For the second time in as many months, Westmont’s Zola Sokhela has been named one of three recipients for the GSAC Runner of the Month award. While Sokhela ran in only two races this month, the reigning NAIA All-American came away with another pair of top-10 finishes to continue and add to his resume.
“In the last month, Zola refocused himself on running up to his capability,” said head coach Russell Smelley. “He’s done a good job of pushing himself, instead of resting on his talents. It’s been really gratifying to see him put that effort in, and become the runner he’s capable of being.”
First, Sokhela placed eighth overall in the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on October 8, finishing the 8K with a time of 25:24. Then, this past Saturday, Sokhela set a new personal record, completing the Titan Invitational 8K with a time of 24:09.
At the Titan Invitational, Sokhela earned third-place overall, while the Warriors won the meet after beating The Master’s in a tiebreaker.
“Zola’s focus has been quiet and direct,” offered Smelley, “With that, he expects the team to follow his example and that has really helped the group.”
Sokhela and the Warriors will have another opportunity to clash with the Mustangs on Saturday, November 5, at the GSAC Championships in Rocklin. Later on, Sokhela and the rest of the 22nd-ranked Warriors hope for the opportunity to compete at the NAIA National Championships on November 18 in Tallahassee, Florida.
“My hope for Rocklin is first and foremost that they give their best effort,” said Smelley. “They know they can compete in this race, and I hope to see them give themselves a chance to win this race by giving it their best.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.