ANCHORAGE – The most dominant season in Seawolf women’s cross country history resulted in another honor for Caroline Kurgat on Friday as the senior was named the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Bill McKay Athlete of the Year for 2017-18.
The 34th annual award was presented at the athletic department’s all-sport banquet at Lucy Cuddy Hall on the UAA campus. Kurgat is the first Seawolf to win the department’s highest honor solely for performance in cross country, and the fourth women’s cross country runner overall to win the MacKay award, joining multisport stars (Ruth Keino, 2011), Mandy Kaempf (2005) and inaugural honoree Tiina Kantola (1985).
Kurgat became the first UAA woman to win an NCAA title in cross country, covering six kilometers in 20 minutes, 32.3 seconds – good for a 20-second victory – on Nov. 18 in Evansville, Ind. With her third career All-America and second straight podium finish, she led UAA to its third top-five team finish at nationals and was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Athlete of the Year.
The four-year NCAA qualifier earned West Region Athlete of the Year status following nearly a 40-second win (20:26.1) at the NCAA West Region Championships in Monmouth, Ore., and she was named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Runner of the Year, defending her individual title with a convincing 46-second victory at the league meet.
Also a three-time USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week (Sept. 5, Oct. 9, Oct. 23), she was awarded the Div. II Female Scholar Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA and was the DII Honda Athlete of the Year nominee for Cross Country.
Kurgat also won the DII Conference Crossover on Oct. 7 in Romeoville, Ill., propelling UAA to third place out of 34 teams, and opened the season in fifth place at the University of San Francisco Invitational on Sept. 2, trailing only four DI runners.
A nursing and medical laboratory science major with a 3.51 overall grade-point average, Kurgat also made the GNAC All-Academic Team for the third time.
Along with Kurgat, the 2017-18 Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year nominees were Darrion Gray (men’s indoor track & field), Keala Kaio-Perez (volleyball), Edwin Kangogo (men’s cross country), Olivier Mantha (hockey), Danielle McCormick (women’s indoor and outdoor track & field), Mackenzie Miller (gymnastics), Tony Naciuk (men’s skiing), Dominik Notz (men’s outdoor track & field), Brian Pearson (men’s basketball), Hailey Swirbul (women’s skiing) and Hannah Wandersee (women’s basketball).
The award is voted upon by a committee comprised of UAA Athletics staff members, local media, and Benton Bay representatives.
In addition to the MacKay award, the department also handed out its most prestigious internal academic honor Friday, with senior hockey standout Olivia Mantha and junior women’s Nordic skier Casey Wright sharing the 2017-18 Dresser Cup, both with 4.00 overall GPAs. A mathematics major from La Tuque, Quebec, Mantha won the honor for the second straight season. Wright is a health science major from Melbourne, Australia.
Team MVPs and other internal squad awards were also handed out at Friday’s banquet. SEE COMPLETE LIST
Bill MacKay Athletes of the Year
Year Winner Sport
2018 Caroline Kurgat, Women’s Cross Country
2017 Morgan Hooe, Volleyball
2016 Megan Mullings, Women’s Basketball
2015 Cody Thomas, Men’s Indoor & Outdoor Track & Field
2014 Micah Chelimo, Men’s Cross Country/Indoor Track & Field/Outdoor T&F
2013 Micah Chelimo, Men’s Cross Country/Indoor Track & Field/Outdoor T&F
2012 Taylor Rohde, Men’s Basketball
2011 Ruth Keino, Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field
2010 Calli Scott, Volleyball
2009 David Registe, Men’s Track & Field
2008 Luke Cooper, Men’s Basketball
2007 Rebecca Kielpinski, Women’s Basketball
2006 Kemmy Burgess, Men’s Basketball
2005 Mandy Kaempf, Women’s Skiing/Cross Country
2004 Peter Bullock, Men’s Basketball
2003 Tobias Schwoerer, Men’s Skiing/Cross Country
2002 Tobias Schwoerer, Men’s Skiing/Cross Country
2001 Ed Kirk, Men’s Basketball
2000 Edda Mutter, Women’s Skiing
1999 Jim Hajdukovich, Men’s Basketball
1998 Zuzana Razusova, Women’s Skiing
1997 Frode Lillefjell, Men’s Skiing/Cross Country & Elena Tkacheva, Gymnastics
1996 Allegra Stoetzel, Women’s Basketball
1995 Jason Kaiser, Men’s Basketball & Karen Hoey, Gymnastics
1994 Kerry Robitaille, Gymnastics
1993 Jen Szczerbinski, Volleyball
1992 Jon Pauole, Swimming
1991 Paul Krake, Hockey
1990 Teri Frankie, Gymnastics
1989 Michael Johnson, Men’s Basketball
1988 Robin Graul, Women’s Basketball
1987 Hansi Gnad, Men’s Basketball
1986 Teri Frankie, Gymnastics
1985 Tiina Kantola, Women’s Skiing/Cross Country
Dresser Cup Award Winners
Year Winner, Sport
2018 Olivier Mantha, HKY & Casey Wright, WSKI
2017 Olivier Mantha, HKY
2016 Marie-Sophie Boggasch & Simone Penker, GYM
2015 Anna Berecz, WSKI
2014 Teancum Stafford, MBB
2013 Ida Bjerka, WSKI
2012 Jaime Bronga, WSKI
2011 Jaime Bronga, WSKI
2010 Max Treinen, MSKI
2009 Raphael Wunderle, MSKI
2008 Heather McIntyre, WTF & Raphael Wunderle, MSKI
2007 Mandy Kaempf, WTF
2006 Stacy Edwards, WXC
2005 Stacy Edwards, WTF
2004 Stacy Edwards, WXC/WTF
2003 Tobias Schwoerer, MSKI/MXC
2002 Tiffany Massey, VB
2001 Jason Feeken, MSKI & Stephanie Johnson, WBB
2000 Jana Jagercikova, WSKI
1999 Morten Kjerland, MSKI
1998 Steve Carroll, MXC
1997 Elena Tkacheva, GYM
1996 John Smith, MXC
1995 Jens Beck, SWIM
1994 Wendi Jobe, WBB
1993 Tommy Rutledge, MXC
1992 Danicia Thomas, VB
1991 Greta Fadness, WBB
1990 Carroll Pope, MXC
1989 Carroll Pope, MXC
1988 John Davis, MXC
1987 Kristena Wyatt, WSKI
1986 Chriss Homan, HKY
1985 Tiina Kantola, WSKI/WXC