Distance Champions Lead Day 3 Of Outdoor Track Nationals
Ribich (left) repeated as the Division II 1,500-meter champion while Kurgat earned titles in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Ribich photo by Joe Reinsch. Kurgat photo by Chris Oertell.
Ribich (left) repeated as the Division II 1,500-meter champion while Kurgat earned titles in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Ribich photo by Joe Reinsch. Kurgat photo by Chris Oertell.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Western Oregon’s David Ribich repeated as champion, Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat completed her double and six GNAC athletes earned All-American trophies in the javelin as the 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships concluded Saturday at the Irwin Belk Complex.

Ribich, who entered as the Division II record holder and defending champion in the men’s 1,500 meters, earned his second title in the event as he outlasted a closely-packed final with a time of 3:45.34. Right behind was teammate Dustin Nading, who took second place with a time of 3:45.57.

Kurgat, meanwhile, completed an impressive sweep of the 5,000 and 10,000-meter titles. After holding a 22-second lead with 800 meters to go, the junior stayed strong to finish with an 11-second lead on the field with a winning time of 16:22.62. In the process, Kurgat became just the 11th woman in Division II history to win both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at nationals. Simon Fraser’s Ally Ginther finished 20th with a time of 17:44.23.

While the distance runners ran to the titles, it was the javelin throwers that provided quantity with six All-American trophies. In the women’s javelin, Northwest Nazarene’s Ellie Logan completed an impressive comeback with a third-place finish with a throw of 155 feet, 1 inch. Logan was not expected to compete this season after suffering an ACL injury in the fall.

Western Washington’s Raquel Pellecer and Western Oregon’s Darian Wilson also earned All-American honors. Pellecer finished sixth with a mark of 148 feet, 8 inches, while Wilson was seventh with a mark of 147 feet, 9 inches.

Saint Martin’s Deanna Avalos just missed All-American honors as she placed 10th with a mark of 143 feet, 11 inches. Western Washington’s Natalie Vetto finished 16th with a mark of 136 feet, 11 inches, Western Oregon’s Halie Korff was 18th at 134 feet, 10 inches, and Concordia’s Elizabeth Stottlemyre was 19th at 131 feet, 3 inches.

In the men’s javelin, Western Washington’s Alex Barry led three All-Americans for the GNAC as he placed fourth with a mark of 224 feet, 4 inches. The performance was a nine-foot personal best and moves Barry to No. 5 on the GNAC All-Time List. Montana State Billings’ Beau Ackerman finished fifth at 223 feet, 3 inches and Saint Martin’s Brian Chalkley also threw a season-best to place seventh at 218 feet to move to ninth on the GNAC All-Time List. Concordia’s Easton Christensen placed 18th with a mark of 182 feet, 10 inches.

Simon Fraser’s Addy Townsend finished as the national runner-up in the women’s 1,500 meters, placing second with a time of 4:23.68. Western Oregon’s Suzie Van De Grift placed fourth with a school-record time of 4:23.87, an All-American performance that is No. 8 on the GNAC All-Time List. Seattle Pacific’s Kate Lilly placed 10th with a time of 4:30.49.

The women’s 800 meters saw Alaska Anchorage’s Danielle McCormick add an outdoor All-American trophy to her indoor national championship, placing fifth with a time of 2:06.34. Western Oregon’s Olivia Woods also earned All-American honors, placing eighth in 2:09.22.

Simon Fraser’s Vladislav Tsygankov finished his collegiate career as an All-American, placing fifth in the men’s 400-meter hurdles in 51.88 seconds. The WOU women’s 4x400-meter relay of Grayson Burke, Megan Rose, Van De Grift and Woods closed the meet by placing eighth with a time of 3:44.58.

Concordia’s Melissa Ausman and Christina MacDonald both earned a pair of All-American trophies. Ausman opened her day with a sixth-place finish in the women’s shot put with a mark of 50 feet, 6.25 inches, and closed by finishing third in the women’s discus at 173 feet. MacDonald added to the women’s hammer trophy she won on Thursday, taking seventh in the shot put at 50 feet, 4.75 inches. Cavaliers’ teammate Tasha Willing was 22nd with a mark of 43 feet, 10.75 inches.

The Cavaliers’ Josh Koch just missed All-American honors, finishing ninth in the men’s shot put with a mark of 57 feet, 8.25 inches. Northwest Nazarene’s Payton Lewis, the defending champion in the men’s pole vault, failed to clear his opening height.

Alaska Anchorage’s women led all GNAC teams, tying for eighth place with a score of 25 points. Concordia tied for 11th with 17 points and Western Oregon tied for 14th with 15 points. Western Oregon led GNAC men’s teams, tying for 13th place with 18 points.