This summer, multiple California Baptist University athletes signed professional contracts, adding to the growing list of former Lancers already living out their athletic dreams at the professional level.
Major League Baseball draft picks Justin Montgomery and Dylan Stowell, along with free agent Andrew Bernstein, became the latest Lancers to turn pro. There are now nine former CBU baseball players currently playing professionally.
“I like to stay up with their journey because Minor League Baseball is a grind; it takes a toll on them. Some days are euphoric and others taxing,” said Gary Adcock, head baseball coach. “I want to be there for them.”
In addition, former Lancer Trevor Oaks made his MLB debut in April, becoming the first CBU alumnus to play in a major league game.
Adcock was able to witness Oaks’ debut in-person as he made the trip to watch his former player perform at the highest level of baseball.
“I probably embarrased myself, actually,” Adcock said. “I was like a 5-year-old taking pictures, waving from the stands, pacing around. It was a great day for Trevor, his family, CBU and the baseball program.”
Stowell took advantage of his teammates’ success by getting advice from Lancers who had already turned pro.
“Seeing my teammates go pro early in my career just kept me positive and optimistic that if I worked hard, I could get to that point,” Stowell said.
CBU volleyball also boasted two new professional athletes this summer with Lauren Hackett and Sydney Kralj choosing to continue their volleyball careers in Germany.
“It just reinforces my belief that if people want something, they can figure out a way to do it,” said Branden Higa, head volleyball coach. “I’m just incredibly proud of both of them for the decision to pursue it.”
Meanwhile, former CBU soccer standout Aiden Apodaca was drafted by Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union. Apodaca’s teammate, Joey Chica, also signed a contract to play professional soccer in the United States this summer.
Kalidou Diouf, former basketball player at CBU, and Johnny Lotero, former men’s water polo player, both signed contracts to continue their athletic careers beyond college.
Diouf signed with the Hanau White Wings in Germany and will begin his season on Sept. 22. Lotero landed with a professional water polo club in Switzerland.
Adcock said he is not surprised the Athletics Department at CBU is producing a growing number of professional athletes in recent years.
“It starts with motivated athletes and coaching staffs targeting quality players,” Adcock said. “Then, a university that gives those coaches the resources to develop those skills in an environment that is conducive to growth.”
With the 2018-19 athletic season underway, many senior Lancers will look to join the ranks of professional athletes after their graduation.