RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- The goal of California Baptist University athletics is to, "Honor Christ through excellence in athletics." Three former Lancers exemplified that goal throughout their time at the school and they were inducted into the CBU Hall of Fame this weekend because of it.
"This is a very talented class," said CBU director of Athletics Dr. Micah Parker. "Not only were they all successful at a national level, they were also very good academically. Each mentioned how their faith grew at CBU."
Russell Thompson, Candice Ulibarri (formerly Candice Thomas) and Vera Willis were three very different athletes, but they were all inducted together at a ceremony on Friday night in the Copenbarger Dining Room.
It takes time, talent and dedication to earn an All-American honor at the collegiate level. Thompson swam his way to 28 All-American honors while at CBU. Thompson swam at CBU from 2004-2007 and helped the Lancers to back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. The Lancers were national runner up in 2004 and 2005.
Thompson won seven individual national championships in his years at the Lancer Aquatic Center. He was also named the National Outstanding Swimmer as a junior in 2006.
Ulibarri excelled not only on the field, but in the classroom as well. She is one of the most successful pitchers in CBU history, a three-time All-American first team, and she is also a two-time Scholar-Athlete.
In her time with the Lancers, she led the team to four National tournaments and began a streak that is currently at nine straight conference titles. She was named to the all-conference team all four years and was conference Pitcher of the Year twice.
Ulibarri holds three CBU softball records with 121 career wins, 91 complete games and 43 shutouts. She is in the top three in 11 different categories.
Willis was a dominant volleyball player who was very visible at the national level. She took her play to a different level in postseason National tournament play and was named to the all-tournament team three times.
She was also named to the All-American first team three straight years. Willis led the Lancers to a national championship in 2005, their second straight. She was named the National Player of the Year that season.
Willis also excelled in the classroom, she was named a national Scholar-Athlete twice in her career. Willis was a nine-time conference Player of the Week, a program record. That is not the only program record she holds, she also leads the Lancers in career kills with 1,872.
"I think it is a great honor [to be selected to the CBU Hall of Fame]," said Parker. "The success that CBU has had since the late 1990s makes it very difficult to be selected."
Parker said that in order to be inducted the the CBU Hall of Fame it is important that athletes honor Christ with their ability and strive to do well in the classroom.
These three players represent what it means to be a Lancer and that is why they will forever live in the Lancer legacy as the CBU Hall of Fame class of 2012.