WHAT: USF Invitational
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 2 at 9 a.m. ADT (men) and 9:45 a.m. ADT (women)
WHERE: San Francisco, Calif. - Hosted by the University of San Francisco at Gold Gate Park
RESULTS: Posted on GoSeawolves.com shortly after conclusion of both races
ON TAP: The Alaska Anchorage men’s and women’s cross country programs open the books on the 2017 season at the 25th annual University of San Francisco Cross Country Invitational in Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 2 ... the women begin with a 6K at 9 a.m. AST, while the men compete in an 8K at 9:45 AST.
COURSE INFO AND WEATHER REPORT: The course is a 2,000-meter loop consisting of grass and dirt trails with gradual hills ... race weather is expected to be a perfect, sunny 72-degrees with a light five mph breeze, according to The Weather Channel’s online forecast on Tuesday.
OPENING MEET STRONG: UAA’s impressive opening meet win streaks will be tested against Division I host University of San Francisco and others ... both Seawolf men’s and women’s cross country running programs have swept the first meet nine straight seasons, dating back to 2008 ... the USF women enter the meet ranked No. 10 in the NCAA Div. I Women’s Cross Country Preseason National Coaches’ Poll, following a sixth-place showing at 2016 Div. I nationals ... the Seawolf men and women are tabbed No. 2 in the Preseason Div. II West Region Rankings, with national rankings to be released Wednesday.
2016 SEASON RECAP: The UAA cross country teams finished the year with strong performances at the NCAA Div. II Championships in St. Leo, Fla. ... the men concluded the campaign with a seventh-place finish, marking the seventh straight season in the top 8 ... the women ended the national meet in eighth place, extending its streak of top-8 finishes to nine ... both teams featured All-Americans (men - Edwin Kangogo; women - Caroline Kurgat, Joyce Chelimo) ... Caroline Kurgat became the second-highest placing Seawolf for the women by finishing third at NCAAs ... the men’s team began the year ranked a program-best No. 4 nationally and never fell beyond the top 10 ... on the women’s side, UAA found itself outside the top 25 midway through the season, snapping an impressive streak of 18 national polls before returning to the top 10 the final two weeks ... the men finished runner-up to No. 4 Chico State at West Region Championships, while the women advanced to nationals with a third-place performance ... on the conference level, the UAA men won its seventh consecutive Great Northwest Athletic crown and 11th conference title overall ... the Green & Gold women repeated as GNAC champions and won their seventh such accolade in the past eight years ... Edwin Kangogo and Caroline Kurgat each earned individual titles and were named GNAC Runner of the Year in Bellingham, Wash. ... Jordyn Block was named GNAC Freshman of the Year ... the Seawolves landed six runners on both the All-Region and All-GNAC teams ... head coach Michael Friess was selected as the GNAC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year for the seventh straight season, earning his 19th overall conference award in 27 seasons ... additionally, a record-tying nine Seawolves were named to the GNAC All-Academic team.
2017 OUTLOOK (MEN): Defending conference champion and All-America senior Edwin Kangogo returns to lead the men’s squad ... conference meet finishers Nathan Kipchumba (15th in 2016), Justin Carrancho (17th), and sophomore Kaleb Korta (42nd) also return ... seniors Kipchumba and Carrancho also bring West Region and NCAA experience ... gone are six conference contenders, but five newcomers bolster the roster ... Taylor Turney, former Service High School standout and Colorado School of Mines transfer, returns to Alaska ... Jorge Sanchez looks to make an impact after transferring from Hartnell College - the same school as Carrancho ... Robert Cheruiyot, Felix Kemboi, and Nickson Koech join the Seawolves from Kenya.
2017 OUTLOOK (WOMEN): Caroline Kurgat – who placed third at the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships – looks to retain her GNAC individual title ... All-GNAC senior Tamara Perez and senior Mariah Burroughs of Wasilla will add additional leadership ... juniors Zennah Jepchumba and Danielle McCormick return following national appearances as well ... three Alaskans (Ruth Cvancara, Grace Gannon, Arielle Himelbloom) look to make their mark early in their collegiate careers.
POLL POSITION: The Alaska Anchorage men’s and women’s cross country programs each swept the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships for the second consecutive year, and coaches on Monday tabbed both teams to continue their impressive streaks as preseason favorites ... the men’s team – winners of the last seven conference titles who placed seven runners in the top 20 at the 2016 conference meet – received eight first-place votes and 108 total points. Western Washington (2nd, 95 pts) recorded three first-place votes, as Simon Fraser (3rd, 92 points) rounded out the top 3 in this year’s men’s poll ... the women’s program earned nine first-place votes and 107 total votes edging 2016 conference runner-up Simon Fraser (2nd, 102 pts), who garnered the final two first-place votes. Seattle Pacific (3rd, 88 pts) completes the top 3 ... UAA has won seven of the last eight conference titles, including the last two ... Simon Fraser stopped the Green & Gold’s first streak (2009-13) in 2014.