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Dominant Race Earns Kurgat USTFCCCA Weekly Honor
Racing in her last GNAC Cross Country Championship, Kurgat defended her title with a time of 20:49.2. Photo by Nick Danielson.
Racing in her last GNAC Cross Country Championship, Kurgat defended her title with a time of 20:49.2. Photo by Nick Danielson.

Monday, October 23, 2017

NEW ORLEANS – Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat didn’t just defend her GNAC women’s cross country individual title, she sent a message that her senior year may be the best yet.

Thanks to her dominant winning performance at the GNAC Cross Country Championships, Kurgat was named the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) Division II Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week. It is the third time out of seven weeks that Kurgat has been selected for the award.

Having raced just two times this season, Kurgat and the Seawolves were expected to engage Simon Fraser in a close race for the women’s team title. It did not take long for Kurgat, however, to build a dominant lead and ended up winning the individual title by a mind-blowing 56-second margin. She covered the 6,000-meter course in a time of 20:49.2.

“It feels really good. We’ve been really working hard for this and we did it as a team,” Kurgat said following the race. “The conditions were a bit rough, but I felt good about my fitness and I feel like I was right where I need to be. Things felt really good.”

Kurgat’s Alaska Anchorage teammates followed suit. All five Seawolves’ scoring runners placed in the top-10 to cruise to their third consecutive team championship with a score of 28 points. Simon Fraser placed second with a score of 65 points.

Kurgat picked up national recognition each of the last two times she has raced this season. She earned her first Athlete of the Week award of the season after placing fifth at the University of San Francisco Invitational on Sept. 2 with a time of 21:39.3. The second award came after Kurgat won the Lewis Conference Crossover on Oct. 7 with a time of 21:18.9.

Next up for Kurgat and the Seawolves will be the NCAA Division II West Regional Championships on Sat., Nov. 4, at the Ash Creek Preserve on the campus of Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. Kurgat was the runner-up at the 2016 regional meet and finished third at the NCAA Championships to be named an All-American.

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