Kurgat, Nading Earn USTFCCCA Top Scholar-Athlete Honors
Both Caroline kurgat (left) and Dustin Nading added the USTFCCCA Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor to their Google Cloud/CoSIDA Academic All-American laurels. Photos by Chris Oertell.
Both Caroline kurgat (left) and Dustin Nading added the USTFCCCA Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor to their Google Cloud/CoSIDA Academic All-American laurels. Photos by Chris Oertell.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

NEW ORLEANS – Two of the GNAC’s track and field national champions are among the top scholar-athletes in the nation.

Alaska Anchorage junior Caroline Kurgat, the NCAA Division II national champion in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, has been named by the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as its Division II Outdoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the year.

Western Oregon junior Dustin Nading, the national champion indoors in the mile and the runner-up outdoors in the 1,500 meters, was named by the organization as its Division II Indoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The two headline honors are among a number of academic awards announced on July 26 by the national coaches organization. A total of 73 GNAC student-athletes were named to USTFCCCA All-Academic Awards. The citation recognizes student-athletes that have compiled a 3.25 cumulative grade point average or better and have reached a provisional or automatic qualifying standard for the NCAA Championships in either the indoor or outdoor seasons.

In addition to the individual honors, a total of 13 GNAC teams were named by the USTFCCCA as All-Academic Teams, recognizing programs that achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher. Honored were men’s programs from Alaska Anchorage, Central Washington, Concordia, Montana State Billings, Northwest Nazarene and Western Oregon. Women’s programs recognized included Alaska Anchorage, Central Washington, Concordia, Montana State Billings, Northwest Nazarene, Seattle Pacific and Western Oregon.

The Scholar-Athlete of the Year award is the latest in a long line of awards this season for Kurgat, who has a 3.52 GPA while majoring in nursing and medical laboratory technologies. In addition to her two national titles, Kurgat earned GNAC Championships Women’s Track Athlete of the Meet honors after she won conference titles in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and placed second in the 1,500 meters. She was named both the GNAC Female Athlete of the Year and Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

In addition to her success on the track, Kurgat won the NCAA Division II cross country national title after winning the West Regional championship by nearly 40 seconds and the GNAC title by almost a minute. The combined cross country and track successes also earned Kurgat the Division II Honda Athlete of the Year by the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards as well as Google Cloud/CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American honors.

Nading, who has a 3.86 GPA as an exercise science major, won the national title in the mile with a time of 4:13.30 and helped the Western Oregon distance medley relay repeat as national champion. Nading was the runner-up to teammate David Ribich in the mile at the GNAC Indoor Championships and placed fourth in the 3,000 meters. During the outdoor season, Nading was second to Ribich in both the 800 and 1,500 meters at the GNAC Championships and was runner-up to the senior at the NCAA Championships.

In addition to the USTFCCCA honor, Nading was selected as the Google Cloud/CoSIDA Division II Track and Field/Cross Country Academic All-American of the Year.

Kurgat is the fifth GNAC women’s athlete to be recognized as a USTFCCCA Track and Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Past GNAC Outdoor Track Scholar-Athletes of the Year include Northwest Nazarene’s Ashley Puga in 2009 and Seattle Pacific’s Jessica Pixler in 2010. Western Washington’s Bethany Drake was named the Women’s Outdoor Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2014 and 2017. Pixler was named the Indoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2009 and 2010 while Simon Fraser’s Helen Crofts earned the award in 2013.

Nading is the third GNAC male athlete to be named to the honor. Alaska Anchorage’s Cody Thomas was named the Outdoor Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2016 while Ribich was the Outdoor Track Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2017.

Alaska Anchorage:
Chris Brake, Caleb Korta, Liam Lindsay, David Sramek, Nicholas Taylor
Central Washington: Corbin Carlton, Kodiak Landis, Braydon Maier
Concordia: Caleb Bridge, Giovanni Brown, Joe Denniston, Josh Koch, Carlos Ortiz, James Phillips
Montana State Billings: Jorey Egeland
Northwest Nazarene: Dakota Tidwell, John Van Beuren
Western Oregon: Justin Crosswhite, Josh Dempsey, AJ Holmberg, Tyler Jones, Dustin Nading, David Ribich
Western Washington: Alex Barry, Kyler Sager, Tupre Wickliff

Alaska Anchorage:
Vanessa Aniteye, Mariah Burroughs, Ruth Cvancara, Yemi Knight, Caroline Kurgat, Danielle McCormick, Tamara Perez
Central Washington: Ali Anderson, Halle Irvine, Alexa Shindruk, Nicole Soleim, Sidney Trinidad, Mariyah Vongsaveng, Brooke Williams
Concordia: Chelsea Bone, Rachel Bring, Tori Johnson, Katrina Linenko, Christina Macdonald, Elizabeth Stottlemyre, Tasha Willing
Northwest Nazarene: Ellie Logan, Nice Loufoua, Nicole Nobbs, Elise Snowden
Saint Martin’s: Liz Larson
Seattle Pacific: Grace Bley, Scout Cai, Mary Charleson, Becca Houk, Geneva Lehnert, Kate Lilly, Kellie May, Renick Meyer, Chynna Phan, Julia Stepper
Western Oregon: Nicole Maurmann, Megan Rose, Kennedy Rufener, Suzie Van De Grift, Olivia Woods
Western Washington: Jasmine McMullin, Hannah Nienaber, Anna Paradee, Raquel Pellecer, Madeline Taylor, Natalie Vetto