Caroline Kurgat Named Honda Division II Athlete Of Year
Kurgat is the reigning Division II national champion in cross country and in outdoor track in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. Photo by Joe Reinsch.
Kurgat is the reigning Division II national champion in cross country and in outdoor track in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. Photo by Joe Reinsch.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
by Alaska Anchorage Athletic Communications

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska Anchorage's Caroline Kurgat, who ran her way to three NCAA Division II championships in cross country and track and field, has been named the Division II Honda Athlete of the Year as announced by Executive Director Chris Voelz of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented by Honda.

Kurgat will be presented with this honor on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 25, 2018, (6 p.m. Pacific/5 p.m. Alaska) in the Founders’ Room at the Galen Center in downtown Los, Angeles.  The honor was voted on by national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the CWSA program, now in its 42nd year.

Kurgat is the first recipient of the Honda Award in the 17-year history of the Great Northwest Conference.

"I would like to thank the Collegiate Women's Sports Award for this honor," said Kurgat. "I need to thank many people, from my coaches and teammates, to the support of my family and university for helping me to achieve everything I did this past year. This award is a true honor. Thank you."

Kurgat, a senior from Eldoret, Kenya, captured the 2017 NCAA Division II cross country championship by nearly 20 seconds and was named the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Women’s National Athlete of the Year. The first-ever national champion in women’s program history, she is also a three-time USTFCCCA All-American and was named the GNAC Athlete of the Year and USTFCCCA West Region Athlete of the Year in both cross country and outdoor track.

This season she was undefeated in Division II competition after finishing fifth behind four NCAA Division I runners to open the season at the University of San Francisco Invitational in September.

Her track accolades are similarly impressive after capturing two national distance titles at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships and was named the GNAC Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year. She earned the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Bill McKay Athlete of the Year for 2017-18 for the top student-athlete at UAA.

Off the track, she is the USTFCCCA DII Female Scholar-Athlete of Year as a nursing and medical science major and has been named three times to both the GNAC Cross Country and Track and Field All-Academic Teams.

"Caroline has worked extremely hard and this award recognizes all of the hard work that she has put in over the years," said Alaska Anchorage head coach Michael Friess. "This past year for Caroline has been the most successful year of any cross country or track and field student-athlete at UAA has ever had. What Caroline has achieved over the past 12 months is remarkable."

The CWSA, in its 42nd year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service.  Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.