CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Caroline Kurgat became the first woman at the University of Alaska Anchorage to win a national championship in outdoor track and field after winning the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track and Field National Championships Thursday.
Kurgat, who entered the race with the top time (32:33.24) in Div. II this year and the second-fastest time ever in Div. II, ran with the pack over the first 4,400 meters of the race. Leah Hanle broke from the pack with Caroline Kurgat following and the duo quickly built a 50 meter lead on the field.
Kurgat twice tried to take the lead, but Hanle was quick to regain control. With just under a mile to run, Kurgat ran a 76 second lap, her second-fastest of the race, to open a gap on Hanle.
The gap would grow to 200 meters as Kurgat won in a time of 34:13.80. Leah Hanle of Mount Olive finished second in 34:49.50.
Kurgat, who was the individual national champion in cross country in 2017, will race in the 5,000 on Saturday. She enters the 5,000 as the top seed in a time of 15:41.21.
“This race featured a very talented group of runners,” said head coach Michael Friess. “Caroline ran a very smart race and made her moves at the right time. I am very proud of her and the work she has put in to make this a reality.”
Vanessa Aniteye ran a season-best of 55.11 to finish 15th in the 400.
Tamara Perez placed 20th in the 1,500 in a time of 4:34.67.
The Seawolves are tied for third in the team standings with 10 points.