Since sponsoring women's cross country in 1994, team members were limited to local races as individual entries during the traditional outdoor track season months of March through June. With the addition of women's outdoor track, the Spartans can compete as a team locally, regionally and in conference competition, for a conference championship, and qualify for the NCAA Championships.
"We are in an advantageous position to enhance our women's cross country team with the addition of women's track as our newest NCAA Division I athletics program. This decision will give our existing cross country team members a better overall intercollegiate athletics experience and we will be able to attract a more diverse and talented pool of prospective female student-athletes from high schools and community colleges," says San Jose State athletics director Tom Bowen.
"Right now, we are in the process of identifying a new cross country coach (following the retirement of former coach Augie Argabright) that also will be San Jose State's first coach of women's track. Our applicant pool is very talented and dedicated to making the Spartans competitive immediately in track and more competitive in cross country.
"Our plan is to give the new coach a full year's recruiting cycle to launch San Jose State University women's track. It's an exciting process and we are looking forward to big things from our track and cross country teams," adds Bowen. The recruiting emphasis will be to attract NCAA Division I-caliber female student-athletes who can train and compete in the 800 through 10,000-meter runs and/or the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Women's outdoor track is one of the most popular Division I programs with more than 300 Division I schools fielding a team. According to the 2010-11 NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates report, only women's soccer, women's golf, softball, women's rowing and women's indoor track exceeded outdoor track as a new sports offering. San Jose State already has championship teams in women's soccer and women's golf and a softball program that has two NCAA Tournament appearances in its history.
The Spartans' long-range plan does include enhancing the women's track program to include an indoor season. Like outdoor track, more than 300 NCAA Division I institutions sponsor women's indoor track.