PORTLAND, Ore. – Alaska Anchorage received eight of 10 first-place votes and is the favorite to win its fifth straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s cross country championship this fall.
The Seawolves return five athletes that placed in the Top 20 at last year’s conference meet including Victor Samoei (So., Eldoret, Kenya) and Dylan Anthony (Sr., Kodiak, AK) who finished second and third, respectively, to earn all-conference honors.
The all-conference award was Anthony’s third straight. He’ll have the opportunity to become the seventh male athlete in GNAC history to earn four cross country all-conference awards when the conference meet returns to Monmouth, Ore., on the campus of Western Oregon University on Nov. 1.
Western Washington, which earned the other two first-place votes and finished second in the balloting, returns three Top 10 All-Conference finishers from a year ago – Taylor Reedy (Sr., Poulsbo, WA – North Kitsap, 7th), Nathan Richards (Sr., Longview, WA – R.A. Long, 8th) and Jonathan Quimby (Sr., Ferndale, WA, 10th).
Alaska Anchorage, which has won five straight GNAC titles, came in fourth in the women’s balloting, despite earning 40 percent of the first-place votes.
Seattle Pacific, which won four consecutive GNAC titles (2005-08) prior to UAA’s title run (2009-13), and Simon Fraser tied for first-place in the balloting with 69 points, one point ahead of Western Washington.
SPU earned three first-place votes, while Western Washington had two and Simon Fraser received one first-place vote.
Central Washington, which finished fifth in the poll, is the only women’s team, which will have two returning Top 10 finishers from a year ago. Connie Morgan (Sr., Hoquiam, WA) placed sixth and Dani Eggleston (Jr., Hoquiam, WA) was seventh.
Simon Fraser’s Kansas MacKenzie (Jr., Vancouver, BC – Prince of Whales) placed eighth a year ago.
Alaska Anchorage got its season off to a good start last Saturday finishing first in both the men’s and women’s division in the University of Hawaii Hilo Invitational.
Nine GNAC Teams Ranked in Regional Poll
Nine GNAC teams are ranked in the first USTFCCCA West Regional poll of the 2014 season.
Alaska Anchorage is ranked second and Western Washington is ranked third in the men’s poll. Simon Fraser and Montana State – Billings are ranked seventh and eighth, respectively.
In the women’s poll, Seattle Pacific, Simon Fraser and Western Washington are ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Alaska Anchorage is ranked seventh and Central Washington is ranked 10th.
Chico State is the No. 1 ranked team in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
The NCAA West Regional will be held Nov. 22 at Billings, Mont. The top six men’s teams and the top six women’s teams at the regional will qualify for the NCAA National meet Dec. 6 at Louisville, Kent.
Men: 1. Chico State; 2. Alaska Anchorage; 3. Western Washington; 4. UC San Diego; 5. Cal Baptist; 6. Cal Poly Pomona; 7. Simon Fraserr; 8. Montana State Billings; 9. San Francisco State; 10. Academy of Art.
Women: 1. Chico State; 2. Cal Baptist; 3. Seattle Pacific; 4. Simon Fraser; 5. Western Washington; 6. UC San Diego; 7. Alaska Anchorage; 8. Azusa Pacific; 9. Cal Poly Pomona; 10. Central Washington.