Seawolves, Kurgat Make History At NCAA Indoor Nationals
Alaska Anchorage's women scored 34 points, the most points ever at the indoor championships by a conference team. Photo by Ray Shadowens.
Alaska Anchorage's women scored 34 points, the most points ever at the indoor championships by a conference team. Photo by Ray Shadowens.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Caroline Kurgat made it two for two in national titles and led Alaska Anchorage to the conference’s best-ever team finish at the GNAC Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships, which concluded Saturday at the Plaster Center on the campus of Pittsburg State University.

A day after winning the 5,000 meters and anchoring the Seawolves’ national runner-up distance medley relay team, Kurgat cruised to victory in the 3,000 meters. She won in another championships record of 9:15.45, six seconds ahead of runner-up Eilish Flanagan of Adam State.

Combined with a third-place finish by Danielle McCormick in the 800 meters, Alaska Anchorage finished fourth in the women’s team competition with 34 points. It is the highest team finish at the indoor championships for a GNAC squad, bettering the sixth-place finish by the Western Oregon men in 2017 and 2018.

McCormick ran strong to place third in the 800 meters, earning her second All-American trophy in the event. She crossed the line in a time of 2:06.28. Western Oregon senior Olivia Woods also earned All-American honors with a fifth-place time of 2:08.44.

Central Washington saw three of its athletes pick up All-American trophies. Sophomore Braydon Maier posted a strong second day to move up four places to seventh in the men’s heptathlon, finishing with a score of 5,288 points that moves him to No. 4 on the GNAC All-Time List. Maier finished second in the pole vault (15-9) and fifth in the 1,000 meters (2:41.39). Teammate Kodiak Landis finished 12th with a score of 4,989 points.

Senior HarLee Ortega matched Maier with a seventh-place finish in the women’s pentathlon with a score of 3,677 points. Her competition was topped by a tie for second place in the high jump (5-5) and a sixth-place finish in the long jump (17-11.75). Concordia senior Chelsea Bone finished 11th with a score of 3,624 points that moves her to No. 6 on the GNAC All-Time List.

Senior Zach Whittaker capped his season with an eighth-place All-American finish in the men’s triple jump. The last qualified entrant in the field, Whittaker finished a half-inch shy of the GNAC record with his leap of 49 feet, 4.5 inches.

Simon Fraser junior Rowan Doherty rounded out the All-American honors for the GNAC with a seventh-place finish in the men’s 3,000 meters, clocking a time of 8:26.14. In the women’s 3,000 meters, Central Washington senior Alexa Shindruk just missed an All-American trophy with a ninth-place finish in 9:36.71.

In the field events, Wildcats’ junior Halle Irvine led three GNAC competitors in the women’s pole vault with an 11th-place finish, clearing 12 feet, 6.75 inches. Western Washington senior Anna Paradee finished 12th as she also cleared 12-6.75 while Seattle Pacific junior Scout Cai placed 15th as she cleared 11 feet, 10.75 inches.

Vikings’ freshman Maddie Taylor finished 11th in the women’s high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 6 inches, while Northwest Nazarene senior Jake Knight placed 11th in the men’s shot put with a mark of 56 feet, 7.25 inches.

Simon Fraser was the top men’s team from the conference, tying for 21st place with a score of 10 points. Western Washington tied for 46th place with three points and Alaska Anchorage tied for 52nd with two points.

In the women’s team competition, Western Oregon tied for 40th place with four points. Seattle Pacific tied for 44th with three points and Central Washington tied for 53rd with two points.