Sweet Caroline! Kurgat Wins 10,000 Meter National Title
Kurgat (top of podium) won the women's 10,000 in a time of 34:13.80 while Western Oregon's Kennedy Rufener (second from right) was fourth in 35:05.91. Photo courtesy of Alaska Anchorage.
Kurgat (top of podium) won the women's 10,000 in a time of 34:13.80 while Western Oregon's Kennedy Rufener (second from right) was fourth in 35:05.91. Photo courtesy of Alaska Anchorage.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat added another national title to her resume, leaving no doubt in the women’s 10,000 meters as she led four All-Americans for the GNAC on the first day of the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Irwin Belk Complex.

Kurgat pulled away over the final 2,000 meters, turning a close race with Mount Olive’s Leah Hanle into a rout as Kurgat won by 36 seconds in a time of 34:13.80. It is the second national title this year for Kurgat, who ran away with the Division II women’s cross country title back in November.

The junior was one of three GNAC athletes in the race. Western Oregon’s Kennedy Rufener also earned All-American honors, placing fourth with a lifetime-best of 35:05.91. Central Washington’s Alexa Shindruk finished 13th in 35:58.86.

Concordia’s Christina MacDonald earned All-American honors in the women’s hammer in the process. MacDonald added two feet to her GNAC record with a third-place throw of 204 feet, 9 inches. It is the third All-American trophy for MacDonald this season, adding to trophies in the shot put and weight throw earned during the indoor season.

MacDonald was one of three GNAC athletes in the women’s hammer. Concordia’s Joselynn Tensley finished 15th with a mark of 174 feet, 9 inches, while Saint Martin’s Liz Larson finished 16th at 171 feet, 9 inches.

Seattle Pacific freshman Renick Meyer earned her first All-American trophy in the women’s long jump. After going through the first four events in the heptathlon, Meyer succeeded with a leap of 19 feet, 9.75 inches on her fifth attempt to finish in seventh place.

Central Washington’s Kodiak Landis used a trio of top-three finishes to put himself in contention for a national title in the decathlon, sitting in second place after five events with 3,819 points. After opening with a third-place finish in the 100 meters, clocking 11.03 seconds, Landis tied for first in the second event of the day, the long jump, at 23 feet, 8.75 inches. He closed the first day by winning the 400 meters in 47.78 seconds. Landis enters the final day of the decathlon 372 points behind Florian Obst of Texas A&M-Commerce, who leads with a score of 4,191 points.

The Wildcats’ HarLee Ortega leads four GNAC athletes in the heptathlon, finishing seventh after the first four events with a score of 2,966 points. Her day was led by a sixth-place finish in the high jump with a clearance of 5 feet, 4.25 inches. Meyer sits 34 points behind in the ninth place with 2,934 points. She was fifth in the 100-meter hurdles in 14.56 seconds and won the 200 meters in 24.96 seconds.

Seattle Pacific’s Scout Cai is in 11th place with 2,876 points and Concordia’s Chelsea Bone is 12th with 2,853 points.

In Thursday’s running event preliminaries, Western Oregon’s David Ribich and Dustin Nading easily advanced in the men’s 1,500 meters, automatically qualifying by place. Nading won the opening heat with a time of 3:51.65 while Ribich placed second in the race’s second heat, recording the second-fastest time of the day in 3:51.01.

The Wolves’ Suzie Van De Grift was also an automatic qualifier in the women’s 1,500 meters, taking third in the opening heat in 4:30.03. She will be joined by Simon Fraser’s Addy Townsend, who took second in heat two with the second-fastest time of the preliminaries at 4:28.14, and Seattle Pacific’s Kate Lilly, who earned the final time qualifying spot in 4:30.11. Alaska Anchorage’s Tamara Perez placed 20th in 4:34.67 while Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson was 21st in 4:35.37.

Montana State Billings’ Jorey Egeland was one of four time qualifiers for Friday’s final in the men’s steeplechase. The senior placed fifth in his heat in 9:10.73 and had the 11th fastest time of the preliminaries. Simon Fraser’s Oliver Jorgensen was the first man out of the finals, placing 13th in 9:11.95.

In the women’s steeplechase, Simon Fraser’s Reta Dobie earned a spot in the final with the second of four time-qualifying spots, placing sixth in the second preliminary heat in 10:34.80. Central Washington’s Nicole Soleim placed 18th in 10:56.95.

Simon Fraser’s Vladislav Tsygankov ran 51.98 seconds in the men's 400-meter hurdles and appeared to be out of the finals, but a post-race disqualification in Tsygankov's heat moved the senior into second in his heat and an automatic qualifying spot for Saturday's final.

Alaska Anchorage’s Vanessa Aniteye finished 15th in the preliminaries of the women’s 400 meters in a time of 55.11 seconds. In the men’s preliminaries,Montana State Billings’ Sam Zook placed 16th in the men’s 100 meters in 10.69 seconds.

The women’s 400-meter hurdles saw Central Washington’s Erykah Weems just miss qualifying for the finals. While running the eighth-fastest time of the preliminaries of 1:00.40, Weems was third among time qualifiers and just missed the field. Teammate Ali Anderson placed 20th in 1:03.10.

In the men’s field events, Western Oregon’s Alani Troutman finished 16th in the men’s long jump with a mark of 23 feet, 8.75 inches. Concordia’s Jacob Slate competed in the men’s hammer, but fouled on all three attempts in the preliminaries.

Both of the GNAC competitors in the women’s pole vault, Central Washington’s Halle Irvine and Western Washington’s Anna Paradee, both failed to clear a height in the competition.

Action on day two of the NCAA Championships begins at 9:30 a.m., with the decathlon 110-meter hurdles. Finals involving GNAC athletes will be contested in the steeplechase and men’s discus along with the conclusion of the combined events.