Nighthawks The Lone Competitor In Quiet XC Week
NNU sophomore Brody Kemble is coming off a victory at the CCC Preview.
NNU sophomore Brody Kemble is coming off a victory at the CCC Preview.

Thursday, September 28, 2023
by Evan O'Kelly

PORTLAND, Ore. – The competition schedule for Great Northwest Athletic Conference cross country teams is a light one this week, with Northwest Nazarene being the lone competitor.

The other nine conference members will take the week off from competition, after each being in action a week ago. The Nighthawks – who were off last weekend – are set to compete in the Whitman Invitational scheduled for Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in Walla Walla, Wash.

After the quiet week across the conference, all 10 league members are set for action the weekend of Oct. 6-7 in final preparation for the 2023 GNAC Cross Country Championships, which are set for Oct. 21 in Anchorage, Alaska.

GNAC Cross Country Schedule - Sept. 28 - Sept. 30
Date Meet Location Start Time GNAC Teams Competing
9/30 Whitman Invitational Walla Walla, Wash. 11 a.m. (PDT) NNU

This Week's Storylines

SPOTLIGHT ON THE NIGHTHAWKS: All eyes will be on NNU this weekend as the Nighthawks look for another positive stride three weeks ahead of the conference championship meet. On the men’s side Brody Kemble (18:25.5) is coming off a win at the 6k Cascade Collegiate Conference Preview meet while Ian Stockett (19:10.8, 11th), Quincy Ellis (19:30.8, 17th), Asher Ingram (19:31.1, 18th) and Carter Stedman (19:34.8, 20th) gave the Nighthawks five runners in the top-20 at their most recent event. The NNU women have been led by sophomore Morgan Erler this fall, who was the sixth-place finisher at the team’s last event with a 4k time of 14:37.0. Casey Collum, Olivia Klein, Becca Darwood, and Jordan Gram have provided the Nighthawks with further depth throughout the squad.

A GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW, OF SORTS: Last week’s Bill Roe Classic was the closest GNAC teams will get this fall to a preview for the conference championship, with seven of 10 schools participating. Reigning GNAC champion Coleman Nash of UAA took the individual title with an 8k time of 24:41.7, holding off second-place Sebastian Brinkman (24:44.8) of Simon Fraser by just over three seconds. The WWU men claimed the team title with a score of 47, and the UAA men proved they are the real deal with a second-place finish in their first meet this fall that featured more than two teams.

Read More: Nash Collects Second Win Of The Season (UAA Recap)

The women’s race featured six different GNAC schools among the top-12 finishers, with Alaska’s Rosie Fordham (21:40.2, 3rd) and Kendall Kramer (21:44.8, 4th) leading the way. SMU’s Cassidy Walchak-Sloan checked in at seventh with a time of 21:53.1, Ashley Reeck of Western Washington was eighth in 22:02.7, and Annika Esvelt of SPU finished ninth in 22:04.9 to make it three in a row who have claimed GNAC Runner of the Week honors this season. UAA’s Nell Baker was also in the top-10 with a time of 22:07.5, and SFU’s Rachael Watkins was the Red Leafs’ top finisher in 12th with a time of 22:11.4.

Read More: Fordham And Morley Lead Nanooks At Bill Roe Classic (UAF Recap)

FIELD INCOMPLETE WITHOUT JOHAN: One glaring name was missing from last week’s competition – Central Washington standout Johan Correa. In his first year of cross country Correa has won both races he has participated in, which each featured sturdy GNAC competition. Correa’s most recent win came a week before the Bill Roe Classic, and he figures to be a strong title contender at the conference championship meet.

Runner to Watch

Brody Kemble – Northwest Nazarene

The undoubted leader of the Nighthawk men, sophomore Brody Kemble has quickly inserted his name among the conference’s leaders this season. After finishing third in his season opener on Sept. 1, Kemble notched his first collegiate cross country victory at the CCC Preview meet with a career-best 6k time of 18:25.5. Look for Kemble to steal the show again this weekend at the Whitman Invitational.

Hints that Kemble was poised for a breakout sophomore season came at the tail end of his freshman campaign, as he earned all-GNAC in both the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters finishing as the runner up at the 2023 GNAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. As a true freshman in the fall of 2022, Kemble ran his season-best 8k time of 25:23.4 at the GNAC Championships to place 23rd. He followed that with a solid showing of 67th place among a field of 150 at the 2022 NCAA West Region Championships with a 10k time of 32:13.1.

Read More: Kemble’s Win Highlights Nighthawks’ Performance at CCC Preview (NNU Recap)

GNAC XC In The Weekly Coaches Poll Rankings

The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association releases national and regional rankings throughout the 2023 cross country season. The next set of rankings will be released on Oct. 3.

The Western Washington men dropped one spot in the national rankings, moving to No. 10 in the latest poll released Wednesday. Alaska Anchorage’s men meanwhile appeared on the list for the first time this season in the receiving votes category. On the women’s side, WWU held last week’s spot at No. 28 in the national rankings.

USTFCCCA National Rankings - Men's Cross Country
Poll Team 1 Team 2
Preseason 10. WWU 27. SFU
Week 1 10. WWU 28. SFU
Week 2 9. WWU -- 
Week 3 10. WWU RV UAA


USTFCCCA National Rankings - Women's Cross Country
Poll Team 1  
Preseason --  
Week 1 29. WWU  
Week 2 27. WWU  
Week 3 28. WWU  


USTFCCCA West Region Rankings - Men's Cross Country
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
Preseason 2. WWU 5. SFU 8. UAA --
Week 1 2. WWU 5. SFU 8. UAA --
Week 2 2. WWU 6. SFU 8. UAA --
Week 3 2. WWU 5. UAA 8. SFU 10. WOU


USTFCCCA West Region Rankings - Women's Cross Country
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
Preseason 6. WWU 7. UAF 8. SFU --
Week 1 5. WWU 6. UAF 7. SFU 8. SMU
Week 2 5. WWU 6. UAF 8. SFU 9. SMU
Week 3 5. WWU 7. SMU 8. UAF 9. SFU

2023 GNAC Cross Country Runners of the Week
Date Women's Runner of the Week Men's Runner of the Week
Aug. 28 Rosie Fordham, Alaska Coleman Nash, Alaska Anchorage
Sept. 5 Ashley Reeck, Western Washington Johan Correa, Central Washington
Sept. 11 Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, Saint Martin's Isaac Cortes, Saint Martin's
Sept. 18 Annika Esvelt, Seattle Pacific Johan Correa, Central Washington
Sept. 25 Caitlin Heldt, Western Oregon Coleman Nash, Alaska Anchorage

Male Runner of the Week: Coleman Nash, Alaska Anchorage

Nash picked up his second victory of the 2023 season, topping a field of 134 competitors at the Bill Roe Classic on Saturday. Nash held off Simon Fraser’s Sebastian Brinkman by just over three seconds, claiming the title with an 8k time of 24:41.7. Nash moved into a tie with former UAA runner Marko Cheseto for most career cross country runner of the week awards, as Monday’s honor marked the eighth of his decorated career.

Also Nominated: Andrew Rush, MSUB; Kainalu Pagente, SMU; Sebastian Brinkman, SFU; Kanoa Blake, WOU; Kevin McDermott, WWU.

Female Runner of the Week: Caitlin Heldt, Western Oregon

Heldt won the Mike Johnson Classic in Monmouth on Friday, besting a field of 60 competitors for her first victory of the season. Heldt left no doubt, crossing the finish line 24 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor – Portland State’s Abi Swain. The senior finished the 6k race with a time of 21:15.0, just six seconds off her collegiate best of 21:09.1 which she ran at the 2022 GNAC Championships. This is Heldt’s first career cross country runner of the week award.

Also Nominated: Rosie Fordham, UAF; Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, SMU; Rachael Watkins, SFU; Ashley Reeck, WWU.

2023 GNAC Cross Country Championships

The 2023 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships will be held Saturday, Oct. 21 at Kincaid Park and will be hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage in Anchorage, Alaska. All 10 conference members will compete in both that event as well as the ensuing NCAA West Region Championships which are set for Nov. 4 at Western Oregon.

2023 GNAC Cross Country Women's Race Winners
Date Race Winner School Distance Time
8/26 Seawolf Throwdown Rosie Fordham Alaska 5k 18:10.5
9/2 Puget Sound Invitational Ashley Reeck Western Washington 5k 17:41.0
9/9 Nanook Forest Clash Kendall Kramer Alaska 6k 22:32.0
9/22 Mike Johnson Classic Caitlin Heldt Western Oregon 6k 21:15.0


2023 GNAC Cross Country Men's Race Winners
Date Race Winner School Distance Time
8/26 Seawolf Throwdown Coleman Nash Alaska Anchorage 5k 15:06.0
9/2 Puget Sound Invitational Johan Correa Central Washington 5k 15:00.4
9/9 Nanook Forest Clash John Peckham Alaska Anchorage 8k 25:53.0
9/15 Cascade Collegiate Preview Brody Kemble Northwest Nazarene 6k 18:25.5
9/16 Pacific Lutheran Invitational Johan Correa Central Washington 8k 24:23.7
9/22 Mike Johnson Classic Kanoa Blake Western Oregon 8k 24:42.7
9/23 Bill Roe Classic Coleman Nash Alaska Anchorage 8k 24:41.7

2023 GNAC Cross Country Women's Race Winners

Last Week's GNAC Results

Idaho State Bengal Invitational (Sept. 22 at ISU Centennial XC Course, Pocatello, Idaho): Men (6,000m): 1, Idaho State, 21. 2, Southern Idaho, 39. 3, Salt Lake, 80. 4, Montana State Billings, 101. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Seth Babbel, ISU, 18:49.2. 2, Zachary Mitchell, Unat., 18:51.0. 3, Gavin Pollock, ISU, 18:57.3. 4, Justin Levine, Unat., 18:58.7. 5, Brandon Walker, ISU, 19:01.9. Top 5 GNAC Finishers: 12, Andrew Rush, MSUB, 19:25.3. 24, Wyatt May, MSUB, 20:05.8. 33, Bryant Edgerton, MSUB, 20:31.0. 37, Will Hyatt, MSUB, 20:46.6. 44, Nate Tweedy, MSUB, 21:08.7. Women (3,000m): 1, Southern Idaho, 28. 2, Idaho State, 29. 3, Salt Lake, 84. 4, Montana State Billings, 106. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Elizabeth Phillips, Southern Idaho, 11:02.4. 2, Madi Kenyon, ISU, 11:04.9. 3, Rachel Burgoyne, Unat., 11:20.8. 4, Cassandra Vasquez, ISU, 11:22.1. 5, Rozzlyn Cazier, Southern Idaho, 11 :22.4. Top 5 GNAC Finishers: 25, Cecily Eagleton, MSUB, 12:18.7. 28, Madeline Severson, MSUB, 12:30.9. 33, Carey Berendsen, MSUB, 12:53.3. 35, Aspen Tolman, MSUB, 13:02.6. 37, Toree Manning, MSUB, 13:04.8

Mike Johnson Classic (Sept. 22 at Ash Creek Preserve, Monmouth, Ore.): Men (8,000m): 1, Western Oregon, 18. 2, George Fox, 89. 3, Cal Poly Humboldt, 89. 4, SW Oregon CC, 120. 5, Lane CC, 122. 6, Portland State, 150. 7, Pacific, 151. 8, Walla Walla, 191. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Kanoa Blake, WOU, 24:42.7. 2, Easton Pomrankey, WOU, 24:47.9. 3, RJ Kennedy, Lane, 24:54.2. 4, Alden Roy, Unat., 25:23.1. 5, Grady Daniels, Unat., 25:25.9. Other Top GNAC Finishers: 6, Grant Bohannon, WOU, 25:26.2. 7, Keeton Sanchez, WOU, 25:36.8. 8, Logan Parker, WOU, 25:43.6. 10, Cedar Davis-Frankfort, WOU, 25:54.3. 11, Jordan Kemper, WOU, 25:54.9. Women (6,000m): 1, Western Oregon, 38. 2, Portland State, 49. 3, George Fox, 56. 4, Pacific, 102. 5, Cal Poly Humboldt, 135. 6, Lane CC, 159. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Caitlin Heldt, WOU, 21:15.0. 2, Abi Swain, PSU, 21:39.0. 3, Jamie Zamrin, PSU, 21:43.3. 4, Ellie Rising, GFU, 21:56.0. 5, Riley Smith, WOU, 22:03.7. Other Top GNAC Finishers: 8, Holly Hutton, WOU, 22:27.9. 11, Katie Chapman, WOU, 22:47.8. 15, Olivia Flack, WOU, 23:14.4. 16, Joelle Upshur, WOU, 23:16.6. 18, Ali Clifton, WOU, 23:18.3. 21, Kaydence Nguyen, WOU, 23:24.9.

Bill Roe Classic (Sept. 23 at Lake Padden Park, Bellingham, Wash.): Men (8,000m): 1, Western Washington, 47. 2, Alaska Anchorage, 61. 3, Simon Fraser, 81. 4, Victoria, 91. 5, Club Northwest, 141. 6, Premature Acceleration AC, 144. 7, Saint Martin’s, 189. 8, Seattle Pacific, 222. 9, Central Washington, 230. 10, Alaska, 253. 11, Seattle Running Club, 349. 12, Lake Sammamish Running Club, 368. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Cole Nash, UAA, 24:41.7. 2, Sebastian Brinkman, SFU, 24:44.8. 3, Cameron Proceviat, Unat., 24:55.0. 4, Kevin McDermott, WWU, 24:58.9. Ephrem Mekonnen, SFU, 25:00.8. Other Top GNAC Finishers: 7, Andrew Oslin, WWU, 25:03.5. 8, John Peckham, UAA, 25:09.7. 9, Michael Zapherson, UAA, 25:10.9. 12, Samuel Lingwall, WWU, 25:29.7. 13, Jalen Javurek, WWU, 25:31.4. Women (6,000m): 1, Victoria, 54. 2, Western Washington, 72. 3, Saint Martin’s, 94. 4, Simon Fraser, 112. 5, Alaska, 117. 6, Club Northwest, 152. 7, Alaska Anchorage, 173. 8, Seattle Pacific, 188. 9, Trinity Western, 219. 10, Central Washington, 275. 11, Lake Sammamish Running Club, 330. 12, Hawaii Hilo, 347. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Constance Nankivel, TWU, 21:16.5. 2, Elise Coates, Victoria, 21:38.9. 3, Rosie Fordham, UAF, 21:40.2. 4, Kendall Kramer, UAF, 21:44.8. 5, Anja Kreuger, Victoria, 21:48.7. Other Top GNAC Finishers: 7, Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, SMU, 21:53.1. 8, Ashley Reeck, WWU, 22:02.7. 9, Annika Esvelt, SPU, 22:04.9. 10, Nell Baker, UAA, 22:07.5. 11, Alisha Saucedo, SMU, 22:10.6.





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