STANFORD, Calif. – It was another impressive performance in an already impressive season for Alaska Anchorage junior Caroline Kurgat, who ran 5,000 meters in 15 minutes, 41.21 seconds – the third quickest 5,000-meter time in Div. II history – at the prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford, Calif. on Thursday.
Kurgat won her heat by edging Paige Stoner of Syracuse by 0.05 seconds, and finished 17th overall against 40 total professional and Div. I runners as the only Div. II runner. Maraf Bahta was the overall winner in 15:15.33.
Kurgat, the 2017 NCAA Div. II cross country national champion who was named UAA’s 2017-18 Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year last week, improved upon her GNAC record of 15:43.95. She set that time at the Bryan Clay Invite on April 20. Additionally, a time of 15:45.00 was required to compete in the Payton Jordan Invite.
Her 5,000-meter performance on Thursday helped her surpass Elva Dryer of Western State for number three in Div. II history, who ran 15:42.23 in 1996. Only Neely Spence of Shippensburg (15:33.83; 2011) and Mandi Zemba of Grand Valley State (15:38.54; 2007) have run faster in Div. II.
Earlier this season, the Nursing and Medical Laboratory Science major recorded the second-fastest 10K time in Div. II history at the Stanford Invitational on Mar. 30 in 32:33.24. She also broke the UAA 1,500-meter record at the Bryan Clay Invitational on Apr. 20 in 4:21.18.
The Alaska Anchorage men’s and No. 11 women’s track and field teams will compete at the Ken Shannon Invitational in Seattle, Wash. on Saturday in the final meet before the GNAC Outdoor Championships, slated for May 11-12 in Monmouth, Ore.