UAA's Tanui, Friess Win USTFCCCA Region Awards
UAA's Susan Tanui won her second straight region title last week at Spokane (Photo by Dan Levine)
UAA's Susan Tanui won her second straight region title last week at Spokane (Photo by Dan Levine)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore.  – Alaska Anchorage senior Susan Tanui has been named the 2013 NCAA Division  II West Region Female Cross Country Athlete of the Year, while head coach Michael Friess was named the West Region Female Coach of the Year.  The awards are presented by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Tanui, who finished second in last year's NCAA Division II national meet, was the only woman in Division II  to defend her regional title this past weekend, as she emerged victorious in the West Region to earn her second consecutive individual title and the region’s Athlete of the Year honors.

The senior from Eldoret, Kenya, traversed the 6K course in Spokane, Wash. in 21:45.4, three seconds ahead of teammate Joyce Kipchumba. The win is her fourth of the season, including a GNAC title.

Friess and the Seawolves edged out Chico State 76-79 to regain the region title from the Wildcats, who the year before had snapped UAA’s three-year streak. The Seawolves were only team in the region with four Top 20 finishers — including the top two finishers. Friess, in his 24th season, guided UAA to its fifth consecutive team GNAC title and an undefeated three-meet regular season.

The USTCCCA Region Women's Coach of the Year award was Friess' fourth in the past five years.

The Seawolf women will take a No. 4 national ranking into next week's national championship meet at Plantes Ferry in Spokane.  Grand Valley State is the No. 1 ranked team.

UAA is one of four GNAC women's teams in the Top 25 in this week's national poll.  Simon Fraser is ranked sixth.  Seattle Pacific and Western Washington are ranked 19th and 25th, respectively.

UAA's men's team is ranked 10th this week, one position lower than their previous position. Western Washington fell three positions in this week's poll to 19th.

Chico State, which won last week's regional team title, is ranked fourth.  Chico's Gary Towne was selected as the Men's Regional Coach of the Year, while CSUC's Isaac Chavez, who won the individual title in a time of 30:55.9, was selected the Men's West Region Athlete of the Year.