SALEM, Ore. – Alaska Anchorage track and field distance athletes led the way with three event wins and three NCAA provisional qualifying marks on the Charles Bowles Track at the Willamette Invitational, Saturday.
Junior Caroline Kurgat and senior Tamara Perez used provisional standards to go 1-2 in the 1,500 meters, while Junior Emmah Chelimo secured victory with a provisional time in the 5,000 meters.
Kurgat, the 2017 Div. II national cross country champion who redshirted the 2018 indoor and 2017 outdoor track and field seasons, returned with a win in the 1,500 meters in a blistering 4 minutes, 26.16 seconds. The time registered as the second fastest time in UAA history and is the best time in Div. II this season. Perez finished runner-up in 4:30.87, a time that is fourth nationally.
The 5,000-meter competition was dominated by UAA as all six Seawolves finished in the top seven positions of the 14-athlete field. Chelimo eclipsed the NCAA provisional standard (17 minutes, 14.52 seconds) in 17:14.06. Followed closely behind was junior Zennah Jepchumba in 17:14.70. The duo earned the two quickest times in the GNAC this season and rank 10th and 11th in Div. II.
Finishing fourth through seventh were Kimberly Coscia (17:38.91), Riley Burroughs (17:50.80), Mariah Burroughs (17:54.18), and Grace Gannon (18:01.40), respectively.
Fresh off her GNAC Newcomer of the Year award from the indoor season, junior Yemi Knight bested a field of 22 runners in the 800 meters. Her time of 2:16.22 is third best in the GNAC and 12th nationally.
Freshman Jules Ward grabbed second place in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, clocking 11:30.90 (third quickest for the GNAC).
Sophomores Marie Ries and Vanessa Aniteye represented well in the sprints. Ries was runner-up in both the 100 (12.52) and 200 (25.84). Aniteye ran well in both events (100, 12.86; 200, 26.58) and posted an impressive split in the 4x400-meter relay (55.506). The relay of Aniteye, Ruth Cvancara, Knight, and D’Rhema Alston finished third in 3:57.87.
On the men’s side, the 4x100-meter relay and freshman Brandon Nicholson led the way.
Oshane Hylton, Nicholas Taylor, Liam Lindsay, and Darrion Gray won the relay in 41.91. The time stands as the best in the GNAC this season and is tied for third quickest in program history.
Nicholson, from Wasilla (Colony HS), secured second place out of 15 competitors in the triple jump. His leap of 45 feet, 10.5 inches is a GNAC Championships qualifying standard. It also leads the conference and is third best in the UAA record book.
The men’s 5,000-meter squad recorded the top three times in the GNAC this season – Jorge Sanchez (fifth, 15:04.71), Henry Cheseto (eighth, 15:09.10), and Nickson Koech (11th, 15:11.90).
Hylton was UAA’s top sprinter in both the 100- and 200-meter dash. He finished in 10.88 (fourth, 100m) and clocked 22.66 (second, 200m).
Junior Daniel Remington (second, 400m, 50.38) and freshman Felix Kemboi (third, 1500m, 3:59.51) were UAA’s other top performers.
UAA continues its busy outdoor schedule next week at both the San Francisco State Invitational and Stanford Invitational, Mar. 30-31.
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