Spartan Cross Country Has High Hopes

San Jose, Calif. The Spartans return from altitude training at 9,000 feet in Bear Valley, Calif., and have set their sights near the seaside of San

"They're going to really be exciting to watch," said cross country head coach Augie Argabright.

The men’s cross country season opens September 1 with the USF Invitational in Golden Gate Park at 10:00 a.m.

Last year, the men's team placed fourth at the USF Invitational, hosted by the University of San Francisco. Jonathan Gragert ran 11th in the men's 8K race.

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

San Jose State returns second team All-WAC runner Sam Wambugu and team captain Gordie Throne.

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 Argabright.

Gordie Throne starts his third season. 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.

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 Rigoberto 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.

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


Last Year's Race Results

2006 USF  Invitational

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Calif.


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 Finishers: 11. Jonathan Gragert, 27:00.30. 15. David
Haefele, 27:22.40. 16. Sean Dundon, 27:25.40. 27. Sam Wambugu,