Six Westmont cross country runners were recently named Golden State Athletic Conference Scholar-Athletes.
Four runners on the men’s team, including Danny Rubin, John Baker, Chris Hanessian and Jason Peterson earned honors, as did Abigail Stadtlander and Alexa Gatiss for the women’s team.
Rubin (3.96 GPA, biology) of Carlsbad and Baker (3.73 GPA, kinesiology) of St. Helena, both sophomores, received the honor for the first time in their first year of eligibility.
Hanessian (3.70 GPA), a senior psychology major from Simi Valley, earned GSAC Scholar-Athlete honors for the first time after he was unable to receive the conference award last year having just transferred from Moorpark City College. He was still recognized as an NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 2019-20, his first year as a Warrior, officials said.
Peterson (3.67 GPA) and Stadtlander (3.87 GPA), both juniors were named GSAC Scholar-Athletes for the second-straight year. Peterson is an economics and business major from Santa Barbara, while Stadtlander, an art major, is a native of Boise, Idaho.
Gatiss (3.55 GPA), a sophomore economics and business major, earned the honor in the first year she was eligible for the award. The Campbell native also plays volleyball for the Warriors.
Student-athletes are eligible to receive the award if they are a sophomore, junior or senior academically and have been at their institution for at least a year, while possessing a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher. A total of 19 men in the conference received the honor this year, as did an additional 21 women.
The academic awards come after a successful GSAC Championship for the Westmont teams, with seven Warriors earning All-Conference honors and both Westmont teams placing second.
Cross country was the only GSAC sport to not get postponed until the spring, meaning these six Warriors are the only Westmont student-athletes who will be recognized this fall as GSAC Scholar-Athletes.
Women’s cross country has posted the highest team GPA of any Westmont athletics program for at least the past four years. The team has also been named an NAIA Scholar Team for seven straight years.
That streak of accumulating a team GPA of at least 3.0 for a given academic year is tied for the school record, along with women’s track & field, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. Men’s cross country has earned NAIA Scholar Team honors in each of the past four years.
Westmont men’s, ranked No. 23, and women’s, ranked No. 24, cross country were both ranked in the latest NAIA Coaches’ Poll released on Thursday morning. The Warriors are scheduled to compete in The Mustang Challenge on Jan. 16 in Santa Clarita, as the teams prepare for the NAIA National Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on April 9.
Both Westmont cross country teams will hope to receive an at-large berth to nationals, but Mitch Groff, Anneline Breytenbach and Madden Hundley have already qualified as individuals based on their performance at the GSAC Championship on Nov. 7.