Sac State cross country to host Hornet Jamboree

James Heck

The eighth annual Sacramento State Hornet Jamboree will take place on Saturday at Sacramento Granite Regional Park. The Hornet Jamboree is the only cross country home meet of the 2012 season.


Approximately 1,500 participants composed of seven to eight collegiate teams – including Sacramento State, UC Davis, Cal, Fresno State, Santa Clara and USF – 25 high school teams and unattached runners competing in the Hornet Jamboree.


Scott Abbott, assistant coach of track and field and cross country, said he is excited for the first home meet of the season because the cross country team is familiar with the course, often training at Granite Regional Park.


“It’s usually a really nice competition,” Abbott said. “It’s a course we like to just be aggressive on.”


More so than ever, there will be a different focus for the men’s and women’s teams heading into the 2012 season, Abbott said.


The 2012 men’s cross country team is composed of few freshman and sophomores, but is loaded with returning junior and senior runners. With that kind of veteran experience and leadership, the men’s cross country team has the potential to turn in a very successful season, Abbott said.


“I’m excited to see how our seniors really step up and take advantage of their last season,” Abbott said.


The goal of each race is to be as competitive as possible and compete to win, Abbott said.


“We don’t really know what other teams in our conference are going to be doing,” Abbott said. “We’re not really backing down from anybody.”


Junior runner Reesey Byers said he is looking forward to the upcoming cross country season and the challenge that it will bring.


Byers said he prepared extensively throughout the offseason and summer – running an average of 100 miles per week.


Byers said his ability to maintain his health contributed to the most consistent offseason training he’s ever done, which allowed him to log in such a high number of miles.


“I want to be all-American,” Byers said. “I definitely want to be one of the top guys in the region.”


But even with the potential of achieving his personal goals, Byers noted how cross country is not an individual sport – it’s a team sport.


“The bigger picture is the team,” Byers said. “I think we have the potential to make nationals.”


The 2012 Sacramento State men’s cross country team was ranked 12th in the preseason West Region poll by the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association.


Last season, Byers placed 50th overall at the NCAA Cross Country West Regional at Stanford – making his 10k course time of 30:31 the fastest in Sacramento State school history at the NCAA Regional.


In contrast with the men’s team, the 2012 women’s cross country team will feature predominantly freshman and sophomore runners.


Noting a stark contrast in the level of experience, one of the goals of the 2012 season is to find a way to merge the inexperienced runners with the experienced, Abbott said.


“I’m really excited with the young talent we have,” Abbott said.


The Hornet Jamboree will offer a chance for the younger runners to take advantage of their opportunities, Abbott said.


Although the women’s team features a crop of inexperienced runners, Abbott noted a strength they do have: depth.


By developing the young and inexperienced runners this season, Abbott said the women’s team will be considerably stronger in a few years.


Ashley Chavez, fifth year senior, is one of two seniors on the women’s team.


Chavez said she is excited to be on a team that is building for the future, but also expects the women’s team to compete to the best of its ability. She said is looking forward to the team stepping up to the challenge.


“I think it’s awesome,” Chavez said. “I mean obviously in a few years they’re going to be really good.”


Chavez said she is excited to compete in her final season at Sacramento State. She said she is eager to run in the Hornet Jamboree not only because it’s on home turf, but also because she has the opportunity to run her personal best on the course.


The 2012 Sacramento State Hornet Jamboree will start at 7:45 a.m. From 7:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., there will be a two-mile high school open race, a two-mile high school frosh-soph race, a two-mile high school frosh-soph girl’s race, a 5km high school varsity boy’s race and a 5km high school varsity girl’s race every 30 minutes.


The 5km collegiate/open women’s race begins at 10:15 a.m. and the four-mile collegiate/open men’s race begins at 10:45 a.m.


Awards will be given to the top 10 finishers in each division.


James Heck can be reached at [email protected]