UAA XC Claims GNAC Titles, Named Team of the Week
UAA's Isaac Kangogo (5) and Victor Samoei (11) led the Seawolves to the men's team title at the GNAC championships, with Kangogo being crowned the men's individual champion.
UAA's Isaac Kangogo (5) and Victor Samoei (11) led the Seawolves to the men's team title at the GNAC championships, with Kangogo being crowned the men's individual champion.

Monday, October 28, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. – As Susan Tanui crossed the finish line Saturday morning at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship cross country meet in Monmouth, Ore., she defended her title as GNAC individual champion, and helped prove that Alaska Anchorage was worthy of being the sixth-ranked team in the NCAA.

Teammates Ivy O’Guinn and Joyce Kipchumba were right behind Tanui to give the UAA women the team title, and less than an hour later, Isaac Kangogo, Victor Samoei and Dylan Anthony sprinted across the line in that order to give the eighth-ranked UAA men a team title as well.

“I was happy with the way our team ran,” head coach Michael Friess commented on the sweep of individual and team titles. “It was very stiff competition all around.”

For its impressive performance and second consecutive year sweeping the team titles at the championship meet, UAA cross country has been named the GNAC Team of the Week.

Anthony, who had been undefeated in races this fall, led for the majority of Saturday’s championship until he, Kangogo and Samoei launched into a dead sprint through the final stretch with no other runners closely behind.

“I’m really happy for Isaac, and Dylan for leading the charge for the squad,” Friess commented on Anthony’s effort leading the pack. “Western Washington came to play and almost got us, but that 1-2-3 sweep really came up big,” Friess added regarding the Seawolves’ narrow three-point win over second-place WWU.

On the women’s side, Tanui outran the competition by more than six seconds, with O’Guinn placing third by less than one second and Kipchumba right behind in fourth.

“To get the team win, everyone on our team had to give their best, and I think that’s what makes our team strong,” Tanui commented on the victory.

“I got out fast, went out with my team and just tried to hang with my top two girls,” O’Guinn commented on her performance. “The team approach was just to get out quickly and have fun with it, and it feels awesome to be with a group of girls that trains hard and really wants it.”

While not as close as the men’s race, the UAA women faced stiff competition as well. “On the women’s side we faced a highly-ranked Simon Fraser squad and a very well-coached Seattle Pacific squad,” Friess said about the Seawolves’ opponents. “They both definitely showed up and made it really tough for us.”

Tanui and Kangogo were each named GNAC Cross Country Athlete of the Year, while Kipchumba earned the female Newcomer of the Year award and Samoei received Freshman of the Year honors.

With the conference championship behind them, the Seawolves head into the Division II West Regional meet with confidence and the understanding of what it takes to win in crucial situations.

“Up front, we will work on our depth for regionals and nationals,” Friess said regarding his women’s squad.

For Tanui and O’Guinn, preparations for the next level will be no different than how they have been training all season long.

“We are just going to do the same things we have been doing and keep training hard,” said O’Guinn. “We’ll keep working together to reach towards higher goals, while still having fun with it.”