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Seawolf Sweep: Friess Takes XC Coach Of The Year Honors
Michael Friess earned his 11th GNAC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year and his eighth women's award.
Michael Friess earned his 11th GNAC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year and his eighth women's award.

Monday, December 10, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – After leading both Seawolves’ teams to a pair of GNAC titles and trips to the NCAA Division II Championships, Alaska Anchorage head coach Michael Friess has been selected by his peers as the 2018 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.

It is the 11th GNAC Men’s Cross Country of the Year award for Friess and the eighth award in the last nine seasons. It is also the 10th women’s award for the longtime UAA head coach and the second consecutive conference honor. In addition, Friess was named last month as the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) Division II West Region Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.

In his 28th year as Alaska Anchorage head coach, Friess led the Seawolves to top honors in a close GNAC Cross Country Championships, which took place Nov. 3 in Monmouth, Oregon. The UAA women claimed their fourth consecutive GNAC championship and the ninth in the last 10 years, scoring 49 points to finish 11 points ahead of runner-up Simon Fraser. The Seawolves placed four runners in the top-10 and junior Emmah Chelimo claimed the individual title with a time of 21:15.1 over 6,000 meters.

Alaska Anchorage went on to win the NCAA Division II West Region women’s title with 66 points, this time finishing 18 points ahead of Simon Fraser. Chelimo was once again the individual champion, winning in a time of 20:57.47, with four of the Seawolves’ top-five finishing in the top-11. At the NCAA Division II Championships, UAA finished sixth with a score of 255 points, marking the 10th consecutive top-10 nationals finish for the team. Zennah Jepchumba (22nd), Chelimo (23rd) and Nancy Jeptoo (38th) earned All-America honors.

After a year off the top step of the podium at the conference meet, Friess’ Alaska Anchorage men returned as they claimed the title with 46 points to edge out Simon Fraser by nine points. The championship is the eighth for the Seawolves over the last nine years. Newcomer Wesley Kirui claimed the individual title with a time of 24:38 over 8,000 meters as the program placed four runners in the top-11.

Two weeks later, the Seawolves earned their 10th trip to nationals in the last 11 seasons by placing third at the NCAA West Region Championships, scoring a total of 116 points. Sophomore Felix Kemboi was the individual runner-up as he clocked 30:50.84 over 10,000 meters. Alaska Anchorage went on to finish eighth at the Division II Championships with a score of 279 points. Kirui was one of two GNAC athletes to earn All-Amerca honors, placing ninth in 32:35.1.

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