Students show leadership skills on campus and field

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AJ Lacuesta -- Megan Smedley is a multitasking athlete who also participate in a leadership role.

Many students are attracted to California Baptist University for its successful sports programs but find themselves wanting to get more involved in other on-campus activities.

Several students decided to embrace the many student leader opportunities available on campus while competing in intercollegiate athletics.

“My goal to run is to make his name known in my sport and a way to do that is develop the girls on my team and help them grow with Christ,” Bailee Sawyer, cross-country runner, said.

Sawyer, the athletes in action intern for the Office of Spiritual life, was recruited out of high school to run cross-country and track. She became a Christian during her freshman year and later began discipling the girls on her team.

Sawyer believes her leadership position makes it easy to balance the two.

“Time spent with my team is part of my job,” Sawyer said.

Besides being out on the track or with her ministry teams, Sawyer can be found at Christian Challenge Thursdays at 7 p.m.

Sawyer’s leadership position and sport are closely related. Other leader athletes have found balance more difficult to find.

“It’s been a long three months and I have had to be disciplined,” Keith Jizmejian, water polo player, said.

Jizmejian, a junior, is a resident advisor for the University Place Apartments (UP) and is playing in his third season on the water polo team. He has a passion for the sport, as well as a desire to minister to others, and said that he does both because he has a “love of water polo, and [as an] RA I get a chance for ministry.”

Jizmejian explained the difficulty in balancing his 24 residents and the 24 guys on his Water Polo team, but he said, “If ministry is your mind set, there are huge opportunities in both.”

The long days and late nights are worth it to him because of the unique chance to impact the many guys he is in contact with on a regular basis.

Another student leader and aquatic sport athlete is junior Morgan Barrows.

Barrows is a First-year Orientation and Christian University Success (FOCUS) leader while participating on the swimming and diving team.

“I thought [FOCUS] would be a good opportunity to get to know other freshman, invest time into them and see where they are spiritually so I can help them,” Barros said.

Barrows came to CBU for the sports program but quickly found she desired to be more involved in the lives of other students.

Balancing FOCUS and swimming was difficult at first, but as the semester progressed it became easier for her to balance the two. She became more careful to avoid neglecting time with her students. Staying on top of her athletic commitment has been challenging.

One of the main things Barrows has had to learn is discipline.

“Discipline is one of the big things and teaching myself my priorities and trying to help instill that into the students that are coming here in a new environment and getting adjusted into the college life.”

Recruited to play volleyball and inspired by how others blessed him, fellow FOCUS leader Aaron McCalmont desires to pour back into fellow students as other students have poured into him. He chose to bless the new freshman while also being a leader on his volleyball team.

“Older mentors have poured into me and I’ve grown a lot since being at CBU, and I thought a great thing to do was lead,” McCalmont said.

McCalmont firmly believes God led him to join the FOCUS program. McCalmont believes that his leadership position and volleyball have a strong correlation with each other.

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