San Jose, Calif. -- The San José State University women's cross country team open their season this Saturday as it returns nine runners with meet experience along with three talented freshmen.
Under the direction of third year coach Brad Wick, the Spartans will travel to the University of San Francisco Invitational. Race time is 9:30 a.m. on September 5, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Wick is looking for a combination of returning letter winners as well as the incoming freshmen to comprise San José State’s top seven runners.
Within the nine experienced runners, five are letter winners from last year’s squad - seniors Jennifer Beckingham, Lalida Maokhamphiou, Diana Orozco, and juniors Melanie Fujiwara and Karina Nunes. Other returnees include senior Jenay Jauregui, junior Jessica Stacey, and sophomores Morgan Bailey and Miranda Dos Santos.
“Jennifer can definitely lead the way for this program. She’s come back in the best shape she’s been in,” said Wick referring to Beckingham who was the top Spartan finisher in three of the seven races last year.
“Lalida, Diana, Melanie and Karina are in good positions to help the team and show the freshmen how it’s done, how to train and keep pushing themselves. They’ll be very valuable assets to the top seven this year.”
The newcomers that Wick expects to make an immediate impact on the team include freshmen Adilene Aldapa, Ashley Cahalan and Jeanette Zambrano. The trio bring a strong set of credentials to the program - Aldapa holds the track record at San Marcos High School in the 3,200 meters (10:43), Cahalan has a 3-mile cross country personal record of 17:18, and Zambrano holds the 3,200 meters record at Bolsa Grande High School with a time of 10:48.
“It’s a big year for our program. We’re getting to the point where we have the athletes that can go out there, really push it forward and get over that hump from past years,” said the San José State coach whose team finished fifth out of seven at last year’s USF Invitational
Not Just Runners
Last year’s team was honored by the U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for outstanding team academic performance.
The Spartans were one of 226 NCAA Division I programs earning a Cross Country All-Academic Award for a team grade-point average of 3.00 or better and competing in NCAA regional or national championship competition. San José State was one of seven Mountain West schools and one of four California State University system nationally honored for its academic performance during the 2014 cross country season.
Keep up with your San José State women's cross country teams this season on social media!
Get highlights and upcoming events via Twitter by following @SanJoseStateTF
Get highlights and see post-meet pictures on Instagram by following @sjsudistance
The team is active on Facebook. See the workout and meet videos via facebook.com/sjsudistance