Chapman’s cross-country teams have a goal: to place fifth at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship.
Chapman cross-country has made improvements over the past couple of years and senior business administration major Jessica Selby has stuck around to see its progress.
“We’ve become more motivated to improve as each year goes along,” Selby said. “My first year, we just didn’t want to get last, but now we’re actually motivated to show that we can be within the top teams in the SCIAC.”
Assistant coach Rick Glenn said the goal of placing fifth in the conference is attainable for both teams.
“My goal this year is to finish fifth in the conference, which would be a huge step for both programs, but I think it’s doable for us,” Glenn said.
Last season, the women’s team finished sixth in the conference, while the men’s team finished last, in ninth place.
Along with improvements, the sport has seen a larger turnout since joining SCIAC, which Glenn said has benefited the program. Since joining the conference, Chapman has incorporated men’s track and field.
“We added track three years ago,” Glenn said. “When I first got here (three years ago), we had four guys, and now we’re at about 11-13 guys.”
Glenn says that without track and field, cross-country at Chapman is not as appealing, especially since many athletes that run cross-country also run track.
Such is the case with Evan Richardson, a freshman economics major who said that he runs cross-country to help with his events in track and field.
“For me personally, I’ve always preferred track,” Richardson said. “I did track all throughout high school and I started cross-country just my senior year of high school. So right now I’m still trying to learn the sport. My main goal right now is to just get in shape for track.”
Both women’s and men’s cross-country practice together five to six days a week at 7 a.m. Glenn said that the teams can run as many as 70 miles a week for the men and 55 to 60 miles for the women—at least during peak season.
Selby said her love of the sport has kept her going, since Division III athletes cannot have athletic scholarships.
“I did it for four years in high school and I kind of just did it for the sake of loving running,” Selby said. “It kind of takes a lot to wake up at 6 a.m. every day when you’re not getting paid in scholarships and things like that. So I just do it for the camaraderie of the team and for the love of the sport basically.”
That dedication is something Glenn said adds to his enjoyment in coaching athletes at this level.
“Most of the guys who are at this level just run because they love the sport,” Glenn said. “There’s no real advantage from a scholarship standpoint. Having come from Division I colleges, I love the athletes here because they’re running because they love the sport. They’re not here because I’m giving them a $20,000 per year scholarship.”
The athletes of Chapman cross-country will be attempting to reach their goal of fifth place Oct. 29 at Prado Park in Chino for the SCIAC Championship. The men’s meet will begin at 9 a.m. and women’s will begin at 9:45 a.m.