Cross-country teams hit ground running

Elijah Hickman | Banner | The mens's corss- country team races competing teams to the finish line at the Ben Brown Innovational

The California Baptist University men’s and women’s cross-country teams hit the ground running to open the fall 2021 season with a perfect win at the Anteater Opener, hosted by the University of California, Irvine. The CBU cross-country teams swept both team and individual titles, repeating their dramatic sweep of the 2020 Western Athletic Conference championships. 

“We were obviously coming in tired, coming in on a pretty heavy load, and so I was pleased,” said Adam Tribble, head coach of the cross-country teams. 

Tribble said that the beginning of the race did not go according to the pre-determined race plan, but he was happy with the result. 

“I thought both teams did a good job of adjusting and adapting to things,” Tribble said. “When (the race) did not go perfectly, (they found) a way to get it done.”

Along with the team wins, CBU had two individual winners in Yasna Petrova, freshman international studies major, and Ivo Balabanov, graduate student. 

“It was my first race here, and I had never raced with so many girls before and I had never heard of things like teamwork during the race,” said Petrova. “That is what I enjoyed the most: I could communicate with the girls during the race and it was so pleasant.” 

Petrova won the women’s 4000-meter race in 14:06.8, while Balabanov won the men’s 6K with a time of 18:39.3. 

“I am glad that I could take the win because it is always a good start when you start with a win,” Balabanov said. “Also, I am glad that my team was in first place. It means that in the next races we will perform well against faster guys at the more important races.”    

Tribble said that seventeen different countries are represented on both the men’s and women’s cross-country and track teams. The team’s diversity allows the runners to bond around their shared and distinct national and cultural heritages. 

“I am very happy I could share the win with my teammate, Ivo, who is also from Bulgaria,” Petrova said. “I am very excited for the next races.”

The CBU cross-country and track teams will attend the UC Riverside Invitational on Sept. 18 in Riverside.

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