San Jose, Calif. - The San José State University men's and women's cross country teams will compete at the NCAA West Regional Championship in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday, November 11.
“We will be running our strongest squads of the year in Sacramento,” head coach Brad Wick said. “We are healthy, which is where you want to be at this point in the year. A lot of teams would love to be in the situation we are in so I think that bodes well for our chances.”
The field will be made up of 31 men's and 39 women's cross country teams that will compete on the Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento.
“(The West) Region is always very exciting because all of the California schools are in the mix,” Wick said. “They are teams we’ve seen throughout the season. There a lot of teams ranked right around us that we are looking to beat. It’s the last meet of the season before national. So for a lot of programs, it will be the last competition of the year and the last time to get bragging rights over your rivals. In our sport the only thing that matters is who is better at the end.”
The 6k women's championship race is scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. (PT). The Spartans will send the same six competitors to the line who ran in the Mountain West Championship two weeks ago; Adilene Aldapa, Ashley Cahalan, Camilla Hanson, Karin Nunes, Jennifer Sandoval and Jeanette Zambrano.
“For the women we are looking to be in the top half when all is said and done,” Wick said. “If we can improve on our 18th place finish from last year, which I believe we can, that would be a good day for us.”
The gun for the 10k men's championship goes off at 12:00 p.m. (PT) and the Spartans will have seven runners in the race. The same six from the Mountain West Championship: Ben Branagh, Josue Gonzalez, Craig Huff, Jose Piña, Raul Rodarte and Huruy Zeratsion as well as Evaristo Mateo.
“The guys were 14th last year,” Wick said. “Our goal is to do better and I’m looking for something between 10th and 12th place. There are so many points on the table so you really need a solid 1-to-5 to do well in a regional. With so many more competitors and so many more points on the line, and if a team can have a strong performance, they are going to finish ahead of a lot of the competition.”
The West Regional is one of nine meets that will be conducted on Friday to determine the team and individual qualifiers for the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships which will be held on November 19 on the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Courst in in Terre Haute, Ind.
Women's and Men's Box Draw Assignments
LAST TIME OUT
The Spartans last competed on October 28 in the Mountain West Conference Championship in Boise, Idaho. The men's team finished the 8K course in seventh place out of eight schools and the women were eighth out of 11 on the 6K race.
PIÑA HONORED TWICE
By virtue of his 11th place finish at the Mountain West Cross Country Championship, sophomore Jose Piña earned second-team All-Mountain West honors. He is the first Spartan cross country runner to earn all-conference distinction in the four years the school has competed in the league. Piña was then named San José State Male Student-Athlete of the Month for October.
LAST YEAR AT THE NCAA WEST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The women's team finished 18th out of 35 teams at last year's NCAA West Regional Championship in Seattle, Wash. Jennifer Beckingham was the top Spartan finisher in 59th place. Lalida Maokhamphiou (91st), Jeanette Zambrano (120th), Ashley Cahalan (128th), Adilene Aldapa (129th), Karin Nunes (180th) and Melanie Fujiwara (240th) also participated in the meet.
The men finished 14th out of 30 teams. Jose Piña led the way for the Spartans finishing 67th overall. Ben Branagh (74th), Jannik Ernst (86th), Josue Gonzalez (87th), Craig Huff (99th), Huruy Zeratsion (120th) and Raul Rodarte (126th) also competed in the meet.