Imagine a large group of women wearing uniforms of gold and blue, representing the Mills College Cross Country team. They are all running in unison, as a group, all breathing together, all of their feet pattering a conversation of encouragement to each other. Running with the intent to get the least amount of points awarded to their team, they run as ‘Strong Women, Proud Women, All Women, Mills Women.’
Doubling in numbers from last year, there are 22 women who make up this year’s cross country team. Out of six races this season, the team has taken 4th place overall in their Portland Meet, 3rd at the Mills Invitational, and first at the Pacific Union College (PUC) Invitational on Oct. 3rd.
Lupe Cazares, a junior and a co-captain of the team, led Cyclones recently to place first for the second year in a row at the PUC Invitational. The decorated athlete was also awarded the CAL Pac Athlete of the Month in September for the third season in a row. The CAL Pac award is a divisional sport award. All coaches in each division come together each month and nominate their athlete. These same coaches come to a consensus and choose one athlete to be given the CAL Pac award. Coaches choose the recipient based on the athlete’s performances at games and on improvements during the season. Men and women alike, as long as they are in the same division, can be nominated for the CAL Pac award.
“When you finish the race and realize you got through the exercise, you just think how strong women are. I just think about being a strong woman. It’s not even about the competition, but about being strong,” said Lupe Cazares, whose goal is to be strong enough to run a marathon before she leaves