ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University men's and women's cross country team will set off on their first run of the season at the Biola Invitational on Saturday. With 10 underclassmen filling out the roster, the Panthers' youth will once again play a big role throughout the season.
Seniors Nika Cokas and Mia Hernandez will be two leaders on the women's squad as the Panthers embark on their first 6K. Sophomore Emma Eglinton also returns for her second season after finishing first or second for the Panthers in every 6k in 2017.
Every member of the women's team will be called upon to contribute with six runners on the roster. Sophomores Ryly Yee and Montana Jelden each scored for the Panthers a year ago with freshman Arabella Reece expected to join the pack and immediately contribute.
On the men's side, senior Jonah Soltes returns as the Panthers' most experienced runner on the course. Junior Drake Butler was the Panthers' top finisher a year ago and will look to continue improving in his third year with the team.
Soltes and Butler are the Panthers' lone returners from the 2017 men's cross country season with seven newcomers joining the squad. Sophomores Emerson Klump and Jose Guerrero could be immediate top contributors to the team as well as some of the four freshmen on the roster.
The Panthers were picked to finish ninth in a poll of the SCIAC coaches. Second year head coach DeAndra'e Woods will look to see continued improvement from meet to meet as the Panthers hope to climb up the conference standings.
By Julie Hawke and Steven Olveda
Sports Information Intern and Director