AUSTIN, Texas – University of Alaska Anchorage distance star Caroline Kurgat added another major honor to her trophy case Wednesday as she was named a first-team selection on the 2017-18 Google Cloud Academic All-America Team for women’s track & field and cross country.
A three-time national champion in cross country and outdoor track, the Eldoret, Kenya, native was one of 15 first-team honorees in national voting by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Kurgat, who has a 3.58 cumulative grade point average as a medical lab tech and nursing major, has established herself as one of the top women’s distance runners in the history of Division II. The USTFCCCA Division II Women’s Athlete and Scholar-Athlete of the Year during the cross country season, Kurgat swept all three championship races. She won the GNAC Championships by 56 seconds, the NCAA West Regional by 38 seconds and the national championship by 20 seconds.
After redshirting the indoor season, Kurgat picked up in March where she left off, setting GNAC outdoor records in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Her 32:33.24 mark in the 10,000 at the Stanford Invitational was the second-best time in Division II history, while her time of 15:41.21 in the 5,000 at the Payton Jordan Invitational was the third-fastest in D-II history.
The 2017-18 UAA Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year swept the 5,000- and 10,000-meter titles at the GNAC Championships and was runner-up in the 1500 meters, earning the Female Track Athlete of the Meet award, and she went on to post a 36-second victory in the 10,000 and an 11-second victory in the 5,000 at the NCAA Championships.
In addition her other major honors, Kurgat has also been named the 2017-18 DII Honda Athlete of the Year. She will be presented with the honor Monday in Los Angeles on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network at 5 p.m. ADT.
Kurgat joins former teammate Jamie Ashcroft – who earned the award last year – as just the second CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team selection in UAA track & field history. She also joins skier Hailey Swirbul and hockey player Olivier Mantha to give the Seawolves three first-team honorees in the same year for the first time.
While she has exhausted her eligibility in cross country, Kurgat still has one year of both indoor and outdoor track & field eligibility remaining.