PORTLAND, ORE. – The University of Alaska Anchorage women’s cross country team was picked first and the men second in the 2018 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Preseason Cross Country Polls.

UAA’s women’s team is the three-time defending GNAC Champion and has won the title eight of the last nine years.

Defending champion Western Oregon was picked first in the men’s poll, with Alaska Anchorage second. The Seawolves finished second at last year’s championship and has won 10 conference titles overall and eight of the last 10.

The UAA women return four All-GNAC performers and two All-Americans. Senior Zennah Jepchumba placed fourth at the GNAC Championships (21:53.66) and went on to finish 30th at the national meet. Junior Emmah Chelimo earned GNAC Newcomer of the Year honors with her eighth-place conference finish (22:11.26) and earned an All-American trophy by placing 40th at nationals.

Senior Danielle McCormick placed fifth at conference (22:06.72) and just missed All-American honors with a 41st place nationals finish. She went on to win the Division II national title indoors at 800 meters. Senior Kimberly Coscia rounds out the group as she finished 10th at the GNAC Championships (22:12.28).

For the men’s squad, sophomore Felix Kemboi earned GNAC Freshman of the Year honors with a third-place finish (25:18.59) and is the conference’s top returning finisher. Senior Jorge Sanchez was named the GNAC Newcomer of the Year thanks to a 23rd place finish (26:11.93). Alaska Anchorage also returns top-45 conference meet finishers in sophomore Nickson Koech (30th, 26:36.26) and junior Kaleb Korta (45th, 26:54.91).

Alaska Anchorage will host instate rival Alaska Fairbanks in a dual meet as part of the Skinny Raven Classic on Sept. 8th.

2018 GNAC MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY PRESEASON POLL

Rank

Team (First Place Votes)

2017 GNAC Finish

Pts.

1. Western Oregon (7) 102 points

2. Alaska Anchorage (2) 94 points

3. Simon Fraser (1) 92 points

3. Western Washington (1) 92 points

5. Central Washington 60 points

6. Northwest Nazarene 59 points

7. Montana State Billings 51 points

8. Seattle Pacific 38 points

9. Concordia 31 points

10. Alaska 27 points

11. Saint Martin's 14 points

 

2018 GNAC WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY PRESEASON POLL

Rank

Team (First Place Votes)

2017 GNAC Finish

Pts.

1. Alaska Anchorage (9) 108 points

2. Simon Fraser (2) 102 points

3. Western Washington 87 points

4. Seattle Pacific 79 points

5. Central Washington 72 points

6. Northwest Nazarene 54 points

7. Western Oregon 51 points

8. Alaska 35 points

9. Concordia 31 points

10. Montana State Billings 23 points

11. Saint Martin's 19 points

Points awarded on 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.