Sports make most of WAC championships

While transitioning to NCAA Division I status, California Baptist University athletics teams are not eligible for postseason competition.

However, sports that the Western Athletic Conference champion does not receive an automatic berth to the NCAA championships are eligible for conference postseason. This means golf, cross country, track and swim and dive can compete for WAC championships in the postseason.

Rick Rowland, head coach of swim and dive, said this can be used as extra motivation for his athletes.

“It’s super-—motivation,” Rowland said. “It’s easier to motivate them than if we were to just do head-to-heads and not have the championship meet.”

Additionally, Rowland said CBU can compete in a national invitational meet  at Cleveland State University at the end of the season.

“Everything we have out there to attend; the athletes are extremely excited about performing at their best,” Rowland said.

In its first WAC championship race, the Lancer women’s cross country squad took home the title, becoming the first team to win a WAC championship for the university.

“People want to compete for team championships, that’s just the way that it is,” said Adam Tribble, head coach of cross country. “That was a nice carrot to have, and to actually win it, the women were really excited about it.”

This marks the fifth conference championship by CBU women’s cross country. Tribble said he was impressed the Lancers continued their streak despite the fact that six of the eight runners who competed were freshmen.

“New coach, new place, new training, new school, new everything, so to be able to adapt and adjust like they did is a testament to their talent and the work they put in this fall,” Tribble said.

Annet Somogyi, junior biology major, won the individual 6-kilometer conference championship. Somogyi said despite the fact CBU cannot compete in nationals, the team is proud of this season and is looking forward to the track season in spring.

“The women’s team is still a young team as the majority of the team is freshmen,” Somogyi said. “The ability to compete helped the team grow together.”

In the spring, the Lancers will have several athletes eligible to compete for individual conference titles in distance track. Tribble said this will help create momentum for chasing a team cross country title the following fall season.

Men’s and women’s water polo already competing in DI continue to play in postseason conference tournaments. Additionally, men’s and women’s golf will have a chance to bring home WAC trophies come spring.

While a majority of Lancer teams are temporarily forced to settle for chasing regular-season conference titles, these five sports have a chance to win championships and are already making the most of it.

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