Fire On Ice: Clan, Seawolves' Men Earn National Meet Bids
Alaska Anchorage's Felix Kemboi dueled all race with Chico State's Eddie King, finishing second in 30:50.84. Photo by Shi Robison.
Alaska Anchorage's Felix Kemboi dueled all race with Chico State's Eddie King, finishing second in 30:50.84. Photo by Shi Robison.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

BILLINGS, Mont. – Simon Fraser and Alaska Anchorage made the most of less-than-ideal running conditions Saturday, securing trips to December’s Division II Championships with second and third-place team finishes to lead the GNAC at the NCAA Men’s West Regional Cross Country Championships at Amend Park.

Simon Fraser saw all five scoring runners earn All-West Region honors with top-25 finishes as the Clan placed second with a score of 63 points. Alaska Anchorage, which won the GNAC championship two weeks ago, also placed four runners in the top-25 to finish third with a score of 116 points.

Unlike the mild conditions much of the Northwest has experienced and the hot weather that California has endured, the men’s runners dealt with snow and a start-time temperature of 18 degrees to cover the mostly-grass 10,000-meter regionals course. Chico State, which has had to deal with the realities of the Camp Fire over the last week, won the team title with 63 points.

Alaska Anchorage had the top GNAC individual finishes in the meet, though in the flip order from the conference meet. Sophomore Felix Kemboi was the regional runner-up, placing in second in 30:50.84. Kemboi was just edged out by Chico State’s Eddie King, who took the individual crown with a time of 30:49. Seawolves’ sophomore Wesley Kirui, who was the GNAC individual champion, finished fifth in a time of 31:04.74.

Simon Fraser benefited from excellent grouping to earn second place. Junior Pierre-Louis Detourbe led the Clan with a sixth-place finish in 31:06.36 while senior Sean Miller was right behind in 31:06.93. Senior Rowan Doherty placed 12th in 31:23.88, junior Carlos Vargas placed 17th in 31:35.05 and junior Aaron Ahl finished 21st in 31:40.81.

Also earning All-West Region honors for Alaska Anchorage was senior Jorge Sanchez, who placed 19th in 31:36.81, and sophomore Nickson Koech with a 23rd place time of 31:43.37.

Western Oregon senior Tyler Jones earned an automatic invitation to nationals, placing ninth in a time of 31:12.85. He was the second individual finisher not connected to the three automatic qualifying teams. Jones’ teammate, senior Dustin Nading, placed 10th in a time of 31:14.94 and is likely to earn an at-large invitation when the complete national meet field is announced on Monday. The Wolves placed sixth with a score of 182 points.

Western Washington had its best finish in the regionals since 2015, placing fifth with a score of 159 points. Junior Jadon Olson earned All-West Region honors with a 20th place finish in 31:40.63. Eric Hamel also received regional accolades with a 22nd place finish time of 31:42.83.

At Amend Park, Billings, Mont.
Team Scores:
Chico State 39 (automatic team qualifier), Simon Fraser 63 (automatic team qualifier), Alaska Anchorage 116 (automatic team qualifier), Cal Poly Pomona 146, Western Washington 159, Western Oregon 182, Cal State San Marcos 209, Stanislaus State 213, UC San Diego 299, Central Washington 351, Academy of Art 356, Azusa Pacific 375, Notre Dame de Namur 386, Seattle Pacific 395, San Francisco St. 399, Montana State Billings 432, Cal State East Bay 444, Humboldt State 478, Hawaii Pacific 496, Concordia (Ore.) 536, Concordia (Calif.) 568, Fresno Pacific 576, Saint Martin’s 576, Cal State LA 748. Incomplete: Alaska, Cal State Monterey Bay, Dominican (Calif.), Northwest Nazarene.

Top 10 Finishers (All-West Region): 1, Eddie King, CSUC, 30:49.00. 2, Felix Kemboi, UAA, 30:50.84. 3, Jack Johnson, CSUC, 30:55.95. 4, John Larson, SFSU, 31:00.19 (automatic individual qualifier). 5, Wesley Kirui, UAA, 31:04.74. 6, Pierre-Louis Detourbe, SFU, 31:06.36. 7, Sean Miller, SFU, 31:06.93. 8, Wyatt Baxter, CSUC, 31:10.15. 9, Tyler Jones, WOU, 31:12.85 (automatic individual qualifier). 10, Dustin Nading, WOU, 31:14.94.

Top 25 GNAC Finishers (All-West Region): 12, Rowan Doherty, SFU, 31:23.88. 17, Carlos Vargas, SFU, 31:35.05. 19, Jorge Sanchez, UAA, 31:36.81. 20, Jadon Olson, WWU, 31:40.63. 21, Aaron Ahl, SFU, 31:40.81. 22, Eric Hamel, WWU, 31:42.83. 23, Nickson Koech, UAA, 31:43.37.