PORTLAND, Ore. – Coming off a sweep of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's and women's league titles, the Alaska Anchorage track & field programs picked up more individual awards Tuesday as head coach Michael Friess swept the league's coach-of-the-year honors and Vanessa Aniteye was tabbed the women's 2017 GNAC Freshman of the Year.

Friess, an Anchorage native, picked up his 32nd and 33rd career coach-of-the-year accolades – 19 in cross country, seven in indoor track & field and now seven in outdoor track & field – while sweeping both the men's and women's awards for the first time on the outdoor circuit. He was also the men's outdoor coach of the year in 2008, 2009 and 2016, and the women's outdoor winner in 2013 and 2014.

This season, Friess's men's squad defended its title with a thrilling two-point victory over Western Washington at the GNAC Championships and went on to tie for 13th at the NCAA Championships, while the women earned their third GNAC crown in the past five seasons. Despite losing their primary training facility due to a roof collapse in January, the Seawolves managed to produce seven first-team All-Americans, two second-team All-Americans, and 15 GNAC individual champions.

“I couldn't be more proud of this group this year,” Friess said. “These coaching awards really belong to our student-athletes because they worked so hard to maximize their individual potentials, especially under some unique and very difficult circumstances.”

Meanwhile, Aniteye becomes the sixth Seawolf woman in seven years to be voted GNAC Freshman of the Year, following Susan Bick (2011), Grace Morgan (2012, co-), Karolin Anders (2013), Jamie Ashcroft (2014) and Caroline Kurgat (2015). At the GNAC Championships, the Norderstedt, Germany, native won individual title in the 400 meters with a McArthur Field-record time of 54.88, and anchored the Seawolves' winning 4x100-meter relay team, also breaking the stadium record in 47.76.

Aniteye's 400-meter time stands No. 2 in Seawolf history, while her season-best time of 25.37 in the 200 meters ranks seventh on the program chart.

The GNAC track & field awards – which include coach, athlete, newcomer and freshman honorees for both men and women – are voted upon by the league 10 head coaches.

2017 Great Northwest Athletic Conference
Outdoor Track & Field Awards
Athlete of the Year: Payton Lewis, Northwest Nazarene & David Ribich, Western Oregon
Newcomer of the Year: Dustin Nading, Western Oregon
Freshman of the Year: Caleb Bridge, Concordia-Portland
Coach of the Year: Michael Friess, Alaska Anchorage
Athlete of the Year: Bethany Drake, Western Washington
Newcomer of the Year: Emily Bland, Central Washington
Freshman of the Year: Vanessa Aniteye, Alaska Anchorage
Coach of the Year: Michael Friess, Alaska Anchorage