Cross Country: UAA Sweeps Titles in GNAC Meet
After sweeping the GNAC team titles, the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves posed in front of their 2012 hardware. Both teams set GNAC records for lowest team scores. (Photo by Ritch Fuhrer)
After sweeping the GNAC team titles, the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves posed in front of their 2012 hardware. Both teams set GNAC records for lowest team scores. (Photo by Ritch Fuhrer)
UAA's Dylan Anthony (1) and Micah Chelimo (2) and Western Washington's Dak Riek (110) fight for the lead. (Photo by Ritch Fuhrer)
UAA's Dylan Anthony (1) and Micah Chelimo (2) and Western Washington's Dak Riek (110) fight for the lead. (Photo by Ritch Fuhrer)

Saturday, October 20, 2012


MONMOUTH, Ore. - Micah Chelimo and Susan Tanui won individual titles leading Alaska Anchorage to record-low point totals as the Seawolf men and women succesfully defended their Great Northwest Athletic Conference team titles Saturday at the Ash Creek Preserve cross country course on the campus of Western Oregon University.

The UAA women, who are ranked fifth nationally, won their fourth consecutive GNAC title with a near-perfect team score of 16, breaking the old mark of 24 set by Seattle Pacific in 2007.  The Falcons went on to finish second in the national meet that season, the best-ever national team finish by a GNAC harrier squad.

Ninth-ranked Simon Fraser finished second for the second year in a row with 61 points, while Seattle Pacific edged Western Washington 104-115 for third place.  The Falcons and Vikings came into the meet ranked 24th and 31st nationally, respectively.

Tanui was clocked in a 6,000-meter time of 20:37.29, 18 seconds ahead of teammate Miriam Kipng'eno, who  earned her fourth straight Top 10 finish.  She is the eighth woman in GNAC history to win all-conference honors four times.

In all, six Seawolf women earned all-conference honors with Top 10 finishes including Ivy O'Guinn (3rd), freshman Sarah Freistone (4th), Susan Bick (6th) and Katie Krehlik (7th).

Also earning all-conference accolades were Lindsey Butterworth (5th), Kansas MacKenzie (9th) and Peggy Noel (10th), all of Simon Fraser, and Kelsey Kreft of Central Washington (8th).

Freistone earned GNAC Freshman of the Year honors with her fourth-place effort, while Seattle Pacific's Katie Thralls earned the GNAC Newcomer of the Year award by finishing 18th.

Three-time All-American Micah Chelimo won his second straight men's individual title in a 8,000-meter winning time of 24:49.53 leading Alaska Anchorage to its third consecutive GNAC team title.

The Seawolves, who came in ranked seventh nationally, placed four runners in the top six and finished with a meet-record team score of 23.  UAA set the old record of 27 last year.  Prior to that, no team had ever scored fewer than 32 points.

Western Washington, which is ranked 10th nationally, placed second with 50 points.  The Vikings have placed either first or second in eight consecutive years.

Chelimo and UAA's Alfred Kangogo, who finished second 8 1/2 seconds behind his teammate, each earned their fourth all-conference award,  They are just the fifth and sixth men in conference history - the first from UAA - to accomplish that feat.  Chelimo's win was his fourth of the season and the ninth of his career.

Also earning all-conference honors for coach Michael Friess' men's team were Dylan Anthony (5th), Jacob Parisien (6th) and Isaac Kangogo (9th).  The award was the third in Parisien, who also had Top 10 finishes in 2008 and 2010, and the second in a row for Anthony and Isaac Kangogo.

Joining the five UAA athletes on the all-conference team were three Western Washington runners - Dak Riek (3rd), Chip Jackson (4th) and Kyle Johnson (10th) - along with William Harrison of Seattle Pacific (7th) and Jesse Baggenstos of Northwest Nazarene (10th).  Riek's all-conference finish was his second.

Two athletes who placed 10th last year, just missed repeating as all-conference award winners each placing 11th - Western Washington's Tyler Cannon and Montana State Billings' Whitney Mickelsen.

The MSUB men, under coach Dave Coppock, had the second biggest improvement in GNAC history.  The Yellowjackets, who are not ranked in the regional poll, finished third, leaping six slots from their 2011 ninth place finish.  Its previous best since joining the GNAC in 2007 was eighth in 2010.

Seattle Pacific's men had the biggest improvement in conference history, winning the title in 2004 after finishing eighth in 2003.

MSUB finished nine points ahead of fourth-place Western Oregon (103-112), which came in ranked fourth in the West Region and 20th in the nation.

MSUB's top two finishers were Clint Choquette and Robert Peterson, who placed 14th and 15th, respectively, to earn GNAC Newcomer of the Year and GNAC Freshman of the Year, honors, respectively.

UAA's Chelimo and Tanui, by virtue of their wins, are accorded GNAC Athlete of the Year award winners.

GNAC (Oct. 20, 2012): Men - Alaska Anchorage 23, Western Washington 50, MSU Billings 103, Western Oregon 112, Seattle Pacific 140, Simon Fraser 165, Northwest Nazarene 191, Alaska Fairbanks 206, Central Washington 255, Saint Martin's 256. All-Conference (8,000 Meters) - 1. Micah Chelimo, UAA, 24:49.53; 2. Alfred Kangogo, UAA, 24:57.93; 3. Dak Riak, WWU, 25:05.38; 4. Chip Jackson, WWU, 25:10.97; 5. Dylan Anthony, UAA, 25:12.49; 6. Jacob Parisien, UAA, 25:18.51; 7. William Harrison, SPU, 25:20.39; 8. Jesse Baggenstos, NNU, 25:26.06; 9. Isaac Kangogo, UAA, 25:27.84; 10. Kyle Johnson, WWU, 25:28.37.  Women -  Alaska Anchorage 16, Simon Fraser 61, Seattle Pacific 104, Western Washington 115, Central Washington 151, MSU Billings 168, Northwest Nazarene 181, Alaska Fairbanks 198, Western Oregon 201, Saint Martin's 317.  All-Conference (6,000 Meters)- 1. Susan Tanui, UAA, 20:37.29; 2. Miriam Kipng'eno, UAA, 20:55.16; 3. Ivy O'Guinn, UAA 21:04.20; 4. Sarah Freistone, UAA, 21:13.06; 5. Lindsey Butterworth, SFU, 21:19.46; 6. Susan Bick, UAA, 21:20.09; 7. Katie Krehlik, UAA, 21:22.34; 8. Kelsey Kreft, CWU, 21:23.96; 9. Kansas MacKenzie, SFU, 21:25.57; 10. Peggy Noel, SFU, 21:28.06. Athlete of the Year: Men - Micah Chelimo, UAA.  Women - Susan Tanui, UAA. Newcomer of the Year: Men - Clint Choquette, MSUB.  Women - Katie Thralls, SPU. Freshman of the Year: Men - Robert Peterson, MSUB.  Women - Sarah Freistone, UAA.