With the Seattle University athletic teams about to begin play within their new conference, starting with the volleyball team hosting New Mexico State Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Connolly Center, GoSeattleU.com is featuring a series of 10 articles introducing Redhawk fans to the 2012-13 membership of the Western Athletic Conference. This is the ninth in the series of stories about the current WAC schools.
San Jose State University, also known as San Jose State or SJSU, is a public university located in San Jose, Calif., and was established in 1857. It is the founding campus of the California State University system and is the oldest public institution of higher education on the west coast. SJSU is located in downtown San Jose and enrolls approximately 31,000 students in over 130 different bachelor's and master's degree programs. Their student population is one of the most ethnically diverse in the nation, with the highest foreign student enrollment of all master's institutions in the United States. Famous alumnae of San Jose State include musician Stevie Nicks, NFL Hall of Famer Bill Walsh, and Google Senior Vice President Omid Kordestani.
The San Jose State Spartans support 16 varsity sports, 13 of which Seattle U teams will face throughout the 2012-13 school year. The school offers six men's sports, five of which Seattle U also offers, and ten women's sports, eight of which Seattle U also offers. SJSU has been a member of the Western Athletic Conference since 1996 and will move to the Mountain West Conference after the 2012-13 season.
The Spartans finished 9-22 in 2011-12 and 1-13 in conference play. James Kinney, who returns for his senior season, led the team in scoring, averaging 15.8 ppg and two other players (Wil Carter and Keith Shamburger) also averaged in double scoring figures. In the postseason, they fell in the quarterfinals of the WAC tournament to Nevada, 54-44. Following the season, Carter signed with Den Bosch, a Dutch professional team. In June, the men's basketball team was one of eight other teams at San Jose State to reach an all-time high for superior APR (Academic Progress Rate) scores. Freshman Mike VanKirk, standing at 7'1'' and only the second seven-footer in school history, and 6-foot-11 junior Alex Brown, will serve as "twin towers" in the post for the Spartans in 2012-13. Led by head coach George Nessman in his eighth season, the Spartans will first face the Redhawks in San Jose on Saturday, Jan. 5 and will travel to Seattle on Thursday, Jan. 31.
San Jose State women's basketball finished last season with an 11-19 overall record and 6-8 conference record. Brittany Johnson led the team in scoring, averaging 20.1 ppg and 8.1 rebounds per game. Myesha Broaden led the team in blocks with 35 and Sara Plavljanin led SJSU with 109 assists and 53 steals. The team will look to newcomers and new leadership, as all three graduated after the 2011-12 season. In the Western Athletic Conference tournament, the Spartans fell to Idaho in the quarterfinals, 67-63. Plavljanin was one of three Spartans honored as 2012 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars for excelling both in the classroom and on the court. Head coach Tim La Kose was named WAC Coach of the Year in his first season and led SJSU to the fifth-best win/loss turnaround in the NCAA, as their 11 total wins were the most in a season for the team since 2005-06. Johnson also finished the season as the WAC's leading scorer, 19th leading scorer in the nation, and received First-Team All-WAC honors. Freshman Ta'Rea Cunnigan emerged as the leading scorer among freshman in the WAC and was named to the All-Freshman team. La Kose will look to continue his team's improvement and will first lead them versus the Redhawks on Saturday, Jan. 5 at the Connolly Center, before Seattle U heads to San Jose on Thursday, Jan. 31.
The baseball team finished 2012 with a 22-29 record and 5-13 record in WAC play. Then-freshman Jon Nelson led the team with a .350 avg. and then-sophomore Matt Lopez led with a .322 avg. among players who played at least half of the contests. Lopez also recorded 19 runs on 37 hits, nine doubles, one triple, and 18 RBIs. In the circle, then-freshman Johnny Melero led the Spartans with a 3.03 ERA, 13 starts, and two complete games. Former associate head coach at the University of Washington, Dave Nakama, was recently named new head coach of the Spartans, as former head coach Sam Piraro retired after 25 years. Right-handed pitcher Zack Jones was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the fourth round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Players Draft, marking the 11th Spartan to be picked in the first 10 rounds, and the second in as many years. Utility player Mike Aldrete was also drafted in the 39th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. In their final games of the 2012 season, the Spartans completed a three-game sweep of New Mexico State, culminating in a seven-inning, 15-2, victory on Senior Day. With Nakama at the helm in his first season, the Spartans will face the Redhawks in spring 2013 for a three-game series. SJSU faced Seattle U last season on Mar. 23-24, for a three-game series that the Spartans won 2-1.
Cross-Country (Men's and Women's)
The team ended the 2011 regular season at the Bronco Invitational, where the men finished seventh and the women finished 10th. At the WAC championships, the men and women both finished sixth. Juan Ruiz was the team's top finisher at the conference championships, finishing the course in 27th place with a time of 27:31.2. On the women's side, Aylin Mejia (21st) and Elizabeth Raymond (24th) both placed in the top 25, finishing the 5K course in 19:28.8 and 19:38.3, respectively. Mejia, currently a junior, is the only one of the top conference finishers who returns in 2012. Letiwe Patton, a cross-country conference champion, All-American in the steeplechase, and a national record-holder in her native country of Zimbabwe, joined the coaching staff as an assistant coach prior to this season. The teams have competed only once thus far in 2012, with the men finishing ninth out of 17 and the women's team finishing seventh out of 19, at the USF Invitational. Head coach Ron Davis, in his first season coaching at his alma mater, will lead SJSU runners versus Seattle U runners for the first time at the WAC Championships in Ruston, La. on Saturday, Oct. 27. Davis was an NCAA Cross-Country Champion for the Spartans in 1962 and still ranks in the top-10 in school history in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Men's golf is the reigning WAC champion, as the Spartans captured their first conference team title in 2011-12. Then-senior Jay Myers became the second consecutive individual conference champion for SJSU, as he recorded his first individual win of the season and second of his career. Myers led the team with a 71.38 average over the season in 39 rounds of play. The Spartans won three other team titles over the season, opening the year with three straight, at the Washington State Invitational, Dash Thomas Memorial Invitational, and the Wolf Pack Classic. They finished the season placing 11th out of 13 at the NCAA Stanford Regional. Individually, Myers led SJSU, tying for 18th overall. The 2012-13 squad opens the season at the Washington State Invitational in Pullman, Wash. on Sept. 10-11. The team also received votes in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I College Preseason Coaches' Poll. Led by head coach John Kennaday in his eighth season at his alma mater, the Redhawks and Spartans will first meet at the WAC Championships at the Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nev. from Monday Apr. 29 - May 1, 2013.
San Jose State women's golf peaked at just the right time in 2011-12, as they took home their fourth consecutive WAC championship, marking their first team title of the year. Jennifer Brumbaugh led the team, finishing third overall, and was named First-Team All-WAC. At the NCAA West Regional, they finished 17th out of 24 teams, led again by Brumbaugh who finished 45th overall. Brumbaugh returns for her redshirt senior season in 2012-13. This year's team opens the season at Colonel Wollonberg's Ram Classic in Fort Collins, Colo. on Sept. 10-11. Led by head coach John Dormann in his 15th season, the Redhawks and Spartans will face at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, hosted by the University of Washington, in Redmond on Oct. 8-10 before facing at the WAC Championships in Mesa, Ariz. from Monday Apr. 22 - Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2013.
Though neither Denver nor Seattle U men's soccer are members of the WAC, they are both members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) in the Pacific Division. The Spartans ended 2011 with a 9-8-3 overall record and a 5-5-0 conference record. Their season ended at the hands of No. 1 New Mexico in the MPSF semifinals, as they fell 3-0. Then-junior Nick Murphy was named to the NSCAA DI Scholar All-West Region Team and then-junior Steven Sanchez was named to the 2011 Continental Tires/NSCAA DI All-Far West Regional Team. Sanchez and Roberto Casteneda were named to the MPSF All-Championship Tournament Team, Jonathan Lester, Sanchez, and Nick Cashmere received all-conference honors, and Nick Murphy, Omri Brinner, Dan Addiego, and Austin Vogt earned All-Academic MPSF Scholar-Athlete honors. Sanchez and Cashmere led the 2011 team with seven goals apiece. Sanchez also recorded five assists, 19 points, and 45 shots, while Cashmere had three assists, 17 points, and 59 shots. In 2012, the Spartans were chosen to finish fifth in the MPSF preseason coaches' poll. They've started out with a 1-2-0 record, falling in both home contests versus San Francisco and Cal Poly, and winning their recent road match versus Santa Clara. Head coach Gary St. Clair, in his 23rd season, will lead the Spartans as they face Seattle U in Seattle on Sunday, Sept. 30 before hosting the Redhawks on Saturday, Nov. 3 on their Senior Day. The two teams will also have the chance to face in the MPSF Championships Thursday, Nov. 8 - Sunday, Nov. 11.
Finishing 2011 with a 6-12-1 overall record and a 4-2-1 conference record, the San Jose State women's soccer team looks to surprise people, as they were chosen to finish fourth in the preseason WAC poll by the league's head coaches. In 2011, then-junior Kelsey Lord led the team with six goals, five assists, 17 points, and 40 shots. Then-senior goalkeeper Meghan Maiwald started 18 games, making 19 appearances, recording three shutouts and 104 saves. Their 2011 season ended in the first round of the WAC tournament with a loss to Idaho, 2-1. Lord, Maiwald, then-senior Jessica Ingram, and then-senior Lauren Sanchez all received All-WAC Honors. The 2012 Spartans are currently 2-4-1, topping CSU Bakersfield and Pacific. Led by fifth-year head coach Jeff Leightman, the Spartans will host the Redhawks on Sunday, Oct. 14.
Spartan softball finished the 2012 season 28-28 overall and 9-10 in WAC play, falling to Fresno State, 4-3, in eight innings in the WAC championships to bring their season to a close. Then-freshman Michelle Cox led the team with a .366 avg., scoring 36 runs on 60 hits, as well as seven doubles, three triples, and 13 RBIs. Then-redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Amanda Pridmore led the pitching staff with a 2.08 ERA and an 18-15 record. Pridmore was named to the All-Tournament Team at the 2012 WAC Softball Tournament and both Pridmore and Cox received All-WAC Honors (First-Team and Second-Team, respectively). In the offseason, Cox represented Australia at the World Cup of Softball. Seventh-year head coach Peter Turner will lead SJSU versus Seattle U in a three-game series in spring 2013.
Women's Swimming & Diving
San Jose State women's swimming and diving will look to defend their conference title in 2012-13, as they finished first at the WAC Swimming & Diving Championships in February 2012. On March 15-17, then-junior Marisa DeWames represented the team at the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championship. DeWames, Kiley Foster, Erika Harvey, Kirsten Trammell, and Darcie Anderson competed in the Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb. during summer 2012. The team will open the season at Stanford on Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. Led by eighth-year head coach Sage Hopkins, San Jose State and Seattle U will first meet at the WAC Championships in San Antonio, Texas on Wednesday, Feb. 27 - Saturday, Mar. 2.
SJSU women's tennis finished the 2011-12 season with a 13-7 overall record and 3-2 conference record, led by then-junior Chau Truong with a 18-14 overall singles record and then-freshman Isadora Busch with a 16-12 overall singles record. Then-sophomore Sabastiani Leon Chao went 10-7 at the No. 1 singles spot. In doubles play, the duo of Chao and then-freshman Erica Medlin led with a 12-6 overall record and 12-4 dual record. Earning a No. 5 seed heading into the WAC Championships, the Spartans fell to New Mexico State, 4-2, in the first round. Leon Chao and Medlin earned First Team All-WAC Singles honors and Leon Chao/Medlin earned Second Team All-WAC Doubles recognition. Head coach Sylvain Malroux, in his second year at the helm, will lead the Spartans versus the Redhawks on Friday, Mar. 29 in San Marcos, Texas.
Led by Savanah Leaf with 257 kills and Alex Akana with 86 blocks, Spartan volleyball posted a 12-17 overall record and a 6-8 conference record in 2011. Last season ended in the first round of the WAC Tournament for San Jose State, as New Mexico State topped the Spartans, 3-0. Akana picked up right where she left off last season, as she and Kylie Miraldi were named to the Second-Team All-WAC Volleyball Team at the end of last season, and she was also named to the Preseason All-WAC Team. To start 2012, the team was picked to finish seventh in the preseason conference poll, and they are currently 4-5. Individually, Mary Alice O'Reilly already leads with 100 kills and 37 blocks in the first nine games of the season. In his sixth season leading his alma mater, head coach Oscar Crespo and the Spartans will host the Redhawks on Saturday, Sept. 22 and will make a trip to Seattle on Thursday, Oct. 18.
The San Jose State athletic department also sponsors football, gymnastics, and women's water polo, which the Seattle U athletics department does not sponsor. Seattle U, on the other hand, also sponsors men's swimming and diving, men's tennis, men's and women's track & field, and women's rowing that the Spartans do not sponsor.
2012 marks Seattle University's first year in the Western Athletic Conference and first year as a full NCAA Division I member since 1980. For current information on these events and other Seattle University athletics news, visit GoSeattleU.com.