WHAT: Ash Creek Invitational
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. ADT (women) and 4:45 p.m. ADT (men)
WHERE: Monmouth, Ore. - Hosted by Western Oregon Univ. at Ash Creek Cross Country Course

ON TAP: The No. 5 Alaska Anchorage men’s and No. 7 women’s cross country programs return to action at the Ash Creek Invitational in Monmouth, Ore., on Friday, Sept. 8 ... the women begin with 4.4 kilometers at 4 p.m. ADT, while the men complete 6.6 kilometers at 4:45 p.m. ADT.

COURSE INFO AND WEATHER REPORT: The course is relatively flat and grassy ... race weather is expected to be in the upper 70s and partly cloudy, according to The Weather Channel’s online forecast on Tuesday ... air quality in the area has forced cancellations of other events ... the Simon Fraser women and Southern Oregon men won this event in 2016 ... the meet will preview portions of the course that will be run at West Region Championships, Nov. 4.

SEAWOLVES PLACE WELL AGAINST D-I FOES IN SEASON OPENER: The Alaska Anchorage men’s and women’s cross country teams competed as the lone Division II team at the University of San Francisco Invitational, with the No. 7 women’s team finishing third and the No. 5 men’s team claiming fourth at Golden Gate Park on Saturday ... senior Caroline Kurgat and freshman Felix Kemboi were the top Seawolf finishers in their respective races, each placing fifth in 90-degree temperatures ... the University of San Francisco women, who entered No. 10 in the Division I preseason rankings, won with 18 points ... San Jose State finished second (56 pts) ahead of UAA (3rd, 82 pts), California (4th, 92 pts) and Santa Clara (5th, 115 pts) ... Kurgat – a two-time cross country All American – ran a 6K time of 21:39.28 seconds for fifth place ... USF claimed the top four spots with Weronika Pyzik grabbing the individual victory in 21:31.67 ... sophomore Emmah Chelimo, who finished her first race as a Seawolf after redshirting in 2016, placed 18th in 23:16.10 ... junior Kimberly Coscia cracked the top 20 of 50 finishers in 23:20.13 ... junior Zennah Jepchumba (26th, 23:44.4) and senior Mariah Burroughs of Wasilla (27th, 23:47.7) completed the scoring for UAA ... the USF men’s team also won on Saturday with 29 points ... Santa Clara (42 pts), California (84 pts), UAA (103 pts) and San Jose State (116 pts) rounded out the top five teams ... San Francisco’s Aziz Mohamed bested a field of 80 runners in the men’s field with an 8K time of 25:21.0 ... UAA freshman Felix Kemboi earned fifth place in 25:46.5 ... Jorge Sanchez, a Hartnell College transfer, was UAA’s second fastest runner at 27:03.6 ... All-American senior Edwin Kangogo (30th, 27:12.3), sophomore Kaleb Korta (32nd, 27:14.3) and senior Nathan Kipchumba (34th, 27:21.8) completed UAA’s scoring.

KURGAT NAMED NATIONAL AND GNAC ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Alaska Anchorage two-time cross country All-America senior Caroline Kurgat earned major awards from both the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference on Tuesday, following her performance at the University of San Francisco Invitational over the weekend ... Kurgat, from Eldoret, Kenya, was named the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week and GNAC Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week following a fifth-place finish and 6K time of 21 minutes, 39.3 seconds on Saturday in 90-degree temperatures ... she helped the No. 7 D-II UAA women’s cross country team finish third out of five teams – the other four were Division I teams ... four University of San Francisco runners bettered Kurgat – a team that finished sixth at Division I nationals in 2016 ... Kurgat’s time of 21:39.3 was only eight seconds behind the winner (Weronika Pyzik, 21:31.7) ... she joins Henry Cheseto (2014) as the only two Seawolves to be named an USTFCCA National Athlete of the Week in program history ... Kurgat was also named GNAC Athlete of the Week twice last season (Sept. 12-18, Oct. 3-9) ... the Seawolves have now had a GNAC Athlete of the Week in cross country the past 14 seasons – 41 total nominations – dating back to 2004.

2016 SEASON RECAP: The UAA cross country teams finished the year with strong performances at the NCAA Div. II Championships in St. Leo, Fla. ... the men concluded the campaign with a seventh-place finish, marking the seventh straight season in the top 8 ... the women ended the national meet in eighth place, extending its streak of top-8 finishes to nine ... both teams featured All-Americans (men - Edwin Kangogo; women - Caroline Kurgat, Joyce Chelimo) ... Caroline Kurgat became the second-highest placing Seawolf for the women by finishing third at NCAAs ... the men’s team began the year ranked a program-best No. 4 nationally and never fell beyond the top 10 ... on the women’s side, UAA found itself outside the top 25 midway through the season, snapping an impressive streak of 18 national polls before returning to the top 10 the final two weeks ... the men finished runner-up to No. 4 Chico State at West Region Championships, while the women advanced to nationals with a third-place performance ... on the conference level, the UAA men won its seventh consecutive Great Northwest Athletic crown and 11th conference title overall ... the Green & Gold women repeated as GNAC champions and won their seventh such accolade in the past eight years ... Edwin Kangogo and Caroline Kurgat each earned individual titles and were named GNAC Runner of the Year in Bellingham, Wash. ... Jordyn Block was named GNAC Freshman of the Year ... the Seawolves landed six runners on both the All-Region and All-GNAC teams ... head coach Michael Friess was selected as the GNAC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year for the seventh straight season, earning his 19th overall conference award in 27 seasons ... additionally, a record-tying nine Seawolves were named to the GNAC All-Academic team.

POLL POSITION: 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 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 ... 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 ... UAA has won seven of the last eight conference titles, including the last two ... the UAA men sit No. 5 nationally in the preseason rankings, while the women were tabbed No. 7 in the nation ... both programs were each picked second in the West Region preseason rankings as well.