Land & Sea: Wolves Named Co-Team Of The Week
Western Oregon baseball and Alaska Anchorage track and field were named Red Lion/GNAC Co-Teams of the Week.
Western Oregon baseball and Alaska Anchorage track and field were named Red Lion/GNAC Co-Teams of the Week.

Monday, May 15, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – On the final week of the championships season, Western Oregon baseball won the GNAC Baseball Championships a day before Alaska Anchorage men’s and women’s track and field teams became the first school to sweep the GNAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships to earn selections as the Red Lion/GNAC Co-Teams of the Week.

Western Oregon baseball won its third GNAC Championships in the last five years, beating each of the other three teams in the tournament to claim the title without a loss. Alaska Anchorage men’s track and field narrowly defended its GNAC outdoor track and field title, edging Western Washington by two points after taking the lead on the final event of the meet. The Seawolves’ women’s team scored 158 points to claim its first GNAC title since 2014 and its third in the last five years.

Western Oregon needed just three wins for the GNAC Championships title, getting three crucial pitching performances with some timely offense. The Wolves’ pitching staff combined for 33 strikeouts in 27 innings, allowing 10 runs on 19 hits and six walks. Cam Walker set the tone in the opener, throwing a complete game with a tournament record 10 strikeouts to earn selection as the GNAC Championships Most Valuable Player.

In the first round, Western Oregon beat Montana State Billings 4-2, using a two-run home run by Joey Crunkilton to take the lead for good. The following day, the Wolves needed to mount a comeback to return to the championship game. Trailing Central Washington 7-1 after five innings, Western Oregon scored 12 unanswered runs to win 13-7.

On the mound, Alex Roth threw four no-hit innings and struck out nine of the 13 batters he faced to set the stage for the comeback. Torreahno Sweet started the comeback with an RBI-double that was the Wolves’ only extra-base hit of the game. Using nothing more than a combination of singles, walks and aggressive baserunning, Western Oregon scored eight runs in the eighth inning to return to a third consecutive championship game.

For the third year in a row, the Wolves met Northwest Nazarene in the final and didn’t leave any doubt this time, winning 9-1. Western Oregon put seven runs on the board in the second inning with the help of an inside-the-park home run by Jay Leverett. On the mound, Brady Miller tossed seven innings with nine strikeouts and one run allowed on five hits and three walks. Jacob Martinez reached base on four of his five plate appearances with two singles, two walks and a run.

“With the adversity we’ve faced this year not being able to play at home, to be able to come out here as the No. 1 seed and go 3-0 is unreal,” Miller said. “Our pitching showed up in this tournament, and on top of that, our bats came alive to have some big innings.”

Alaska Anchorage was led by two individual titles on the men’s side and three on the women’s side to lead the Seawolves to the first sweep of both the men’s and women’s titles at the GNAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

The men’s title came down to the 4x400-meter relay with UAA trailing Western Washington by five points going into the final event of the day. The team of Nicholas Taylor, Liam Lindsay, Travis Turner and Adam Commandeur won with a time of 3:17.21 while Western Washington’s team took sixth place to give Alaska Anchorage a 134-132 victory.

Turner won the Seawolves’ lone individual title in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.83 seconds. Turner also took second place in the decathlon two weeks prior with a score of 6,688 for another eight points. He finished the meet with a total of 34 points after also taking third place in the 400-meter hurdles.

The Seawolves got a big chunk of points from the distance runners, led by Edwin Kangogo, who won the 10,000 meters with a time of 31:43.65. He also took third place in the 5,000 with a time of 15:20.23. He finished right behind teammate Dominik Notz, who took second place in the both events as the pair finished within a second of each other both times. Justin Carrancho helped complete the podium sweep in the 10,000 taking third place in a time of 31:47.65.

The Seawolves were led on the women’s side by Jamie Ashcroft, who combined for 23 points in the sprints. She was beaten for the first time ever in four years at the meet in the 100-meter dash, but took second place for eight points. She added another five points with a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter dash and then led off the 4x100-meter relay team to a winning time of 46.76 seconds.

Freshman Vanessa Aniteye claimed her first GNAC Championships title in the 400, finishing in 54.88 seconds. Aniteye also ran the anchor leg of the record-setting 4x100 team and the anchor leg of the Seawolves’ 4x400 squad that took second place.

Sophomore Zennah Jepchumba also represented UAA atop the podium, winning the 5,000 in a time of 17:21.08, beating the rest of the field by a 10-second margin. Karolin Anders had Alaska Anchorage’s first individual title, winning the heptathlon two weeks before with a score of 5,032. She also took fifth place in the long jump and seventh place in the shot put in Monmouth over the weekend.

Alaska Anchorage track and field will next compete in the NCAA National Championships at the IMG Academy Complex in Bradenton, Florida, on May 25-27.