The cross country season is racing ahead at California Baptist University with a talented roster this year, including Valentin Roberts, junior business major and runner.
Roberts hails from France and has been running cross country for six years. Roberts credits his start of the sport to his coach back home.
“I was a soccer player and my coach asked me if I wanted to try out for a (cross country) club,” he said. “I really liked it so I continued and now I’m here.”
Roberts competed at the national level in France, where he finished eighth in the steeplechase at the 2014 French 23-and-under National Track Championships. He also took 16th at the 2014 French 23-and-under Cross Country Championships. The success has since followed him to CBU.
In the 2014 cross country season, Roberts competed in seven out of the nine meets, and managed to be named to the All-PacWest first team, leading him to compete in the West Region and NCAA Division II Championship meets.
Already this season, Roberts has picked up awards for his performances. Recently, Roberts was awarded PacWest Runner of the Week as well as the Altura Credit Union Athlete of the Week. Roberts said the honors and accolades have been a fun experience.
“Every week PacWest is choosing one athlete who is best in all the universities,” he said. “I got awarded two times this year because I won the first race. It’s pretty cool.”
Ben Gall, head coach of the men and women’s cross country teams, explained that he first met Roberts when he started recruiting about two years ago.
Roberts expressed that he was fortunate to come to America, even though he did not know what school to attend at first. He said he had a good feeling about Gall as a coach and that was one of the main deciding factors.
“We have a really good program here,” Roberts said. “I like the team spirit. It’s really good motivation to know that everyone is working really hard and I am a part of this team so I need to work hard. When I run, I need to give everything that I have in my body.”
Gall said he appreciates that Roberts always wants to improve.
“Hard work is the biggest thing,” Gall said. “He’s pretty self-motivated and he’s a good influence in terms of his work ethic. I think the results he’s shown since he’s been here have encouraged others to follow suit.”