Investing 25 plus hours per week into cross country alone, life as a college athlete is an adjustment. Running in practice and from class to class, freshmen Ilima Keung, Anika Gasner, Megan Callender, Brooke Arvidson, Kellian Hunt, Neysa Mains, and Alisa Murray have discovered that their transition from high school to college impacts the entire team.

Despite the difficult transition, the cross country team has unified well. Unity is crucial to the success of the team and to the success of each member of the team on and off the field. Unity has made the adjustment for the freshmen easier. Being apart of a team provides a  support system of people who have already gone through the changes that the freshman are experiencing right now.

“It’s a lot of adjustment because we’re all on a completely new schedule. New team, new bed, new routine; it has an effect. Just as freshmen, we have so much to learn already,” said Callender.

Starting their days off with early morning practice, followed by classes and chapel, recovering, and eating healthy, their routines are extremely time focused, making time management central to their daily lives.

“You have to be really focused on your academics as well as your training,” Hunt said.

Upperclassmen have assisted in this transition. Although they all have their different routines and class schedules, somehow the team is extremely unified.  

“We’re all coming together as a team with a new environment. We had to come and trust each other and know that we’re all dedicated,” Murray said.

The girls say that they could not have done it without God. The transition has been a lot easier because they find strength in Him and their teammates. Unity with their sisters in Christ has played a role in making their transition smoother as well. The older girls on the team hold bible studies as a way to connect and get to know their teammates.

“We run for God. He’s the source of our strength and determination. One of the reasons we’re so unified is because we all have that common faith. We just won the GSAC tournament and we just give that all to God,” Callender said.

The biggest aspects of their success is hard work, dedication, unity, and God. All of these factors have contributed to three of their first place wins and their tenth place finish at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes National Championship. Four women from the team earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete Honors as well.  

The source of their success can be summed up in their team verse, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in  the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Written by Sarah Enriquez, Media Relations Intern. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations coordinator, at 562.777.4061 or