of the Spartan Daily in spring 2007. Her
 best time in 2006 at 5K was 20:34.00 at the Bronco Invitational in
Santa Clara, Calif.

Erica Elias, a senior and native of San Jose, placed 44th at the
 Stanford Invitational in 2006.

Lindsay Briner, a junior in her second year with the Spartans, she was
 the captain of her high school cross country team. Briner placed a
personal best 38th in the Stanford Invitational in 2006.

Victoria Chavez, a junior and two time Academic All-WAC honoree,
placed a season-best 40th at the Stanford Invitational. Chavez is a
 San Jose native.

Jenna Hicks, a junior beginning her third campaign with the Spartans, finished 12th at the Stanford Invitational in 2006.

Suzanne Hancock, a second year Spartan, ran 19:55.80 at the Bronco
 Invitational in 2006. Last year, Hancock earned Academic All-WAC
 honors. Amanda Carlucci, a sophomore, placed a season-best 13th in a 
6K race at the Gator Invitational in San Francisco, Calif., last year. Her best time in 2006 in a 5K race was 19:30.40 at the USF Invitational.

Freshmen Danneille Cardoza, Lauren Dubay, Jessica Gonzales, Morgan 
Hancock, Brooke Lawrence, Meaghan Vinton and Lisa Worsham all bring
 accomplished resumes from their high school cross country days. Redshirt freshman Rebecca Ulrich looks to run competitively in 2007. A
 four-sport athlete, she lettered in cross country, soccer, track and
 volleyball at San Lorenzo High School in Felton, Calif.

In his 14th year, Argabright said the men's team is the best he has coached since 1997. He said the team has 10 really good runners and the newcomers will push the returning members.

Gordie Throne starts his third season at San Jose State as men's team captain. Throne represents the team on the San Jose State
 Student-Athlete Advisory Council. In 2006, he competed in four
 regular-season meets and the WAC Championship. Throne's best finish 
was 34th place at the 4K at the Stanford Invitational. His best 8K finish was 41st at the WAC Championship and his best 8K time was 26:56.00 at the Bronco Invitational in Santa Clara, Calif.

Chris Hart, a senior in his second year with the Spartans, in junior college earned a place twice on the All-Bay Valley Conference team. Hart improved steadily over the 2006 season.

On the men's team, Sean Dundon, Throne and Wambugu form the backbone of the team as experienced upper classmen. Dundon, a junior in his third year with the Spartans and a San Jose native, finished 16th the at 
USF Invitational in 2006.

Jonathan Gragert and David Haefele, both sophomores, turned in top- 20 times in last year's USF Invitational. They look to improve on the potential they showed in 2006.

David Blausey, Luke Galvan and Alan Shelton join the Spartans as freshmen and all-league runners in high school. Freshman Rigo Vasquez impressed the coaching staff. Argabright said Vasquez stood out during high altitude training.

Vasquez, begins his first season at San Jose State. He lettered in cross country and track and field in Hollister, Calif., at
 San Benito High School. San Benito High won the league cross
country championship four times and a 2003 Central Coast Section cross 
country title. Vasquez ran top-10 finishes at the Central Coast Section Championships.

In anticipation of a successful cross country season, women’s co-captains Salhi and Elizalde and men's captain Throne led the Spartans in rigorous workouts this summer at 9,000 feet in Bear Valley to prepare for the 2007 campaign.

Argabright said the Spartans worked hard this summer and, "They’re ready to go."


Last Year's Race Results

2006 USF Men's Cross Country Invitational Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Calif.


8K

Team scores: 1. USF, 25. 2. Santa Clara, 53. 3. California, 64. 4. San
Jose State, 74.

Top finishers: 1. Ronald Tibaduiza (Unattached) 25:57.30. 2. Cheyne
Inman (USF) 26:12.50. 3. Ryan Courtwright (USF) 26:13.50. 4. Chris
Gumbs (Santa Clara) 26:23.50. 5. Eric Lee (Cal) 26:33.60.

San Jose State returnees: 11. Jonathan Gragert, 27:00.30. 15. David
 Haefele, 27:22.40. 16. Sean Dundon, 27:25.40. 27. Sam Wambugu,
28:09.90.

2006 USF Women's Cross Country Invitational Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Calif.


5K


Team scores: 1. California, 34. 2. USF, 53. 3 San Jose State, 57. 4.
Santa Clara, 79. 5. UC Santa Cruz, 159. 6. Pacific, 183. 7. San 
Francisco State, 193.


Top finishers: 1. Tiffany Hall (SJSU) 17:37.90. 2. Bridget Duffy (Cal)
17:43.00. 3. Rebecca Yau (Cal) 17:51.00. 4. Shannon Bell (Santa Clara)
18:05.40. 5. Jennifer Hartford (USF) 5:51.80 .


San Jose State returnees: 1. Tiffany Hall (SJSU) 17:37.90 6. Erica
 Sahli, 18:21.90. 13. Nisha Richardson, 18:46.60. 20. Annaliza Rizo,
19:02.70. 29. Jenna Hicks, 19:23.50. 32. Amanda Carlucci, 19:30.40.
43. Suzanne Hancock, 20: 02.40. 59. Lindsay Briner, 21:12.80. 65. Erica
Elias, 21:51.20. 66. Lindsay Bryant, 22:04.70. 69. Victoria Chavez,
22:51.30.

Note: Hall graduated in spring 2007.