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Ribich, Krugat Named West Region XC Athletes Of The Year
David Ribich (left) and Caroline Kurgat both earned individual victories at the NCAA West Region Championships in Monmouth, Oregon on Nov. 4.
David Ribich (left) and Caroline Kurgat both earned individual victories at the NCAA West Region Championships in Monmouth, Oregon on Nov. 4.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

NEW ORLEANS – Thanks to their winning performances at last week’s NCAA West Regional Championships, Western Oregon’s David Ribich and Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat have been selected by the region’s coaches as the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Association’s (USTFCCCA) Division II West Region Cross Country Athletes of the Year.

The duo also led a total of 16 GNAC athletes that were designated as All-West Region by the coaches organization and lead a contingent of three teams and two individual qualifiers that will represent the conference at the NCAA Division II Championships on Sat., Nov. 21 in Evansville, Indiana. The all-region selections go to the top-25 finishers in each regional race.

Ribich claimed his first West Region title and his third All-West Region selection on his home course at the Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth. The senior pulled away over the final 400 meters to win with a time of 29:49.2 over 10,000 meters.

The award for Ribich marks the seventh time a GNAC athlete has been selected as the Men’s West Region Athlete of the Year and the first time it has been won by an athlete not from Alaska Anchorage.

Kurgat, meanwhile, followed up her dominant winning performance at the GNAC Championships in November with an equally dominant performance at the regional. The senior won the regional meet by 38 seconds, covering the 6,000-meter track in 20:26.1. Kurgat is the top returning athlete in the field at the NCAA Championships and will be a favorite to claim the individual title.

The award for Kurgat marks the ninth time that a GNAC athlete has been selected as the West Region Women’s Athlete of the Year. It is the fifth selection for Alaska Anchorage in the school’s GNAC era.

Ribich is joined on the All-West Region Team by sixth other GNAC men’s performers. The list includes Alaska Anchorage’s Edwin Kangogo, Western Oregon’s Dustin Nading, Western Washington’s Andrew Wise and Simon Fraser’s Oliver Jorgensen, Sean Miller and Rowan Doherty.

Kurgat is joined by four Alaska Anchorage teammates on the Women’s All-West Region Team: Zennah Jepchumba, Danielle McCormick, Mariah Burroughs and Emmah Chelimo. Also tabbed for All-West Region honors was Central Washington’s Alexa Shindruk, Simon Fraser’s Julia Howley and Miryam Bassett and Western Oregon’s Kennedy Rufener.

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