Kurgat Repeats As 10k Champ To Lead Day 1 Performances
Caroline Kurgat (left) earned her second outdoor 10,000-meter title while Alexa Shindruk (right) earned All-America honors with a seventh-place finish.Photo by Gary Breedlove.
Caroline Kurgat (left) earned her second outdoor 10,000-meter title while Alexa Shindruk (right) earned All-America honors with a seventh-place finish.Photo by Gary Breedlove.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

KINGSVILLE, Texas – Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat did it again.

The senior successfully defended her championship in the women’s 10,000 meters Thursday to lead the GNAC’s performances on day one of the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Javelina Stadium.

The Division II all-time record holder in the event, Kurgat let Leah Hanle of Grand Valley State lead for much of the second half of the race before surging over the final 800 meters to win in a time of 36:34.31. It is the sixth NCAA Division II championship for Kurgat and her third in outdoor track and field. She will try to cap her collegiate career with a victory when she races in the 5,000 meters on Saturday.

The women’s 10,000 meters produced both of the GNAC’s All-Americans on Thursday. Central Washington senior Alexa Shindruk earned the other trophy, placing seventh in a time of 38:04.69.

Thursday’s running preliminaries produced five finalists from GNAC teams. The men’s steeplechase produced two of those with Alaska Anchorage senior Edwin Kangogo and sophomore Wesley Kirui automatically qualifying for Friday’s final by placing fourth in their heats. Kangogo had the fourth-fastest preliminary time of 9:14.55 while Kirui had the ninth-fastest in 9:16.27. Simon Fraser sophomore Aaron Ahl placed 14th in 9:23.47.

Simon Fraser senior Julia Howley scored the second-fastest in the women’s steeplechase, winning her heat to automatically qualify for Friday’s final in a time of 10:52.07. Seattle Pacific junior Kate Lilly placed 13th in 11:13.16.

Simon Fraser senior Miryam Bassett qualified for Saturday’s final in the women’s 1,500 meters. Finishing seventh in her heat with a time of 4:35.07, Bassett was one of four time qualifiers to advance to the final. Seattle Pacific junior Kate Lilly placed 15th in 4:39.51, Alaska Anchorage sophomore Nancy Jeptoo was 17th in 4:41.83 and Falcons’ sophomore Dania Holmberg was 18th in 4:46.26.

Clan junior Rowan Doherty just missed a time qualifying spot in the men’s 1,500 meters, finishing 16th in a time of 4:04.22.

Central Washington sophomore Sidney Trinidad was also an automatic qualifier for Saturday’s final in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, winning her heat in a time of 59.78 seconds. Teammate Erykah Weems finished 10th in a time of 1:00.43.

Alaska Anchorage junior Vanessa Aniteye placed 17th in the preliminaries of the women’s 400 meters in a time of 56.63 seconds. Western Washington freshman Karlington Anunagba saw hamstring issues hamper his first national meet experiencing, placing 20th in the men’s 100 meters in 12.41 seconds.

In the combined events, Concordia senior Giovanni Brown used a strong finish in the day’s final event to move into eighth in the decathlon with a score of 3,372 points. Brown finished no better than eighth in the first four events, with that eighth-place coming in the shot put (38-4.75). He closed with a time of 52.08 seconds in the 400 meters, placing seventh and moving up from 13th to eighth.

Central Washington sophomore Braydon Maier is 13th with a score of 2,904 points. His best individual finish was ninth in the opening event of the day, the 100 meters (11.33).

Seattle Pacific junior Scout Cai is ninth after the first four events of the heptathlon with a score of 2,965 points. Her day was highlighted by a second-place finish in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 4.25 inches, and a fifth-place finish in the shot put (35-8.5).

Central Washington senior HarLee Ortega sits close behind in 10th place at 2,931 points, which included a fifth-place finish in the high jump, while Concordia senior Chelsea Bone is 15th with 1,986 points.

The conference’s two individual field-event competitors were hampered by foul marks. Saint Martin’s senior Liz Larson had only one fair attempt in the women’s hammer, placing 14th at 172 feet, 6 inches. Alaska Anchorage junior Chrisalyn Johnson was fair on only her first attempt in the women’s long jump, placing 19th at 18 feet, 5 inches.

Competition for GNAC athletes on day two of the championships begins on Friday at 9:30 a.m. (Central) with the decathlon with the heptathlon continuing at 10:30 a.m. (Central). Event finals that feature conference athletes will include the men’s discus, women’s high jump and the men’s and women’s steeplechase.