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Newcomers Continue To Impress As Cardinal Races Await
In just his second collegiate race, Northwest Nazarene's Godfrey Kemboi was a winner as he crossed first at the Yellowjacket Invitational.
In just his second collegiate race, Northwest Nazarene's Godfrey Kemboi was a winner as he crossed first at the Yellowjacket Invitational.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

NOT BAD FOR A (RELATIVE) ROOKIE: It’s not often that a senior decides to take up a new sport in their final season, but for Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter, the decision to take up cross country seems like a no brainer.

Porter has won twice in her first three collegiate cross country meets. She won on her home course over the weekend, capturing the 5,000-meter race at the SMU Open with a time of 17:50.10. She held an 11-second advantage over another of the conference’s top runners, Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson. The performance earned Porter her second GNAC Women’s Athlete of the Week award.
The one race Porter did not win was the huge Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 17. She placed fifth.

AND RUNNING WELL FOR A ROOKIE: Northwest Nazarene’s Godfrey Kemboi needed just two collegiate races to pick up his first win. The freshman led the way at the Yellowjacket Invitational, covering the 10,000-meter course in 32:20.44. Kemboi finished one second ahead of San Francisco State’s Benji Preciado. The performance earned Kemboi selection as the GNAC Men’s Athlete of the Week.

Kemboi opened his collegiate career on Sept. 2, placing fifth at Idaho State Invitiational. He was beat by four Division I runners and missed first place by 23 seconds.

IN THE RANKINGS: There was quite a shakeup for GNAC in this week’s USTFCCCA Division II National Rankings. Alaska Anchorage’s men was the only team to stand pat, retaining its No. 9 ranking. Despite its solid performance at the Roy Griak Invitational, Western Oregon dropped seven sports to No. 21. Simon Fraser was listed among teams receiving votes.

In the women’s rankings, Western Washington dropped eight spots to No. 16 while Seattle Pacific gave up one spot to land at No. 21. Alaska Anchorage dropped from the top-25 completely, but was first among teams receiving votes.

In the men’s regional rankings, Alaska Anchorage is No. 3, followed by Western Washington at No. 5, Simon Fraser at No. 7 and Western Oregon at No. 10. Western Washington is No. 4 in the women’s West Region Rankings, followed by Seattle Pacific at No. 5, Alaska Anchorage at No. 6 and Simon Fraser at No. 8.

BREAKING THE TAPE: A total of 10 GNAC athletes have won 12 races over the first three weeks of the season. Western Oregon’s David Ribich and Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter are both two race winners. Here is the complete list...

MEN
• Godfrey Kemboi (NNU): Yellowjacket Invitational, Sept. 23 (32:20.5).
• Edwin Kangogo (UAA): Notre Dame de Namur Argo Invite, Sept. 3 (21:14.9).
• David Ribich (WOU): John Frank OSU Invitational, Sept. 3 (18:21.6.); Ash Creek Invitaitional #1, Sept. 9 (18:53.8.).
• Andrew Wise (WWU): Central Washington Invitational, Sept. 10 (20:19).

WOMEN
• Rebecca Bassett (SFU): Ash Creek Inviational #1, Sept. 10 (16:52.8).
• Mary Charleson (SPU): Humboldt Invitational, Sept. 10 (21:08.21).
• Elena Gomez (CWU): Central Washington Invitational, Sept. 10 (15:11)
• Caroline Kurgat (UAA): Notre Dame de Namur Invitational, Sept. 3 (18:52.9).
• Sierra Manzer (NNU): Idaho State Invitational, Sept. 2 (10:45.2).
• Shannon Porter (SMU): Logger Invitational, Sept. 3 (20:35.17); SMU Open, Sept. 24 (17:50.10).

THIS WEEK'S GNAC ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
MEN
Godfrey Kemboi, Northwest Nazarene
Freshman • Iten, Kenya

In his second collegiate race, Kemboi won the Yellowjacket Invitational in Billings, covering the 10,000-meter course in 32:20.5 (5:13 per mile pace). He led the Crusaders to a third place team finish on the course that will be used for the NCAA West Regional Championships.

Also Nominated: Isaac Derline (Western Washington), Josiah Shelman (Saint Martin’s), Garrett Love (Montana State Billings), Matt Conrady (Central Washington).

WOMEN
Shannon Porter, Saint Martin’s
Senior • Vancouver, Wash.

Porter won her second race in only her third time out as a collegiate cross country runner, capturing the SMU Open in a time of 17:50.10 (5:44 per mile pace) over 5,000 meters. She led the Saints to a third place finish on their home course.

Also Nominated: Sierra Manzer (Northwest Nazarene), Brittany Grant (Western Washington), Nikki Aiken (Montana State Billings), Alicia Girdler (Central Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• Alaska sat out the last weekend from competition. The Nanooks will compete again on Saturday, competing in the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational in Salem, Ore.

• The Nanooks’ men placed ninth in the 28-team field in the men’s 8,000-meter race at the Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 17. Alaska was fourth out of the seven GNAC teams competing.

• Freshman Lukash Platil placed 34th in the race in a time of 25:23.00. He was the 11th GNAC runner to cross the finish line. Junior Alex Eckert was the No. 2 runner, finishing 49th in 25:41.00.

• The Alaska women placed 13th in the women’s open 6,000-meter race at Sundodger with 350 points. The Nanooks were sixth out of the seven GNAC teams.

• Senior Dorothy O’Donnell was the Nanooks’ top women’s runner, placing 27th in 22:13.70. Senior Kali Striker was the No. 2 top runner, placing 63rd in a time of 23:00.40.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage did not compete last weekend and will not compete again until the Western Washington Invitational on Sat., Oct. 8.

• Alaska Anchorage returned to the course with a pair of solid showings at the Sundodger Invitational. The Seawolves’ men placed second with 86 points while the UAA women placed sixth with 138 points.

• The UAA men placed all seven of their scoring runners in the top-50 and had a 1 minute, 23 second gap between the No. 1 and No. 5 runners. Senior Michel Ramirez placed third in a time of 24:08.00, less than 10 seconds behind the individual champion. Junior Edwin Kangogo was also in the top-10, placing sixth in 24:32.60.

• Junior Caroline Kurgat was the only Alaska Anchorage women’s runner in the top-25, placing third in 20:34.90. She was five seconds behind the individual runner. Sophomore Jennah Jepchumba was the No. 2 runners, placing 32nd in 22:22.60.

• Alaska Anchorage maintained its position in the USTFCCCA Men’s Division II Coaches Rankings at No. 9, but slipped one spot to No. 3 in the West Region Rankings. The UAA women dropped out of the top-25, but were the first team among those receiving votes with 12 points. The Seawolves are No. 6 in the women’s West Region Rankings.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington took a select number of athletes to compete at the SMU Open on Saturday in Lacey. The Wildcats were incomplete in the men’s race and placed fourth in the women’s race with 132 points.

• The CWU women had just a 31-second gap between the No. 1 and No. 5 runners. Freshman Alicia Girdler led the Wildcats, placing 26th on the 6,000-meter course in 20:26.10. Sophomore Samantha DuPras was 27th with a time of 20:28.20.

• Only four men competed for CWU in the men’s 6,000-meter race. Freshman Matt Conrardy was the Wildcats’ top finisher, placing 45th in 27:46.10. Freshman Nick Gennarelli placed 47th in 27:48.30.

• Central Washington will be one of four GNAC teams competing at the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational on Saturday in Salem, Ore.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia did not compete in either of the last two weekends. The Cavaliers return to the course this weekend, racing at the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational in Salem, Ore.

• In its last race, Concordia placed fourth in the men’s competition at the Ash Creek Invitational #1 on Sept. 9, scoring 112 points. The Cavaliers’ women placed sixth with a score of 145 points.

• Senior Jared Seckel captured a top-10 finish in the men’s 6,300-meter race, placing ninth with a time of 19:38.6. Junior Judd Lewis placed 12th in a time of 19:41.7.

• Sophomore Nicole Pederson was the top Concordia finisher in the women’s 4,600-meter race, placing 23rd in 18:44.6. Freshman Bailey Fjelstul finished 27th in a time of 18:52.2.

• Concordia is in the third year of a three-year transition process to NCAA Division II membership. This is its second year competing in full Division II and GNAC schedules. While the Cavaliers are eligible to win the GNAC championship, they are not eligible for regional & national competition.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings provided a preview of this year’s NCAA West Regional Championships course, putting on the Yellowjacket Invitational at Avery Park in Billings.

• The MSUB men placed second of six scoring teams with 47 points, finishing just seven points behind winner San Francisco State. Senior Garrett Love led the way, placing fourth in the 10,000-meter race in a time of 32:28.03. Junior Jorey Egeland placed sixth in 32:48.47. There was a gap of 1:15 between the No. 1 and No. 5 runners.

• The Yellowjackets’ women placed fifth in the team competition with 103 points. Freshman Nikki Allen and senior Rio Frame finished back-to-back. Allen placed 14th in 24:49.03 for 6,000 meters while Frame placed 15th in a time of 24:56.85.

• There is no rest for the Yellowjackets’ squad as they compete this weekend at the Univ. of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Shootout in Boulder, Colo.

• Montana State Billings will be a relative unknown to the rest of the conference. Outside of Northwest Nazarene at the Yellowjacket Invitational, the Yellowjackets will not race against GNAC competition until the GNAC Championships on Oct. 22.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene posted a pair of outstanding team performances at the Yellowjacket Invitational. The Crusaders’ women placed second of six teams while the men placed third, both scoring 58 points. It was the Crusaders’ first race since the season-opening Idaho State Invitational on Sept. 2.

• Freshman Godfrey Kemboi was named the GNAC Male Athlete of the Week after he won the meet in just his second collegiate race. Kemboi covered the championship 10,000-meter distance in a time of 32:20.44, averaging 5:13 per mile. He was just one second ahead of second place Benji Preciado of San Francisco State.

• Junior Issac Mitchell finished in fifth place in 32:48.47 while sophomore Nick Hamilton placed seventh in 33:10.16. The Crusaders’ top-three runners all finsihed within 50 seconds of each other.

• The Manzer sisters posted a pair of top-5 finishes to lead the NNU women. Sophomore Sierra Manzer placed second in a time of 22:58.17 for 6,000 meters while junior Anysja Manzer placed third in 23:36.44. Sophomore Emily Hammons also had a top-15 finish, placing 12th in 24:47.38

• Northwest Nazarene is off again until Fri., Oct. 7, when the Crusaders compete in the San Francisco State Invitational.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s continued its cross country resurgence at its own SMU Open. The Saints’ women placed third in the 11-team field with 81 points while the men placed fifth in a 13-team field with 135 points.

• Senior Shannon Porter was named GNAC Female Athlete of the Week for the second time this season after she posted an 11-second victory. Porter covered the 5,000-meter course in 17:50.10. It was only her third collegiate race.

• Junior Yadira Lopez also had a top-10 finish, placing fifth in a time of 18:43.50.

• Senior Josiah Shelman led the Saint Martin’s men, placing 15th with a time of 27:00.50 on the 8,000-meter course. Junior Jasper Heckman placed 29th in a time of 27:21.30.

• Saint Martin’s returns to action this Saturday as one of four GNAC teams competing at the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational in Salem, Ore.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific’s women were just short of perfect at the SMU Invitational, placing eight runners in the top-10 to win the meet with a score of 22 points. The Falcons’ men placed eighth with a score of 171 points.

• Junior Mary Charleson led the Falcons, placing second on the 5,000-meter course in a time of 18:01.70. Senior Sarah Macdonald placed third in 18:16.10 while senior Hannah Calvert placed fourth in 18:34.70. The gap between the No. 1 and No. 5 runners was 1:03.

• Junior Ben Halladay scored a top-10 finish for the Seattle Pacific men, placing ninth in a time of 26:34.70. Freshman Danny Provo finished in 19th as he covered the 8,000-meter course in 27:06.70.

• Despite the strong performance in Lacey, the Seattle Pacific women slipped one spot in both the USTFCCCA Division II Coaches Rankings and West Region Rankings. The Falcons are No. 19 in the national poll and No. 5 in the regional poll.

• The Falcons will race in just one more meet before the GNAC Championships, competing on Sat., Oct. 8 at the Western Washington Invitational.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser did not compete collegiately last weekend, instead taking part in the Vancouver Spirit Run on Sunday. The Clan will be in action on Saturday at the Stanford Invitational.

• The Clan finished fourth in the men’s and women’s team competitions at the Sundodger Invitational. The women scored 114 points and was the top of the seven GNAC teams. The SFU men scored 110 points and were second among the GNAC teams.

• Senior Rebecca Bassett was one of three GNAC runners in the top-10 in the women’s race, placing ninth in a time of 21:15.80. Junior Braeden Charlton led three Simon Fraser men’s runners that all crossed within a second of each other. Charlton placed 18th in 24:57.00.

• The Simon Fraser men were among teams receiving votes in the USTFCCCA Division II National Rankings and are seventh in the West Region. The SFU women is eighth in the West Region Rankings.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon took the weekend off from competition after running each of the first three weekends. The Wolves will compete at the Stanford Invitational on Saturday.

• Western Oregon put together a pair of good team performances at the Sundodger Invitational. The WOU men placed seventh with a score of 190 points and were third out of the seven GNAC team. The Wolves’ women placed 14th with 414 points.

• Junior David Ribich earned his third straight GNAC Male Athlete of the Week award after he placed second with a time of 24:04.90. Sophomore Dustin Nading notched a solid top-15 finish, placing 12th in the race in a time of 24:48.20.

• Junior Kennedy Ruferner led the WOU women with her 37th place finish, covering the 6,000-meter course in 22:25.90. Junior Suzie Van de Grift finshed 47th in 22:39.20.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington competed with split squads last week with good results at both sites. The VIkings’ top runners competed at the Roy Griak Invitiational in Minnesota, with the men placing fifth and the women placing sixth. The remainder of the team competed at the SMU Open with the Vikings taking second in both team races.

• The Vikings had two top-10 placers in the 453 finisher men’s maroon race at the Griak. Junior Isaac Derline placed sixth with a time of 26:16.8 over 8,000 meters while junior Andrew Wise placed 10th in a time of 26:27.3.The men finished fifth with 154 points and were the second West Region team to cross the line.

• Senior Brittany Grant was the top WWU women’s finisher at the Griak, placing 15th in a time of 23:29.9 for 6,000 meters. Junior Lilianna Sterling finished in 27th place in a time of 24:00.1. The Vikings placed sixth with a score of 210 points.

• At the SMU Open, freshman Peter Butler led the WWU men as he finished fourth in a time of 26:27.10 for 8,900 meters. Sophomore Dylan Hayes was sixth in 26:28.00. Freshman Peyton Shinnick placed 13th in 19:19.50 to lead the women in the 5,000-meter race.

• In the USTFCCCA National Polls, the WWU women are ranked No. 16 and the men are at No. 21.

• Western Washington will not compete again until it hosts the Western Washington Invitational at Lake Padden on Sat., Oct. 8.

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