AZUSA, Calif. – Another record was conquered by Alaska Anchorage junior Caroline Kurgat, this time the 5,000-meter GNAC mark at the Bryan Clay Invitational on Thursday. Kurgat covered the distance in an NCAA Div. II championship automatic qualifying time of 15 minutes, 43.95 seconds – the fourth-fastest time in Div. II history.
She eclipsed the GNAC record of 15:44.07 set in 2011 by Seattle Pacific’s Jessica Pixler, and the UAA record of 15:59.55 established two seasons ago by Joyce Chelimo.
Kurgat finished second in a deep 243-athlete field to professional runner Marielle Hall – a 2016 U.S. Olympian for 10,000 meters. Hall won in 15:39.42.
The junior from Eldoret, Kenya ran alone for virtually the entire race. She started with a chase pack for two laps, then deciding the pace was too slow made a push forward and ran solo for the last ten and a half laps. Hall was rabbited by one of her professional teammates from the Nike Bowerman Track Club for approximately 2 miles. After the rabbit stepped off, Caroline gradually closed the gap down from about 12 seconds to under five at the finish.
Kurgat previously set the GNAC and UAA record for 10,000 meters on Mar. 30 at the Stanford Invite, clocking 32:33.24 seconds – the second-fastest time ever for a DII athlete. She also ran an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 4:26.16 in the 1,500 on Mar. 24 at the Willamette Invite.
Other highlights from Thursday’s meet included sophomore Emmah Chelimo, freshman Grace Gannon, and senior Mariah Burroughs. Chelimo improved upon her provisional qualifying mark in the 5,000 meters with a big lifetime best of 16:59.71. Gannon (Anchorage, Grace Christian HS) broke the 18-minute barrier for the first time (17:59.28). Burroughs (Wasilla HS) bettered her provisional mark in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (10:49.55).
The men’s program and No. 6 nationally ranked women’s track and field squad returns to action Friday at the Bryan Clay Invitational as well as the Beach Invitational.
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|Women's Team & Individual Performance Lists|
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|GNAC Current Performance List|
|USTFCCCA National Poll|
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