UAA Wins GNAC Championships For Team Of The Week

Monday, October 24, 2016

PORTLAND – For the second year in a row, the Alaska Anchorage cross country teams swept the men’s and women’s GNAC Championships in Bellingham, Wash., earning the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honor.

The UAA men won the conference title for the seventh year in a row, placing five runners within 55 seconds of each other for a score of 31 points. Edwin Kangogo was named GNAC Athlete of the Year after winning the 8,000-meter race at Lake Padden in 24:54.80. It was the junior’s first conference title after previously finishing eighth and third in his first two GNAC Championships.

“Compared to two weeks ago, this time around I was better prepared,” Kangogo said after taking fifth place over 10,000 meters on the same course at the WWU Classic on Oct. 8. “The weather was better this time around and we didn’t train as hard, so I had time to relax. The race went well today, and at the end, I was glad to be the champion.”

Kangogo was followed by teammate and 2014 GNAC Newcomer of the Year Michel Ramirez, who covered the course in 24:56.50 for second place. Fellow Seawolf Henry Cheseto, who was the meet’s two-time defending champion, took fourth place with a time of 25:19.20.

The UAA women won the GNAC Championships for the seventh time in eight years with a score of 45 points. After taking second place last year, Caroline Kurgat won the conference title with a time of 21:17.10, while defending champion Joyce Chelimo finished the course in 21:50.20 for fifth place. Kurgat defeated Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter by 6.6 seconds as the GNAC Newcomer of the Year took second place.

The Seawolves placed seven runners inside the top 20, including Tamara Perez, who finished in seventh place with a time of 22:23.20 over the 6,000-meter course. Perez was followed by Zennah Jepchumba, Kaitlyn Maker and Mariah Burroughs, who each finished within five seconds of each other for 14th, 15th and 16th place, respectively. Jordyn Block was named GNAC Freshman of the Year after finishing the course in 22:55 for 21st place.

“We did a lot of work on grouping together and being strong and pushing each other,” Burroughs said. “The conditions were quite a bit better. We wanted to pack up as much as we could and work together on the course.”

On Nov. 5, Alaska Anchorage will send both its men’s and women’s teams to the NCAA West Region Championships in Billings, Mont. Last year, the Seawolves men took first place at the meet, while the women finished in third place. Cheseto and Chelimo will both be defending first-place finishes.