2000 Men's Cross Country Outlook
Sept. 1, 2000
With over half the team comprised of freshmen and sophomores what the 2000 men's cross country team may lack in experience they make up in depth. Not only do the Aggies return seven letterwinners from the 1999 season, but they also bring to the table two athletes that previously competed for Utah State, who both have since returned from serving LDS missions. In addition, USU will add four freshmen to this years team.
After a impressive fourth place showing at the 1999 Big West Championships head coach Gregg Gensel has even higher expectations for his team in 2000.
"I think that we have good depth," said Gensel. "If the veterans put in the running that I believe they did this summer we could be a force to contend with at the conference meet."
Leading the Aggie pack this year will be juniors Jason Jones and Demetrio Cabanillas. Jones started out strong finishing as USU's top runner in the first three meets last season. He concluded the year placing 17th at the Big West Championships. Cabanillas finished in the top three for Utah State at every meet in 1999, including leading the Aggies at the Stanford Invitational.
Senior Nick Russell should provide Utah State with additional leadership returning as the Aggies top finisher from the 1999 Big West Championships, placing 16th overall.
Other returnees who will again make significant contributions are junior Jacob Johnson and sophomores Travis Dean and David Kunnas. Johnson competed in five meets turning in his best performance at the Utah State Invitational, finishing 16th. Dean and Kunnas both participated in six races for USU in 1999.
Athletes returning after serving LDS missions include Steve Prescott and Jacob Geyer who both ran for Utah State in 1997. Prescott concluded the 1997 season placing 18th at the Big West Championships, while Geyer had his best run at the Bengal Invitational, finishing 18th.
Newcomers to the 2000 Aggie squad include Mitch Zundel (Willard, Utah), Brick Bergeson (Blackfoot, Idaho), redshirt freshman Ryan Achatz (Logan, Utah), and true freshman Jesse Hodges (Covina, Calif.) and Jacob Jensen (Logan, Utah).