PORTLAND, Ore. – The Alaska Anchorage men’s and women’s cross country programs each swept the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships for the second consecutive year, and coaches on Monday tabbed both teams to continue their impressive streaks as preseason favorites.

The men’s team – winners of the last seven conference titles who placed seven runners in the top 20 at the 2016 conference meet – received eight first-place votes and 108 total points. Western Washington (2nd, 95 pts) recorded three first-place votes, as Simon Fraser (3rd, 92 points) rounded out the top 3 in this year’s men’s poll.

Defending conference champion and All-American Edwin Kangogo returns to lead the men’s squad. Conference meet finishers Nathan Kipchumba (15th in 2016), Justin Carrancho (17th), and Kaleb Korta (42nd) also return, while five newcomers bolster the roster.

The women’s program earned nine first-place votes and 107 total votes edging 2016 conference runner-up Simon Fraser (2nd, 102 pts), who garnered the final two first-place votes. Seattle Pacific (3rd, 88 pts) completes the top 3.

UAA has won seven of the last eight conference titles, including the last two. Simon Fraser stopped the Green & Gold’s first streak (2009-13) in 2014.

Caroline Kurgat – who placed third at the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships – looks to retain her GNAC individual title. Seven GNAC finishers return this season as six newcomers or redshirts add depth.

The Seawolf cross country teams will compete at the 2017 GNAC Championships on Oct. 21 in Bellingham, Wash. for the third consecutive season, while the season begins Saturday, Sept. 2 at the University of San Francisco Cross Country Invitational at Golden Gate Park.
 

2017 GNAC MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY PRESEASON POLL

Rank Team (First Place Votes)      2016 GNAC Finish    Pts.
1. Alaska Anchorage (8)                1st (31 pts.)           108
2. Western Washington (3)                3rd (86 pts.)              95
3. Simon Fraser                                2nd (60 pts.)             92
4. Western Oregon                            4th (105 pts.)            81
5. Northwest Nazarene                      6th (178 pts.)            71
6. Central Washington                        7th (184 pts.)           58
7. Montana State Billings                    5th (157 pts.)           47
8. Alaska Fairbanks                            8th (211 pts.)           38
9. Concordia                                      9th (226 pts.)           30
10. Seattle Pacific                              11th (300 pts.)          22
11. Saint Martin's                              10th (285 pts.)          19

2017 GNAC WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY PRESEASON POLL
Rank Team (First Place Votes)      2016 GNAC Finish    Pts.
1. Alaska Anchorage (9)                 1st (45 pts.)           107
2. Simon Fraser (2)                          2nd (56 pts.)              102
3. Seattle Pacific                               3rd (92 pts.)              88
4. Western Washington                      4th (114 pts.)            83
5. Western Oregon                            9th (197 pts.)            64
6. Central Washington                       6th (188 pts.)            61
7. Northwest Nazarene                      7th (189 pts.)            45
8. Saint Martin's                                5th (139 pts.)           40
9. Alaska Fairbanks                           8th (194 pts.)           30
10. Montana State Billings                11th (324 pts.)           25
11. Concordia                                  10th (276 pts.)           18
Points awarded on 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.