The California Baptist University cross country and track team is having an exhilarating season so far, traveling all over the U.S. to participate in races.
Lancer cross country made a “historic sweep of WAC Championships,” according to the CBU Athletics website. In fact, we are “the first school in Western Athletic Conference history to sweep both men’s and women’s team titles multiple times.” said CBU Athletics. The men won their third WAC team title and women won their fourth WAC crown. Many individual players won WAC awards, as well.
“(The high point of the season has been) winning WAC team titles on both (the) men’s and women’s side,” said Jordan Pingel, assistant cross country coach.
Yasna Petrova, sophomore international studies major and a member of the women’s track team, commented on how the season has been going so far.
“We are in the middle of the season, right before the most important and exciting races,” Petrova said. “Our team has already raced in three different states. The last meet was pre-nationals in Oklahoma.”
The Lancers have participated in six races so far, receiving satisfactory scores. But the Lancers look ahead to the last three races, especially the NCAA Division I Championships.
“All of our races have gone really well so far,” Petrova said. “All high points. However, I believe that the highest point is yet to come and it will be the most important race, which is Nationals on Nov. 19. Both teams are ranked among the top in the nation. Based on our previous races, the women’s team is currently ranked 14th in the nation, while the men’s is 25th.”
CBU’s official Division I status is having a positive impact on both teams.
“We have had strong results both on the men’s and the women’s side in Division I races,” Petrova said.
“We are becoming more confident as we can meet and race with other top teams which are in Division I. Both teams have been improving since the beginning. I cannot wait to see what else we all can achieve.”
The Division I impact goes beyond the general to the personal and affects individual members.
“We are officially on the same stage as other DI schools,” Petrova said. “We can participate in the same races as I mentioned. Personally speaking, I have much more helpful experience compared to the previous year which I put into practice during the process.”
Lancers look forward to the season ending with a bang at the national championship. This year is unique because it is the first year that the team will have the ability to attend the National Championships.
“This is not the team’s first eligible NCAA post-season year,” Pingel said. “Last year the season ended at the WAC Championships, but this year the teams are now able to try and qualify for the NCAA Championship meet.”
Petrova shared a memory from the beginning of the season that serves as a great representation of the Lancers.
“My favorite moment was the start of the first race,” Petrova said. “My strong and beautiful teammates and I were at the front of the whole group, looking confident and eager to put into practice all the time and effort we had put in. Personally, it feels amazing to me to be a part of such a strong team. I want us to help one another and progress together in our shared passion — running.”
“Confident” and “eager,” the CBU Lancers press on. The team’s next meet will be the West Regional NCAA Qualifying Meet, taking place Nov. 11. If the team advances beyond this meet, the season will end on Nov. 19 with Nationals at Stillwater, Oklahoma.