BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Alaska Anchorage men’s and women’s track & field teams concluded the indoor season Saturday with a UAA-record 12 All-America honors at the 2017 NCAA Div. II Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
The Seawolves, who furnished four individual All-America results and two relays, also set one Great Northwest Athletic Conference record and one UAA record in the process. On the women’s side, the Seawolves furnished 10 points, good for a tie at No. 21, while taking a tie at No. 28 on the men’s side with seven points. Tiffin won the men’s title with 63 points and Adams State took the women’s crown with 47.
Picking up UAA’s highest finish of the meet with a career-best third-place finish in the 3,000 meters was junior Caroline Kurgat. Kurgat posted a career-best time of 9:27.09. Entering the championship as the No. 7 seed, she was running comfortably in the sixth position until the second to the last lap. The Eldoret, Kenya, local made her move taking over two racers and then another in the final 200 meters.
Kurgat, who finished 13th in the event a year ago, now has four All-America honors in track along with the distance medley relay (2016), 5,000 meters (outdoor, 2016) and 10,000 meters (outdoor, 2016).
Moments after Kurgat finished, senior Dominik Notz was back on the track looking to cap off his indoor career with the men’s 3,000 meters. For the second straight year, Notz furnished two All-America honors at the indoor meet. The Dettingen, Germnay, native finished seventh in the race with a GNAC-record time of 8:07.28, two days after taking fourth in the 5,000 meters. He held the previous league record at 8:10.19 and had finished fourth in both events as the championships last season.
Rounding out her final indoor season with her third straight NCAA appearance was senior Jamie Ashcroft. After missing the finals in the 60 meters on Thursday, Ashcroft responded in the 200 meters. She not only qualified for the finals, but went on to earn All-America honors. She was clocked at 24.13.
A local of Shawnigan Lake, B.C., Ashcroft collected her second career All-America award and became the first Seawolf ever to finish in the top 8 in an indoor sprinting event. Ashcorft holds the same distinction in the outdoor season as well, after placing sixth in the 100 meters in 2015.
Ashcroft, the NCAA West Region Female Track Athlete of the Year, wasn’t done though. She then went on to be the starting leg of the women’s 4x400-meter relay. Along with senior Mary-Kathleen Cross, junior Hayley Bezanson and freshman Vanessa Aniteye, Ashcroft led the foursome to All-America honors in seventh with a UAA-record time of 3:45.10 – UAA’s first All-America finish in the event.
The new time broke the previous record of 3:46.12, set by the same ladies on Feb. 25 at the Seattle Pacific Final Qualifier. The time also ranks second all-time in the GNAC record book, trailing only Seattle Pacific’s record of 3:42.44 from 2016.
Shortly after the women’s historic race, the men’s 4x400-meter relay took to the track. The group of sophomore Nicholas Taylor, junior Liam Lindsay, junior Darrion Gray and senior Adam Commandeur each registered their first career All-America honors with an eighth-place showing. The relay crossed at a season-best time of 3:13.69 – good for second all-time on the UAA record book.
The 12 All-America honors is a UAA record for either indoor or outdoor, bypassing the previous record of 11, set last season at the indoor meet.
The 14 Seawolves will return to practice and get ready for the outdoor season that commences next weekend.