Tanui, Seawolves defend GNAC crowns
MONMOUTH, Ore. – Senior Susan Tanui and junior Isaac Kangogo won individual titles, as the Alaska Anchorage nationally-ranked cross country teams swept the 13th annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship for the fourth straight year, Saturday at the Ash Creek Preserve.
The No. 5 women’s team captured its fifth consecutive team title – first for any GNAC cross country program – outdistancing No. 6 Simon Fraser, 36-49. Seattle Pacific finished third with 94 points, while Western Washington was fourth with 112.
The No. 8 men’s team, which claimed positions 1-through-3, became the first GNAC men’s program to win four straight victories after narrowly defeating No. 22 WWU, 32-35. Simon Fraser took third place with 114 points, while Western Oregon was fourth with 125.
Tanui, from Eldoret, Kenya, successfully defended her GNAC title with a winning-time of 20 minutes, 24.74 seconds for GNAC Athlete of the Year honors. The 2012 NCAA runner-up, Tanui became the first UAA woman to win back-to-back conference titles when she defeated WWU’s Katelyn Steen (20:31.99).
Furnishing all-conference honors were senior Ivy O’Guinn and sophomore Joyce Kipchumba, who finished third and fourth, respectively. O’Guinn, from Soldotna, earned her third straight all-conference award with a time of 20:32.67, while Kipchumba crossed the finish line at 20:35.05 for GNAC Newcomer of the Year honors.
Also scoring for the Seawolves were sophomore Jessica Pahkala (21:10.60) in 12th and junior Bryn Haebe (21:17.84) in 16th. Senior Susan Bick (21:23.02) finished 19th and senior Christi Schmitz (22:24.37) completed the 6K race in 40th.
In the men’s 8K race, the Seawolves went 1-2-3 with an individual win from Kangogo, a runner-up finish by freshman Victor Samoei and a third-place result from junior Dylan Anthony. Kangogo, from Eldoret, Kenya, became the sixth straight Seawolf to win a men’s title with a time of 24:51.27 for GNAC Athlete of the Year honors and his first collegiate win.
Samoei earned the league’s Freshman of the Year honor with a time of 24:52.14, while Anthony completed the course in a time of 24:54.09. The top-10 result was Kangogo’s and Anthony’s third straight all-conference accolades.
Also scoring for UAA were junior Kevin Rooke (25:18.65) and freshman Michael Mendenhall (25:35.72) in 12th and 14th, respectively.
The UAA women’s team bypassed SPU, which had four straight team wins from 2005-08. Humboldt State had three straight men’s titles from 1998-2000 when the teams were part of the PacWest conference.
The Seawolves will have a weekend off to prepare for the NCAA Div. II West Region Championships, Nov. 9 in Spokane, Wash. – hosted by the GNAC.