PUC Student Drew Macomber Places First at Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Race

Drew Macomber is a senior at PUC studying fine art. When he isn’t in Fisher Hall working on an art project, you can probably find him training in the college’s back 40 property for his next big race.

While most students spent the weekend of November 4th studying and preparing for classes, Drew was winning the Rio Del Lago, with an incredible finish time of 16:41:43, a full hour ahead of the second place runner. This is a 100 mile endurance race that began at Beal’s Point in the Folsom Lake state recreation area within the Sierra-Nevada Foothills, approximately 40 minutes east of Sacramento. The race, which started in 2000, combines two popular trail races in Northern California; the American River 50 and Way Too Cool 50k.

Below, Drew shares his motivation for racing and what he appreciates the most about the sport.

When did you get into running?
I got into running about five years ago. But since I was very young I’ve been into things that are outside. My family hikes a ton, and we grew up near Yosemite. So hiking in Yosemite was something I grew up doing quite often.

What inspires you to run?
I love being outside and I love physical challenges. Running is also how I stay sane day to day. I just have a passion for being outside and pushing myself.

Drew running in the Bay Ridge Trail Marathon in early October.

What other races have you participated in?
I’ve participated in about 15 ultras in California in the past two years, 50k’s and 50 milers. This was the first 100.

How many races have you run in total? Can you calculate how many miles?
I’ve run 17 races total, that’s around 642 miles of racing.

What races will you be running next?
I don’t have anything lined up yet, but the plan is to do the Lake Sonoma 50 miler in the spring.

Drew running in the Rio Del Lago. (Photo by Facchino Photography)

Where did you train for this race? Did you use the college’s back 40 property at all?
I trained in the back 40, as well as in the Los Posadas State Forest, and a lot on the new Dan’s Wild Ride trail to Hennessy, which goes over Moore Creek several times.  

Is being at a place like PUC, surrounded by beautiful trails and a cross country tracks, something that inspires you to want run more?
Totally, the accessibility is phenomenal! Being able to run out the back door right into the trails is a huge blessing that I never take for granted. No matter how many times I’ve been out there, it’s always beautiful.

PUC Communication Major JJ Reynolds Honored at Annual SAC Convention

JJ Reynolds, center, with Tamara Wolcott Fisher, right, president of the Society of Adventist Communicators, and Dan Weber, left, communication director for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

Every year the Society of Adventist Communicators meets to bring fellow Adventist communicators together to network, learn, and grow as well as to celebrate great accomplishments of both professionals and students aspiring to work in the field. This year, PUC sent one faculty member and five students to represent the college for the three day event in Portland, Ore., October 19-21.

JJ Reynolds, who is studying multi-cultural communication and business at PUC, attended the event and received special recognition by the SAC.  

Congratulations on receiving the Honorable Overall Student Communication Award at the recent Society of Adventist Communicators conference! Tell me about your award. Were you nominated, or did you have to submit your work to be recognized?

I was not expecting to win this award. I believe Professor Michelle Rai, the chair of the department of communications, nominated me for it.

How does it feel to be recognized for your achievements?

It feels good knowing all the effort I have put in outside of school is paying off more than just financially.

Tell me about your experience at the SAC conference you just attended. Was it the first time you attended the conference? Did you find it to be valuable to attend as a student?

It was my first time attending the SAC conference. I didn’t know what to expect! I didn’t know if it would be workshops or speakers, hands-on or lecture based. I went because I love to learn and figured this would be a good place to start.

It turned out to be a great networking event for anyone who would like to pursue a career in the Adventist communication field and I would highly suggest for anyone in the field to attend.

You’re the video producer for the Student Association this year. What plans do you have for what you would like to do?

This year, I am trying to shed some light on what PUC has to offer as well as creating material for students. We currently are running a weekly series called “The PUC Moment” hosted by Pastor Mark Witas. The goal is to share a moment of inspiration and knowledge which is geared towards our PUC family!

I am also working on specific stories from each of the departments on campus. I am not sure how far I will get this year but I am hoping that next year someone will continue it.

You’re also involved in a lot of other things on campus. What other projects are you working on right now?

I am currently involved with the 5000Drops campaign. PUC has partnered with Water For Good to raise awareness and funds for the maintenance and creation of wells in the Central African Republic! To learn more visit 5000drops.com.

Pioneers Profile: Lydia Earles

Lydia is a sophomore opposite hitter in her first season with the PUC Pioneers women’s volleyball team. Born and raised in Kailua, Hawaii, Lydia attended Hawaiian Mission Academy where she graduated top of her class. She was the perfect combination of scholastics, leadership, and service to be awarded the 2016 Maxwell Scholar Award. “Receiving PUC’s Maxwell Scholarship has been a huge blessing for myself and my family,” she says.

Since her time at PUC, she has declared her major as health communication, was appointed president of the campus mission club Thaumatrope, became a student ambassador for the enrollment office, and befriended many PUC students. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here at PUC. I’ve made such wonderful friends that support me in everything I do. Managing academics, athletics, my social life, and all other things I’m involved in has been difficult but there is nothing I would change or do differently,” she enthuses.

Lydia’s academic achievements also have translated on the volleyball court. Lydia played four years of varsity volleyball at HMA earning division 1st team award as well as being the captain of her team, all the while playing volleyball for Kealahou Volleyball Club. Her volleyball influence comes from watching her older brother playing volleyball.

At the time of this writing, halfway through the PUC volleyball season, she has appeared in 23 games with 14 kills and has become a crowd favorite during home games. With Lydia’s influence within the PUC student body, there are many students who come out to support the Lady Pioneers. “Our fans are really important to us. It feels great to play knowing the sidelines are there to support and cheer us on. The energy from the crowd helps give us the energy we need on the court,” she says.

There are still several home games left in the Lady Pioneers’ season, so come on down to the Covered Wagon to cheer on Lydia and the rest of the Pioneers! The next home game is scheduled for Tuesday, October 24th, at 6 p.m. against William Jessup University. Visit pioneersathletics.com for a complete season schedule.

Meet Megan Weems, PUC SA President

Hailing from Medford, Ore., Megan Weems is a junior studying liberal studies and elementary education at PUC, and is next year’s incoming Student Association president. We’re looking forward to seeing her and her team’s energy and creative ideas in action.

We asked Megan a few questions about her experiences at PUC and her hopes for this upcoming year.

What are your plans for this coming school year?

Oh! Where do I even begin?! This next school year is the year for changes. My SA team and I have so many ideas/events/plans we want to implement. We envision everything already great about PUC but multiplied by 100. My team and I plan to be extremely intentional about making the students happy and encouraging PUC pride! We want to make PUC a place where fun is had, quality relationships are built, and bonds are made that will last a lifetime. #PUCFAM

What are you looking forward to the most with SA?

Family. The family in which we create within the team, that will then trickle out into to Senate, clubs, and EVERYONE.  🙂

What made you decide to run for SA president?

Truly, God put me in the right spot, at the right time. I ran for SA president because I wanted to do something a little out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. I want to be the change so, I can therefore make a change. I am so proud to be a Pioneer and I wanted to be in a position where I can facilitate change to make PUC a place everyone wants to be.

What is your favorite thing about PUC?

The people of course! We are beyond blessed here on this hill with some of the most compassionate, brilliant, and beautiful minds. I feel extremely blessed to be a part of this college community.

Why did you decide to attend PUC?

If we are being honest, PUC was not in my original plan. In fact, I was at Walla Walla University my freshman year, but something didn’t fit for me there. I was pulled by God (and my sister) to enroll at PUC and I found my niche here. I appreciate the experience I had at WWU but here at PUC is where my heart and home are.

So far, what has been your favorite class at PUC?

Any class by Tom Lee or Jim Roy. (Shout out to the department of education, woot woot!)

What was the last book you read?

“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.

What are some of your hobbies?

Singing, sewing, cooking, socializing, swimming, chilling, learning new things, doing anything exciting and new.

What advice would you give incoming freshmen?

GET INVOLVED and STAY INVOLVED.

How can students keep up-to-date with SA events and activities?

The PUC SA Facebook page, as well as our SA website. Stay tuned for more info!

 

Pioneers Profile: Kwuan Guerrero

By Andrew Mahinay

You can catch Kwuan Guerrero shooting hoops down at the Pacific Auditorium (PUC’s gym), playing Super Smash Bros., or applying literary theory to different texts. Guerrero, who is graduating this coming weekend with a bachelor’s in English education, began his basketball career at PUC the summer of 2014-2015. His mind was set on two things during his time at the college: The first endeavor he set out to achieve was his degree in English education, and his second goal was to be a powerful force on the Pioneers men’s basketball team.

Guerrero, who has received many athletic awards, began his basketball career at the age of 14. He fell in love with the sport and the technicalities behind it, and the team effort and team chemistry that needed to exist to be successful. His God-gifted height of 6”5 also helped make it possible for him to succeed in the sport. During his freshman year in high school at Hawthorne High School in Southern California, he averaged eight points a game. After three years, he transferred to Price High School, where he played his senior year. It was his passion and love for the game that drove him to play at the college level.  

When asked what influenced him to play basketball, Guerrero says, “I liked the challenge of getting better at things. Basketball helped me build the ability to stay focused, especially on my grades.”

His basketball career carried on when he entered college. He first played for Fresno City College, where he viewed himself as an “under the radar player.” After playing a couple of seasonal games, Guerrero caught a huge break when Greg Rahn, the men’s basketball coach at PUC, approached him with an offer to play for the Pioneers. After some deliberation and negotiation, Guerrero signed on to the Pioneers basketball team.

Although the limelight was yet to be on him, Guerrero worked on his craft, dedicating hours in and out of the gym, going into each workout circuit with intensity and making sure he kept a clean diet. During his senior year at PUC, he had to opportunity to be one of the five starters for the team. Soon, he began to showcase his natural strength playing as a power forward and a center. He began topping the stats, being one of the only players to average the most points, rebounds, and assists in each game. Guerrero helped lead the Pioneers to win the Cal Pac championship in February.

One of Guerrero’s greatest memories as a Pioneer is winning the Cal Pac championship. He said, “Experiencing such a moment with my teammates was one of the best feelings.” He is also thankful he was able to mentally grow as an individual and player this year.

The week leading up to the championship, Guerrero was named the Cal Pac Player of the Week due to his stats and dedication to the team. He helped lead the Pioneers to victory against UC Merced and Cal Maritime, averaging 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 70.5 percent from the field and 87.5 percent from the free throw line. Guerrero finished that week with a career high of 25 points and five rebounds against the Cal Maritime Keelhaulers. These wins placed the Pioneers in the third seed in the Cal Pac tournament, which they would go on to win.

Guerrero became a PUC Pioneer star, but he still remains a genuinely humble individual. He hopes to become a high school English teacher, and he is open to the idea of eventually becoming a college professor. He is also open to coaching for a high school team with the hopes of eventually becoming a head coach of a high school team.

In addition to succeeding on the court and in class, Guerrero also succeeded in making PUC his second home, “It’s like I’ve gotten so used to being here at PUC that when I go home, I miss it,” he says.

We offer our heartfelt congratulations to Kwuan and all the graduating seniors. We wish each and every one success and God’s richest blessings!

Pioneers Profile: Alexis Lyers

Meet Alexis Lyers, a senior who hails from Upper Marlboro, Md., and plays on the Pioneers women’s basketball team as a guard. We asked her to share about her experiences at PUC this past year, on and off the court.

What’s your major?

I am a communication major.

What’s your favorite class at PUC?

My favorite class at PUC is interpersonal communication. You get to learn so many interesting things about relationship and how people interact with each other on a daily basis. It’s super interesting!

Who is your favorite teacher at PUC?

I would have to say just about all the professors in the department of communication. I can’t choose one but they are all so great and so helpful not only in the classroom but also outside of it.

What made you decide to play for the Pioneers?

I’ve been playing basketball since I was 5-years-old. I’m originally from Maryland and one day I just decided I wanted to travel to the west coast and play basketball. At the time I wasn’t sure where, but after some research and lots of prayers I found PUC and loved the environment and my teammates.

What’s the best thing about being on the team?

I think the best thing about being on the team are my teammates and building relationships while playing a sport you love. I have so much fun with my teammates; we absolutely love each other on and off the court. It’s really amazing to connect with people on a personal level from all different parts of the country and all different walks of life.

Is it hard to balance being a student and an athlete?

Balancing school and being an athlete is extremely hard. You have a commitment to both to do well in school and perform well on the court and that’s not including practices, missing classes due to games, and homework.

What’s something you learned about yourself while playing this year?

This year I learned I can be a really good leader and role model on and off the court. I’m usually a person who runs away from the leader role and just hangs in the background, but I found out how good of a leader I am through my teammates. I also learned leading transpires off the court, when my teammates come to me for life advice or just someone to talk to.

What’s your favorite memory from this season?

My favorite memory from this year was coming back from being down 12 points to beat La Sierra University on senior night in front of my family and friends. I just remember my teammates all rushing to me after the game because we were all so happy.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself working for an NFL or NBA team doing public relations or marketing work.

Alexis with her Cal Pac award.

Jenna Peña, a Pioneer On and Off the Court

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at PUC made serious impacts on and off the court this past year. One player, Jenna Peña, has dedicated her summer to helping out with NBA point guard, Stephen Curry’s summer youth camps.

Jenna was kind enough to answer a few short questions about her incredible experience.

PUC Pioneer Jenna Pena with the NBA MVP and Champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors during the Stephen Curry Overnight Camp.

PUC Pioneer Jenna Peña with the NBA MVP and Champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors during the Stephen Curry Overnight Camp.

How long have you been working the camp?

I have been working with the Warriors for a year now, and I work with the youth basketball camps to teach the fundamentals of basketball.

Where are the camps held?

They are held all over the Bay Area. It’s really a great experience to work with the kids on their game, but also teach other values off the court.

What are some of the values that are taught to the kids involved in the camp?

We are there to provide the campers with both a positive and competitive atmosphere on and off the court. We emphasize the importance of hard work and a team-oriented mindset. We want the campers to bring out the best in themselves, which translates into everyone encouraging each other.

How is Stephen with the campers?

Steph is amazing! He is great with the campers he plays basketball with them, has meals with them and is genuinely a man of God. It truly is a blessing to see a NBA superstar so humble and with a strong connection with Christ.

For a look inside the camp, check out the video below.