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Four Wins For GNAC Harriers In Opening Weekend
Concordia's Judd Lewis (left) and Western Oregon's Kennedy Rufener made it a GNAC sweep of the individual first place ribbons at the Linfield Harrier Classic.
Concordia's Judd Lewis (left) and Western Oregon's Kennedy Rufener made it a GNAC sweep of the individual first place ribbons at the Linfield Harrier Classic.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

CONFERENCE HARRIERS EXCEL AT LINFIELD: The first meet of the 2017 season was a good one for Concordia and Western Oregon, whose young teams showed well at the Sept. 1 Linfield Harrier Classic in McMinnville, Ore.

Despite running without many of its top runners, Western Oregon claimed the men’s team victory with a total of 40 points. The Wolves were four points ahead of George Fox and six points ahead of Concordia. Senior Parker Marson led the way for the Wolves with his fourth place finish in the 6,000-meter course in a time of 20:13.86.

Concordia senior Judd Lewis, meanwhile, became the first Cavaliers’ male athlete to win a race in the school’s GNAC era, capturing first place in a time of 19:58.36.

In the women’s 4,000-meter race, WOU senior Kennedy Rufener won her first race in a Wolves’ singlet with her time of 15:21.41. Concordia placed third in the women’s team competition with 60 points while Western Oregon was fourth with 77 points.

IN THE RANKINGS: Alaska Anchorage opens at the top GNAC in both the USTFCCCA Division II Preseason Coaches Poll. The Seawolves are No. 5 in the men’s poll, the second ranked West Region team behind Chico State (No. 4). Western Washington was listed among teams receiving votes.

In the women’s poll, Alaska Anchorage opens at No. 7 after finishing at No. 8 in 2016. Simon Fraser is ranked No. 14 while Seattle Pacific was among teams receiving votes.

In the preseason West Region men’s rankings, Alaska Anchorage opens at No. 2, followed by Western Washington at No. 7 and Simon Fraser at No. 9. The Seawolves are also No. 2 in the women’s West Region rankings, followed by Simon Fraser at No. 5, Seattle Pacific at No. 8 and Western Washington at No. 9.

BREAKING THE TAPE: A total of four GNAC athletes, including three women, picked up victories in races over the Labor Day Weekend. Here is the complete list...

MEN
• Judd Lewis (CU): Linfield Harrier Classic, Sept. 1 (19:58.36, 6,000 meters)

WOMEN
• Alyssa Foote (SPU): Dual vs. Northwest (Wash.), Sept. 1 (17:20.95, 4,800 meters)
• Larissa Kolasinski (SMU): Puget Sound Invitational, Sept. 2 (23:51.00, 6,000 meters)
• Kennedy Rufener (WOU): Linfield Harrier Classic, Sept. 1 (15:21.41, 4,000 meters)

ALASKA
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: No Meet
• Alaska will open its 2017 season by competing in the Sundodger Invitational, Sat., Sept. 16 in Seattle.

• The Nanooks will have an unofficial opening to the season on Friday, holding their annual Moda Health Blue & Gold Intrasquad Race on the West Ridge Trails in Fairbanks.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
LAST WEEK: Sept. 2 at San Francisco Invitational
Men - 4th of 7, 103 pts. Women - 3rd of 5, 82 pts.
THIS WEEK: Sept. 8: at Ash Creek Invitational, Monmouth, Ore.

• Alaska Anchorage opened the season as the only Division II team competing admist a Division I field at the San Francisco Invitational.

• Senior Caroline Kurgat was named both the GNAC Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week and the USTFCCCA Division II Women’s Athlete of the Week after placing fifth in the 6,000-meter race in a time of 21:39.3. She was beat by four USF runners from a team that placed sixth at last year’s Division I Championships.

• Freshman Felix Kemboi was the top UAA runner in the men’s race, placing fifth  in a time of 25:46.5 for 8,000 meters.

• Both the Seawolves’ men’s and women’s programs are ranked in the USTFCCCA Division II Preseason Coaches Poll. The UAA men are ranked fifth while the UAA women are ranked seventh. Both squads are ranked second in the USTFCCCA West Region polls.

• The Seawolves will compete in rare back-to-back weeks, traveling south to the Ash Creek Invitational on Friday. The course is the location for November’s NCAA Division II West Regional Championships.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: Sept. 9: at SMU Meet, Lacey, Wash.

• Central Washington’s scheduled opener to the 2017 season was scrubbed due to air quality. The CWU Apple Ridge Invitational, scheduled for Saturday, was cancelled due to smoke generated by the forest fires in the Northwest.

• With the cancellation, Central Washington will join Saint Martin’s and Western Washington for a meet on Saturday on the Saint Martin’s campus in Lacey, Wash.

CONCORDIA
LAST WEEK: Sept. 1 at Linfield Harrier Classic
Men - 3rd of 4, 46 pts. Women - 3rd of 5, 60 pts.
THIS WEEK: Sept. 9: at Ash Creek Invitational, Monmouth, Ore.

• Concordia posted a pair of third place team finishes as the Cavaliers opened the year at the Linfield Harrier Classic in McMinnville, Ore.

• Senior Judd Lewis was named the GNAC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week after he won the 6,000-meter race in a time of 19:58.36. He finished seven seconds ahead of second place Christian Parr of George Fox (20:05.12). It was Lewis’ first collegiate race victory and the first for a Concordia men’s athlete since joining the GNAC in 2015.

• Junior transfer Jose Macias placed third for the Cavaliers in a time of 20:06.60 while junior transfer Josh Moats was sixth in 20:27.72. Both are transfers from Clackamas CC.

• Sophomore Bailey Fjelstul was Concordia’s top women’s runner, placing seventh in the 4,000-meter race in 15:37.41. Senior Sara Harrington was eighth in a time of 16:05.29.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: Sept. 8: at Gage McSpadden Memorial Invitational, Spearfish, S.D.

• Montana State Billings opens the season at the Gage McSpadden Memorial Invitational, the first of three meets the Yellowjackets will compete in during September.

• The Yellowjackets begin life under first year head coach Jonathan Woehl, who was promoted after two seasons as the program’s assistant coach. He succeeds Dave Coppock, who retired in May after 28 years leading the MSUB program.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: No Meet

• Northwest Nazarene opens its 2017 season on Sat., Sept. 16, competing in the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle.

SAINT MARTIN’S
LAST WEEK: Sept. 2 at Puget Sound Invitational
Men - 3rd of 4, 79 pts. Women - 2nd of 4, 60 pts.
THIS WEEK: Sept. 9: Hosting SMU Meet, Lacey, Wash.

• Saint Martin’s showed well against a small field at the Puget Sound Invitational in Lakewood, Wash.

• Junior Larissa Kolasinski repeated as the women’s race champion, covering the 6,000 meters in 23:51. She finished 27 seconds ahead of second place Rachel Metzler of Puget Sound.

• Senior Josh Hunt was the Saints’ top men’s finisher, placing seventh in a time of 28:07 for 8,000 meters. He was the top Division II finisher, trailing six runners from Division I Portland. Junior Levi Schilter placed ninth in a time of 28:31.

• Thanks to the Northwest forest fires, the Saints scheduled trip to the CWU Apple Ridge Invitational has been cancelled. With the cancellation, Saint Martin’s will host Central Washington and Western Washington on the SMU campus for a meet on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
LAST WEEK: Sept. 1: Dual vs. Northwest (Wash.)
Men - 1st of 2, 23 pts. Women - 1st of 2, 18 pts.
THIS WEEK: No Meet

• Seattle Pacific opened its 2017 season with a last-minute scheduled dual meet with NAIA crosstown rival Northwest (Wash.) at Seattle’s Magnason Park.

• Sophomore Alyssa Foote won the women’s 4,800-meter race in a time of 17:20.95. She led a finish that saw the Falcons take seven of the top eight places. Freshman Dania Holmberg was five seconds behind, placing second in her collegiate debut in 17:25.04.

• Senior Ben Halladay was the top Seattle Pacific men’s finisher, placing second in the 7,200-meter race in a time of 23:01.10. Senior Brysten James was third in 23:51.32.

• The Seattle Pacific women were listed among teams receiving votes in the USTFCCCA Division II Coaches Preseason Poll, picking up two points.

• Seattle Pacific will not compete this week. The Falcons return to racing in the Emerald City on Sat., Sept. 16, at the Sundodger Invitational.

SIMON FRASER
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: Sept. 8: at Ash Creek Invitational, Monmouth, Ore.

• Simon Fraser opens its 2017 season on Fri., Sept. 8, when it competes at the Ash Creek Invitational on the Western Oregon University campus.

• The Simon Fraser women opened the season ranked No. 14 in the USTFCCCA Division II Preseason Coaches Poll. The Clan is one of two GNAC women’s teams ranked (Alaska Anchorage) and is the fifth ranked team from the West Region.

WESTERN OREGON
LAST WEEK: Sept. 1: Linfield Harrier Classic
Men - 1st of 4, 40 pts. Women - 4th of 5, 77 pts.
THIS WEEK: Hosts Ash Creek Invitational, Fri., Sept. 8, Monmouth.

• Western Oregon provided some of its runners an early start to the competitiive season with action at the Linfield Harrier Classic.

• Senior Kennedy Rufener won her first race at WOU and just the sixth all time for a Wolves’ women’s athlete in the GNAC era. She covered the 4,000-meter course in a time of 15:21.41, nine seconds ahead of second place Emma Knudson of Linfield (15:30.71).

• Senior Parker Marson won the winning WOU men’s effort, placing fourth in the 6,000-meter race in a time of 20:13.86. Senior Alan Ekanger was fifth in 20:24.88.

• Western Oregon will run its first race at home this season on Friday, hosting the Ash Creek Invitational. The course will be the site of November’s NCAA Division II West Region Championships.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: Sept. 9: at SMU Meet, Lacey, Wash.

• Thanks to the Northwest forest fires, the Saints scheduled trip to the CWU Apple Ridge Invitational has been cancelled.With the cancellation, Central Washington will join Saint Martin’s and Western Washington for a meet on Saturday on the Saint Martin’s campus in Lacey, Wash.

• The Western Washington men were listed among teams receiving votes in the USTFCCCA Division II Coaches Preseason Poll, picking up two points.

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