WHAT: 17th annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 21 at 9 a.m. ADT (women) and 10 a.m. ADT (men)
WHERE: Bellingham, Wash. - Hosted by Western Washington Univ. at Lake Padden Park
DISTANCE: 6K for women, 8K for men
LIVE RESULTS: Available at GNAC.live and posted to GoSeawolves.com after the meet
LIVE VIDEO: Finishes and award ceremony on facebook.com/GNACSports
MEET PROGRAM: https://issuu.com/gnacsports/docs/gnac-xc-program-2017-web
ON TAP: The No. 8 Alaska Anchorage women’s and No. 17 men’s cross country programs compete at the 17th annual GNAC Cross Country Championships in Bellingham, Wash., Saturday, Oct. 21 ... the women begin with a 6-kilometer course at 9 a.m. ADT, while the men follow with an 8K course at 10 a.m. ADT.
HIGH STAKES: The men’s program is hoping to capture its eighth consecutive GNAC title and 12th conference title overall (10 GNAC titles, 1 Pac West title) ... the women are looking to win their third straight confence crown and eighth in the last nine seasons.
MEET INFO AND WEATHER REPORT: The course features mostly hard-pack gravel, dirt and fur needles in some spots ... grass surfaces are found at the start, finish and turnaround loops of each course ... race weather is expected to be in the upper 40s, with 15 mph winds, and a 50% chance of rain, according to The Weather Channel’s online forecast on Thursday.
2016 GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS RECAP: The nationally ranked Alaska Anchorage men’s and women’s cross country teams defended their Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships titles at Lake Padden Park behind Edwin Kangogo and Caroline Kurgat’s individual victories ... the No. 9-ranked men captured their seventh straight GNAC crown ... the Seawolf men placed all five scorers in the top 13 to outpace Simon Fraser, 31-60 ... All-American Edwin Kangogo was named the GNAC Athlete of the Year and became the ninth consecutive Seawolf men’s champion at the conference meet ... Edwin joined his brother – 2013 GNAC title holder Isaac Kangogo – as the 10th UAA runner in the last 11 seasons to race to victory ... Edwin Kangogo broke the 8K tape in 24 minutes, 54.8 seconds ... Michel Ramirez – a 2014 All-American – finished runner-up in 24:56.5, while Western Washington’s Isaac Derline placed third ahead of UAA All-American Henry Cheseto (25:19.2) ... Kangogo, Ramirez, and Cheseto garnered all-conference honors by placing in the top 10, while seniors Victor Samoei (11th, 25:46.5) and Michael Mendenhall (13th, 25:48.9) completed the scoring for UAA ... on the women’s side, No. 14 UAA repeated as GNAC champion and recorded its seventh title, all coming over the past eight years ... they tallied 45 points, edging No. 19 Simon Fraser (56 pts) and No. 25 Seattle Pacific (92 pts) ... All-Americans Caroline Kurgat and Joyce Chelimo each cracked the top 5 ... Kurgat earned GNAC Athlete of the Year accolades and became the fifth individual winner at the GNAC Championships for the Seawolves, joining Ruth Keino, two-time winner Susan Tanui, and last year’s winner, Joyce Chelimo ... Chelimo finished in fifth place (21:50.2), while Kurgat won the 6K race in 21 minutes, 17.1 seconds ... the Seawolf women placed all nine competitors in the top 22 of 93 finishers ... Tamara Perez joined Kurgat and Chelimo on the all-conference team by crossing the finish line 10th in 22:23.2 ... UAA’s fourth, fifth, and sixth scorers ran very close together to contribute to the team’s success ... the trio of runners who crossed the line 14 through 16 were Zennah Jepchumba (22:35.2), Kaitlyn Maker (22:36.5) and Mariah Burroughs (22:39.6) ... the GNAC Freshman of the Year went to Jordyn Block, a Palmer native who attended Colony High School ... she finished in 21st position with a 6K time of 22:55 – the fastest for a freshman at the championship meet.
KURGAT WINS CONFERENCE CROSSOVER, TEAMS EXCEL: Two-time All-American Caroline Kurgat raced to victory and propelled the unranked Alaska Anchorage women’s cross country program to an impressive third-place finish at the Division II Conference Crossover at the Lewis Cross Country Course on Oct. 7 ... senior two-time All-American Edwin Kangogo and freshman Felix Kemboi both cracked the top 25 in a field of over 350 finishers, helping the No. 13 nationally ranked men’s team finish sixth ... Kurgat, of Eldoret, Kenya, covered the six-kilometer course in 21 minutes, 18.9 seconds, besting Walsh University’s Sarah Berger by over 12 seconds (2nd, 21:31.5) ... Kurgat recorded her first victory of the season in her second race ... also scoring for the Green & Gold were junior Zennah Jepchumba (15th, 22:12.0), sophomore Emmah Chelimo (26th, 22:30.4), junior Danielle McCormick (30th, 22:33.0), and senior Mariah Burroughs (23:00.0) ... all of UAA’s nine runners finished in the top 150 of 359 finishers ... No. 6 Cal Baptist bested the nationwide 34-team field with 51 points ... No. 1 and defending national champion Grand Valley State finished in second with 66 points ... unranked UAA (3rd, 126 pts), No. 10 Walsh (4th, 188), and No. 5 Hillsdale (5th, 192) rounded out the top five ... eight ranked teams and four teams receiving votes – including the Seawolves – ran in the women’s competition ... with its third-place showing, UAA bested six ranked foes ... in the men’s race, Kangogo, also of Eldoret, Kenya, led UAA in 19th place with an 8K time of 25:29.3 ... freshman Felix Kemboi finished closely behind in 25:31.7 (23rd) ... Academy of Art’s Gatien Airiau won in 24:42.7 ... freshman Nickson Koech recorded a time of 25:48.4, good for 42nd ... junior Jorge Sanchez (75th, 26:12.4) and senior Nathan Kipchumba (78th, 26:14.8) completed the scoring ... ranked programs were featured a top the men’s team standings as well ... No. 3 Grand Valley State (1st, 55 pts) bettered No. 9 Cal Baptist (2nd, 121 pts) and No. 6 Southern Indiana (3rd, 150 pts) in the team competition ... unranked Lindenwood (4th, 191 pts), No. 11 host Lewis (205 pts), and No. 13 UAA (6th, 223 pts) rounded out the top six squads ... in total, the quality field featured 31 teams – eight were ranked and three received votes in this week’s USTFCCCA NCAA Division II Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll.
KURGAT EARNS 2ND USTFCCCA NATIONAL AND GNAC ATHLETE OF THE WEEK HONOR: Alaska Anchorage senior Caroline Kurgat garnered both the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Athlete of the Week and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week for the second time this season after winning at the Division II Crossover ... Kurgat, a two-time All-American from Eldoret, Kenya, earned the honors after winning the Division II Conference Crossover in Romeoville, Ill., on Oct. 7, bettering a field of 359 finishers ... she covered the six-kilometer course in 21 minutes, 18.9 seconds to beat runner-up Sarah Berger of Walsh University by over 12 seconds (21:31.5) ... she powered the unranked women’s cross country team to a third-place team finish out of 34 teams ... the quality field featured eight ranked opponents ... Kurgat becomes the first Seawolf to be awarded the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week twice in the same season, following her award on Sept. 5 ... Henry Cheseto became UAA’s first such honoree in 2014 ... additionally, the Green & Gold now have three GNAC Athletes of the Week winners this season for the first time since 2014 as well ... freshman Felix Kemboi (Sept. 4 – Sept. 10) and Kurgat (Aug. 28 – Sept. 3) won the award earlier in the season ... the men’s and women’s programs have now combined to have at least three athletes earn the conference award in eight seasons.
FRESHMAN KEMBOI WINS, SEAWOLVES SECOND AT ASH CREEK INVITE: Alaska Anchorage freshman Felix Kemboi raced to victory in just his second collegiate race ever at the Ash Creek Invitational, while both strategically-minded men’s and women’s cross country teams finished runner-up to Simon Fraser, Friday, Sept. 8 in Monmouth, Ore. ... Kemboi, from Eldoret, Kenya, won the men’s competition covering 6.2 kilometers in 18 minutes, 42.8 seconds ... senior two-time All-American Edwin Kangogo finished third, with a time of 18:56.6 for the No. 5 nationally-ranked men ... junior Jorge Sanchez was the third Seawolf to cross the line at 19:20.2 (12th) ... sophomore Kaleb Korta of Galena (18th, 19:28.6) and senior Justin Carrancho (19th, 19:31.0) finished in the top 20 of 109 finishers to round out UAA’s scoring ... Simon Fraser took the men’s meet title with 36 points, while the strategic-minded Seawolves tallied 53 points for second place ... in the women’s competition, No. 14 Simon Fraser swept the top five spots for a perfect score (15 pts) ... the Clan were led by Julia Howley’s 4.6K time of 16:24.6 ... No. 7 UAA finished behind with 45 points, but well ahead of third-place Linfield (117 pts) ... junior Zennah Jepchumba (6th, 16:53.8), senior Mariah Burroughs (8th, 16:55.3) and junior Kimberly Coscia (9th, 16:55.9) each cracked the top 10 for Alaska Anchorage ... sophomores Emmah Chelimo (11th, 16:59.0) and Jordyn Block of Palmer (15th, 17:16.1) also scored for the Green & Gold ... USTFCCCA Division II Women’s Athlete of the Week and two-time All-America senior Caroline Kurgat did not compete.
SEAWOLVES PLACE WELL AGAINST D-I FOES IN SEASON OPENER: The Alaska Anchorage men’s and women’s cross country teams competed as the lone Division II team at the University of San Francisco Invitational, with the No. 7 women’s team finishing third and the No. 5 men’s team claiming fourth at Golden Gate Park on Saturday, Sept. 2 ... senior Caroline Kurgat and freshman Felix Kemboi were the top Seawolf finishers in their respective races, each placing fifth in 90-degree temperatures ... the University of San Francisco women, who entered No. 10 in the Division I preseason rankings, won with 18 points ... San Jose State finished second (56 pts) ahead of UAA (3rd, 82 pts), California (4th, 92 pts) and Santa Clara (5th, 115 pts) ... Kurgat – a two-time cross country All American – ran a 6K time of 21:39.28 seconds for fifth place ... USF claimed the top four spots with Weronika Pyzik grabbing the individual victory in 21:31.67 ... sophomore Emmah Chelimo, who finished her first race as a Seawolf after redshirting in 2016, placed 18th in 23:16.10 ... junior Kimberly Coscia cracked the top 20 of 50 finishers in 23:20.13 ... junior Zennah Jepchumba (26th, 23:44.4) and senior Mariah Burroughs of Wasilla (27th, 23:47.7) completed the scoring for UAA ... the USF men’s team also won on Saturday with 29 points ... Santa Clara (42 pts), California (84 pts), UAA (103 pts) and San Jose State (116 pts) rounded out the top five teams ... San Francisco’s Aziz Mohamed bested a field of 80 runners in the men’s field with an 8K time of 25:21.0 ... UAA freshman Felix Kemboi earned fifth place in 25:46.5 ... Jorge Sanchez, a Hartnell College transfer, was UAA’s second fastest runner at 27:03.6 ... All-American senior Edwin Kangogo (30th, 27:12.3), sophomore Kaleb Korta (32nd, 27:14.3) and senior Nathan Kipchumba (34th, 27:21.8) completed UAA’s scoring.
FRESHMAN FELIX KEMBOI NAMED GNAC RUNNER OF THE WEEK: Alaska Anchorage freshman Felix Kemboi was named the GNAC Athlete of the Week for men’s cross country on Monday, Sept. 11, following his victory at the Ash Creek Invitational in Monmouth, Ore. ... Kemboi, of Eldoret, Kenya, joined senior All-American Caroline Kurgat as GNAC Athlete of the Week recipients this season ... Kemboi became the GNAC Athlete of the Week for the first time in only his second collegiate race ... he led a field of 109 finishers with a 6.2-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 42.8 seconds, and helped UAA finish second out of 13 teams ... UAA’s running programs have had at least two Athlete of the Week winners the last 14 campaigns.
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 in 2016, and coaches tabbed both teams to continue their impressive streaks as preseason favorites ... the men’s team received eight first-place votes and 108 total points ... 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 ... the UAA men were picked No. 5 nationally in the preseason rankings, while the women were tabbed No. 7 ... both programs were second in the West Region preseason rankings as well.