July 25, 2024

Constantly recruiting new talent to create a successful athletic program at California Baptist University is a never ending job for coaches.

Recruiting is a long process that can be exciting but also nerve-racking for high school seniors. These athletes can be seen around campus being schmoozed by their potential coaches. These are the up-and-coming athletes of California Baptist University.

CBU has so much to offer students. It is a small university with a family-style setting and the Christian-based environment is what many athletes look forward to. In addition, everything on campus is close enough to be considered walking distance and there is an unlimited food supply in the nationally-renowned cafeteria.

It should be noted that while the recruiting process may seem easy, the process can be very difficult for an athlete as they make the choice of where they will spend the next four years of their lives.

The recruiting process that athletes go through is one of the most confusing times of their lives. They are still in high school and are more often than not find themselves out of their comfort zone simply because it is something unfamiliar to them.

The mental endurance and physical pain an athlete endures goes unseen to non-athletes. The amount of hours athletes put into practice and exercising in order to be eligible for recruitment corresponds with the amount of success they achieve.

Current volleyball player Blair Penner says that his recruiting experience was interesting. Penner is the reigning National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Men’s volleyball player of the year.

“I was not heavily recruited coming out of high school. In fact, I had to red shirt during my freshman year here. Despite that, I have improved each year and I feel I have made a name for myself,” Penner said.

Water polo player Alyssa Birch faced an unusual path to attend CBU. She was a midyear addition that joined the team immediately for the season.

“I researched CBU and decided that the combination of my chance to play water polo and the Christian environment were important reasons to attend,” Birch said. “It was tough joining the team so late because I did not have that extra semester to make friends. I was literally just playing water polo.”

She has moved on to become one of the leaders of the team, as they have enjoyed great success being ranked in the top 20 in the NAIA last season.

“Oh, I absolutely love this school. I have great friends now and the Christian environment suits me well. I would do it all over again,” Birch said.

Similar to Birch, former basketball player Jordan McDaniel worked his way onto the team.

“I never thought about playing for CBU. I just went to an open gym and caught the coach’s eye,” McDaniel said. “I went to all of the conditioning and practices. I was basically trying out for them by going to all of the workouts.”

Although he did not get much playing time, McDaniel was very optimistic about his basketball experience.

“It was fun going through that experience. There were ups and downs but it was something that I enjoyed doing. I had to work extremely hard to get myself onto the team but for the most part it was worth it,” McDaniel said.

This is just the surface of what athletes must go through to make it onto a college team. There are other variables that fall into play as well, such as financial issues and performance-based rewards. These athletes have worked hard to earn their spots on the team and in the end, hard work is what being an athlete is all about.

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