The La Verne cross-country team recently began its season and with two invitationals under its belt the consensus seems to be that the team members are confident about the team’s future.
“We have a good team this year,” said Jacob Delgado, junior movement and sports science major. “We recruited the best freshman class this year.”
The men’s team is composed of three returning runners, two freshmen and one international student from France.
This year the women’s team is brand new. It is made up of seven incoming freshmen and one sophomore who is just starting this year.
Freshman runners Franklin Coopersmith from Idyllwild and Quentin Haggard from Nuevo are the new additions to the men’s team.
“Franklin and Quentin have brought a lot to the plate,” junior Michael Cordova said. “They have both really stepped it up.”
With men’s runner captain Efrain Partida graduating this year, Coopersmith and Haggard know that there are big shoes to fill.
“We know that Efrain isn’t going to be here next year, so someone has to fill his spot.” Coopersmith said.
Competition between teammates is inevitable but according to Coopersmith it is always friendly.
They all appreciate when someone has a good race and know it is beneficial to the team as a whole.
The women’s team is slightly different as compared to the men’s team. The whole team is brand new and very young.
“It’s really exciting, we are all freshmen and we are all going to be together all four years,” said Rachelle Hacman, freshman from Portland, Ore.
The incoming women are not only young but strong as well. According to Delgado, freshmen captains Bridgett Mitchell and Jacqueline Steele are both extremely talented runners as well as exceptional leaders.
“The woman’s team may be No. 1 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference within two years,” Delgado said.
This year the men and women’s teams are hoping to place in the top four in the SCIAC.
The teams have a rigorous practice schedule.
They meet at 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, and have additional practice at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays and 7 a.m. on Thursdays with each practice lasting for one to two hours.
With invitationals on Saturdays, Sunday is their only day off but they are strongly encouraged to run on their own in order to stay in a rhythm.
With all the time that the team spends together at practice, you may think team members would get sick of each other.
It is by far the opposite.
The team has great chemistry this year.
You may even see the team eating dinner together in Davenport Dining Hall after practice.
“All that we do is eat, sleep, run and laugh,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes we say that they pump laughing gas into La Verne because ever since we got here that is all we do.”
This past weekend after the Redlands Invitational the team spent the rest of the evening together.
“We spent all day together,” Delgado said, “We started at 5:30 a.m., did the race, went out to eat, took a break to take showers, then we went to Huntington Beach and had a bonfire. It was good times.”
Tomorrow the teams will be participating in the Riverside Invitational and Oct. 7 they will be running in the UC San Diego Invitational.
Jillian Peña can be reached at email@example.com.