Women's cross country shows improvement in 2004

Ashleigh Nebeker was the top
Spartan cross country runner
in 2004.
For the women’s cross country team, the 2004 season was a year of development. The Spartans’ strategy was to allow young athletes to gain experience through competition. Although the season was aimed towards rebuilding for the future of SJSU cross country, it also brought some surprises.

"I was very proud of our women's team this year," added Argabright. "During the season we raced against six of the top 10 teams in the NCAA. We consistently finished in the top 50% of each race. We defeated our rival, Fresno State in every race as well as teams from Cal, Santa Clara, San Diego State, Sacramento State, Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, Pepperdine, USF, Saint Mary’s, UNLV, UC Santa Barbara, & Loyola."

For the first time in three years, San Jose State finished ahead of a Pacific-10 Conference member as the Spartans finished third in the 10-team USF Invitational at the beginning of the year. Newcomers Erica Elias, Erica Sahli and Lindsey Bryant each posted a season-best time as did sophomore Marlene Elizalde who placed in the top 35 runners.

"Sahli is very talented and has adjusted remarkably from running high school races to running against the top collegiate teams in the nation," said cross country coach Augie Argabright. "As for Elias and Bryant and Elizalde, they all continue to show improvement and are loaded with potential."

Three different athletes led the Spartans during the 2004 season. Senior Ashleigh Nebeker, sophomore Tiffany Hall and Sahli each posted respectable times throughout the year and went on to participate in the 2004 NCAA West
Regional Championships.

"I thought Ashleigh Nebeker had a great season" said coach Argabright who cited the Fresno State Invitational as the highlight of 2004. For the first time, the five Spartans who counted in the team scoring competition finished 5,000 meters under 19:00. "She was our top runner in every meet and has improved her times over all courses that we have competed in before. She is the team captain and has excellent leadership skills."

Argabright returns a solid nucleus looking to improve on the 2004 performance asserting, "I think we will have an even better team next year. We have 11 out of the top 12 runners back."