MONMOUTH, Ore. – The Alaska Anchorage men's and women's outdoor track & field team swept the 2017 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships Saturday at McArthur Field as the men's team defended its title and the women's team won its third in five years.
The women's team combined for four individual titles and 16 all-conference performances throughout the two-day event and the multi championships (May 1-2) for 158 points, while the men's team added five titles and 15 all-conference accolades for 134 points.
The men's competition came down to the wire, with UAA trailing Western Washington by five points going into the final race – the 4x400-meter relay. The Seawolves, who entered the race with the No. 1 seed, finished at 3:17.21 to claim victory and a two-point team win over the Vikings. WWU (132 points) finished sixth in the relay.
Finishing third in the men's competition was Concordia with 109 points. With the win, UAA's men's programs successfully swept the GNAC crowns in all three running sports – cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.
Furnishing a team-high four all-conference awards was senior Travis Turner. After taking runner-up in the decathlon, Turner added a title in the 110-meter hurdles (14.83), finished third in the 400-meter hurdles and was a member of the 4x400-meter relay. A local of Stockton, Calif., Turner helped UAA to 34 points.
In the distance events, senior All-American Dominik Notz and junior Edwin Kangogo each contributed with 16 points. Kangogo, who won the 10,000 meters on Friday, finished third in the 5,000 meters, while Notz took runner-up in both races.
Switching gears to the women's competition, the Seawolves defeated runner-up Simon Fraser (121.5) and third-place Central Washington (116). UAA has yet to finish outside of the top-3 since 2012.
In the final day of competition, the Seawolves received three wins on the women's side – freshman Vanessa Aniteye in the 400 meters, Zennah Jepchumba in the 5,000 meters and the 4x100-meter relay. Aniteye, who was a member of the relay, won the 400 meters with a personal-best time of 54.88 – also a McArthur Field record. Jepchumba, who was an all-conference performer in the 10,000 meters, captured gold with a career-best time of 17:21.08, while provisionally qualifying herself for the NCAAs in two weeks.
Joining Aniteye in the first-running event of the day were senior All-American Jamie Ashcroft, senior Mary-Kathleen Cross and freshman Marie Ries. The foursome cruised to victory with a field-record time of 46.76, good for four all-conference honors. Cross (3rd, 24.83) went on to earn all-conference honors in the 200 meters, while Ashcroft (2nd, 12.16) was top-3 in the 100 meters.
Other all-conference performers for the women's squad today were senior All-American Karolin Anders (high jump), senior Alexia Blalock (triple jump), sophomore Danielle McCormick (800 meters) and sophomore Yvonne Jeschke (400m-hurdles). Anders also won the heptathlon, while Blalock's personal-best jump of 38-7.75, provisionally qualifies her for the NCAAs.
Next up, the Seawolves will send qualified individuals to the 2017 NCAA Div. II Outdoor Championships in Bradenton, Fla., on May 25-27.