NEW ORLEANS, La. – Alaska Anchorage senior Caroline Kurgat garnered both the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Athlete of the Week and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week for the second time this season on Tuesday.
Kurgat, a two-time All-American from Eldoret, Kenya, earned the honors after winning the Division II Conference Crossover in Romeoville, Ill. on Saturday, bettering a field of 359 finishers. She covered the six-kilometer course in 21 minutes, 18.9 seconds to beat runner-up Sarah Berger of Walsh University by over 12 seconds (21:31.5).
She powered the unranked women’s cross country team to a third-place team finish out of 34 teams. The quality field featured eight ranked opponents.
Kurgat becomes the first Seawolf to be awarded the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week twice in the same season, following her nomination on Sept. 5. Henry Cheseto became UAA’s first such honoree in 2014.
Additionally, the Green & Gold now have three GNAC Athletes of the Week winners this season for the first time since 2014 as well. Freshman Felix Kemboi (Sept. 4 – Sept. 10) and Kurgat (Aug. 28 – Sept. 3) won the award earlier in the season.
The men’s and women’s programs have now combined to have at least three athletes earn the conference award in eight seasons.
UAA travels to Bellingham, Wash. for the GNAC Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 21. Kurgat looks to defend her individual conference title and both programs look to repeat.