PITTSBURG, KANSAS – Senior Caroline Kurgat won her fifth national title to lead Alaska Anchorage to a fourth place finish in the team standings at the NCAA Div. II Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday.
Kurgat was content to stay back in the pack during the early laps of the 3,000. She moved to the front at 1,400 meters and brought the field through the first 1,500 in 4:45.98. Her next 300 was run in under 54 seconds to create some separation from Leah Hanle of Mount Olive. Kurgat kept the pace even over the later laps winning in a new meet and facility record time of 9:15.45. Kurgat’s split of 4:29 over the final 1,500 would be competitive in the shorter race.
Kurgat’s 3,000 national title is her second of the weekend as she won the 5,000 in a meet and facility record time of 16:06.37, and she anchored the distance medley relay to a runner-up finish in 11:26.00.
Senior Danielle McCormick earned her second All-American honor of the weekend with a third-place finish in the 800 with a time of 2:06.28, breaking her own school record. McCormick, a native of Soldotna, put herself in second position early in the race. Rachael Walters passed her midway through the race and would go on to finish second with McCormick third. Skylyn Webb of UC-Colorado Springs led from start to finish to win in 2:04.94.
“Dani ran aggressively, which is what she needed to do because this 800-meter field was stacked,” said head coach Michael Friess. “Her school record and third place finish set the stage for Caroline.”
The Seawolves finished fourth as a team with 34 points, its highest finish ever at an NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.
“I am amazingly proud of our team,” said head coach Michael Friess. “A total of 11 American performances and an amazing podium finish for the women’s team. We are bringing back a trophy! It was an amazing weekend for UAA track and field.”
The UAA men tied for 52nd place with two points after finishing seventh in the distance medley relay Friday.
Alaska Anchorage will switch its focus to the outdoor season which opens at the Willamette Invite March 23.