Stephen Pacheco (pictured above) has been focusing lately on Proverbs 21:31.
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord,” reads the passage that serves as Pacheco’s guide in training with The Master’s University men’s cross country team.
Saturday, the senior’s preparation turned into a time of 25 minutes, .15 seconds in the men’s 8K at the UC Riverside Invitational, and, Monday, he was named the NAIA Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week.
“It was such a blessing,” said Pacheco, who is the first TMU men’s cross country runner to win this national award since John Gilbertson did it in 2012. “I definitely feel the Lord putting his hand on me and the team this year.”
Stephen Pacheco’s mark in Riverside was TMU’s fourth-fastest time ever at the event, and it was good for 32nd place in a field packed with NCAA Division 1 talent.
The Mustangs finished eighth as a team, with the top finishers including Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Baptist and UC Santa Barbara. Pacheco was the second NAIA runner to complete the race.
“I’m extremely blessed to have the opportunity to work with Stephen,” said Master’s head coach Zach Schroeder. “He has been faithfully training for a breakout senior year, and we are really pleased with this early season result that points to big racing later in the year.
“We are striving to give God glory through this sport and seeking to use the platform of success to influence others for Christ. I’m looking forward to how Stephen will capitalize on this opportunity.”
Stephen Pacheco finished third last season at the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships, and he was one of 11 Mustangs who moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, for the summer in order to train at a level they hope will lift the program to a podium finish at nationals this season.
The work, to this point, appears to be paying off.
— By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director. Top photo by Darcy Brown.