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Western Oregon Ends Alaska Anchorage's Men's XC Title Run
This is Western Oregon's first GNAC championship in cross country and ended Alaska Anchorage's string of seven straight titles. Photo by Nick Danielson.
This is Western Oregon's first GNAC championship in cross country and ended Alaska Anchorage's string of seven straight titles. Photo by Nick Danielson.
Western Oregon's David Ribich won his first GNAC cross country title with a time of 24:54.82. Photo by Nick Danielson.
Western Oregon's David Ribich won his first GNAC cross country title with a time of 24:54.82. Photo by Nick Danielson.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Wolves were winners again in the GNAC Men’s Cross Country Championships, but not the marine variety that has been dominant over the last decade.

Western Oregon put an end to Alaska Anchorage’s string of seven consecutive GNAC team titles Saturday, placing all five scoring runners in the top-15 to wins its first GNAC men’s cross country title at the GNAC Cross Country Championships at Lake Padden Park.

The Wolves won behind an impressive race by senior David Ribich, who won his first individual cross country title with a time of 24:54.82 over 8,000 meters. Ribich outdistanced defending champion Edwin Kangogo, who placed second in a time of 25:03.63.

Both teams placed two runners in the top-10, with Alaska Anchorage freshman Felix Kemboi taking third in a time of 25:18.59 and Western Oregon’s Dustin Nading taking eighth in 25:32.76.

The race was won for the Wolves, however, by the No. 3, 4 and 5 runners, who all finished in sequence. Junior Tyler Jones was 13th, junior Marson Parker was 14th and sophomore Justin Crosswhite was 15th to claim the crown with 51 points. Alaska Anchorage was second with 64 points, Simon Fraser placed third with 70 points and Western Washington was fourth with 76 points.

Ribich provided Western Oregon with its first individual cross country title and became the first non-UAA runner to win the meet since 2007.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Ribich said of the team championship. We had a team meeting last night where we talked about that we can’t go 10 deep in strength, but we could do 10 deep in desire.

It was a group race for much of the first half of the race before Ribich started to pull away. “At four kilometers I made a move,” he said. “I hadn’t planned on making that move pre-race, but I found myself in the lead and felt good and just decided to go with it. From there, things felt really good.”

Kemboi earned Freshman of the Year honors with his third-place finish. Fellow Seawolf Jorge Sanchez earned Newcomer of the Year honors. The junior placed 23rd with a time of 26:11.93.

Simon Fraser placed three athletes in the top-10 to earn All-GNAC plaques and lead the Clan’s third-place team finish. Senior Oliver Jorgensen was fourth in 25:23.98. Junior Sean Miller placed fifth in 25:28.98 and junior Rowan Doherty placed seventh in 25:31.01.

Western Washington sophomore Jadon Olson placed sixth with a time of 25:29.10 to earn All-GNAC honors while senior Andrew Wise rounded out the top-10 with a 10th place time of 25:41.50. Montana State Billings senior Jorey Egeland also earned All-GNAC honors with a ninth-place time of 25:37.59.

Western Oregon will look to add to its trophy case on their home course. The Wolves and the GNAC’s other 10 teams compete again on Sat., Nov. 2, at the NCAA Division II West Region Championships at the Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth, Ore.

GNAC MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Lake Padden Park, Bellingham, Wash.
Athlete of the Year:
David Ribich, Western Oregon
Newcomer of the Year: Jorge Sanchez, Alaska Anchorage
Freshman of the Year: Felix Kemboi, Alaska Anchorage

TEAM SCORES: Western Oregon 51, Alaska Anchorage 64, Simon Fraser 70, Western Washington 76, Northwest Nazarene 160, Central Washington 161, Montana St. Billings 187, Seattle Pacific 224, Alaska 235, Concordia 242, Saint Martin’s 331.

TOP 10 FINISHERS (ALL-GNAC): 1, David Ribich, WOU, 24:54.82. 2, Edwin Kangogo, UAA, 25:03.63. 3, Felix Kemboi, UAA, 25:18.59. 4, Oliver Jorgensen, SFU, 25:23.98. 5, Sean Miller, SFU, 25:28.98. 6, Jadon Olson, WWU, 25:29.10. 7, Rowan Doherty, SFU, 25:31.01. 8, Dustin Nading, WOU, 25:32.76. 9, Jorey Egeland, MSUB, 25:32.76. 10, Andrew Wise, WWU, 25:41.50.

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