A day in the life of a Westmont athlete: Meet Chris Hanessian

Caleb Soto, Staff Writer

Chris Hanessian finished with a time of 29:10.6 in the Golden State Athletic Conference  (GSAC) Championships for Cross Country. Unfortunately, he was unable to fully recover from being sick the week before. “Getting sick during COVID-19 has a whole new meaning,” Hanessian explained, “Thankfully, it wasn’t COVID-19.” Hanessian usually finishes in the top four for Westmont, so, by his standards, the racing while recovering from sickness was disappointing. However, this senior psychology major was pleased as Westmont took second place. While they don’t automatically move on to nationals in April, Hanessian thinks Westmont is ranked high enough in NAIA to advance.

Chris Hanessian was not fully recovered from his sickness, but he remained resilient and competed in the race.

In regards to the season as a whole, Hanessian remarked, “[It] has been one of the most satisfying and fun seasons I’ve been a part of, and this team is so special to me … I’m very proud of [us] as a team captain.” It’s been an unprecedented season, to say the least. Hanessian, who is on track to graduate in May of 2021, didn’t know if the season would even happen.

“It was hard to train for something that wasn’t tangible yet,” Hanessian said. He further explained that he and the rest of the team had been training since the beginning of summer, but with the hope of having a season, they “pushed through … training for each other.” Understandably, training as a senior not knowing if a season will even happen is difficult. Hanessian has run cross country since he was a freshman in high school, so his running career ending during COVID-19 was definitely not what he anticipated. 

“I, last minute, decided to do cross country … because I didn’t want to do PE,” laughed Hanessian. He doesn’t regret that decision. In his words, Hanessian calls cross country a taxing, rewarding, addicting and disciplined sport, even off the course. “You have to eat healthy, drink enough water, get a certain amount of sleep, and always make sure you are recovering for the next workout.” Any college student — let alone a college athlete — knows the importance of getting enough sleep, and Hanessian discussed his attempts at managing all of that as a student-athlete.

With a full schedule, Hanessian’s classes consist of behavioral neuroscience with lab, philosophical perspectives, design and implementations of solutions, fit for life and a senior capstone. When asked about how he manages classes, cross country, friends and his hobby of using his film camera, he replied, “I always tell myself to do homework in the morning so I don’t have to do it after practice when I’m exhausted, but I never do.” Cross country workouts consist of stretching, weights, core and, of course, running. The added element of COVID-19 created extra stress, but despite that, Hanessian thought practices felt “surprisingly normal.” In the end, Hanessian has had quite a ride as a student-athlete at Westmont.