California Baptist University men’s and women’s cross country teams have been excelling in the season as their focus, determination, confidence and team working skills have worked to bring the team together.
Ben Gall, head coach of both the men and women’s teams, said he has seen major improvements from the teams as they grow physically and spiritually, while executing the goals Gall has set for them this year.
“Both teams want to qualify for nationals and I think we are in a great position to do that,” Gall said.
Although the teams may have what it takes to qualify for nationals, there is always room for improvement. Both individually and as a whole, the team is constantly undergoing rigorous training to strengthen their skills.
Valentin Robert, junior business administration major and runner, said he likes a challenge and looks forward to going up against California State University, Chico, in order for the team to stay challenged.
“We need to compete against them because they are the best in the region and have great runners,” Robert said.
An important part of both cross country teams is coming together and forming lasting spiritual bonds. William Ernst, freshman computer science major and men’s cross country team member, said he already feels the strong bonds needed for a successful season.
“I feel well connected with the team and they are always there helping me out,” Ernst said. “I feel like I have been a part of the team for a while.”
Along with triumph comes hardships. This year, there have been many injuries on the team that have prevented some meets. Caroline Barkechir, junior nursing major and runner, said she properly prepares herself before a race by taking an ease run.
“It is important to take care of ourselves, especially when we have injuries,” Barkechir said.
Claire Rainey, sophomore marketing major and runner, started off the season with a knee injury and said she is grateful for how far she has progressed.
“My team is like a family,” she said. “We all encourage each other and support each other. It is such a positive environment to be surrounded by godly women who help build you up not only in running, but in faith.”
The family dynamic that the team has created has paved the way for success. Already this season, several runners have picked up individual PacWest honors as well as Altura Credit Union honors.
The cross country season continues on for the Lancers as they travel to San Francisco State University on Oct. 10 to compete in the San Francisco State Invitational, the team’s sixth invitational of the season.