Cross country update

Cross+country+athletes+practicing+for+their+upcoming+meet.

Meredith Araujo

Cross country athletes practicing for their upcoming meet.

Annika Bahnsen, Sports Editor

After a successful 2021 season, the Westmont men’s and women’s cross country programs are hoping for promising results as the 2022 season is well underway. Entering this year, both teams were ranked in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) polls, making Westmont’s name a staple within the cross country community. Now, with three meets already in the books, the Warriors are looking to continue this legacy as the second half of the season commences.

Their opening meet — the Lagoon Invite — gave Westmont the opportunity to compete against our cross-town neighbors, the University of California, Santa Barbara. Although the result did not go in Westmont’s favor as they finished third out of three, the chance to compete against an NCAA division one program was what the Warriors needed to boost their morale in the following meets. Notable times of this meet were second-year Andres Leon finishing second place overall in this meet with a finishing time of 25:02.11, second-year Zola Sokhela finished fourth with a time of 25:30.07, and fourth-year Garret Miller finished in 11th place with a time of 25:50.41.

Following this event, the Warriors competed in the Vanguard Invitational in Orange County, CA. The invitational consisted of fellow Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) teams, which created a familiar yet competitive dynamic within the races. The Warriors finished third out of nine overall, finishing right behind Biola University and The Master’s University.

First-year Benjamin Wun gave insight into how the season has been going. He said, “The races have been fun to watch. We had some races at the beginning that were great and just seeing all the upperclassmen compete and show us the ropes was awesome.” Additionally, he commented on the team dynamic: “The guys I run with are super welcoming. It has been cool to see everyone become closer, specifically because of our community bonding at our retreat.”

Most recently, the Warriors raced in the Cougar Challenge, a meet hosted by division one program California State, San Marcos. Once again, Sokhela asserted his dominance and came in third overall, just eight seconds behind first place. On the women’s side, first-year Anne West has been leading the women’s team in times, finishing 19th overall with a time of 22:05.4. This time helped land the Warriors to finish seventh overall out of 17 teams.

The Warriors now look to finish the season well to land them a spot in the NAIA championship meet. Until then, they have three more meets to compete in, the next one being on Oct. 8 at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational in Claremont, California.

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