Kurgat, Doherty Lead GNAC Indoor Track Special Awards
Kurgat (left) set Division II all-time bests in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters, winning national titles on both events. Dohery won the GNAC title in the 3,000 and placed seventh at nationals.
Kurgat (left) set Division II all-time bests in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters, winning national titles on both events. Dohery won the GNAC title in the 3,000 and placed seventh at nationals.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – After a banner season that saw her set a pair of all-time bests and claim a pair of national titles, Alaska Anchorage senior distance phenom Caroline Kurgat leads the recipients of the 2018-19 Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor track and field special awards.

Kurgat was the unanimous selection by coaches as the Women’s Athlete of the Year. The national champion in both the 3,000 meters and the 5,000 meters, Kurgat’s winning times of 9:15.45 in the 3,000 meters and 16:06.37 in the 5,000 meters were both meet records. Earlier in the season, Kurgat established Division II all-time bests with times of 9:07.05 in the 3,000 and 15:28.46 in the 5,000. The GNAC champion in the mile and 3,000 meters, Kurgat also ran the anchor leg on the Seawolves’ distance medley relay team that finished second at the NCAA Championships and ran the sixth-fastest time in Division II history at the GNAC Championships.

The high-point female at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Kurgat was named earlier this month as the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association’s Indoor Division II Female Track Athlete of the Year.

Simon Fraser junior Rowan Doherty was the coaches’ selection as the Male Athlete of the Year. The Men’s Track Athlete of the Meet at the GNAC Championships, Doherty won the conference title in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:31.30 and anchored the Clan’s champion distance medley relay team, which finished in a meet record time of 9:58.18. Doherty went on to earn All-American honors with a seventh-place finish in the 3,000 meters at the NCAA Championships (8:16.14) and was part of the national runner-up DMR squad (9:48.57).

Two of the three women’s special awards winners were unanimous selections. Western Washington senior Maddie Taylor was the unanimous choice for the Female Newcomer of the Year. The transfer from the University of Montana won the GNAC high jump title with a clearance of 5 feet, 6.5 inches, while her season-best of 5 feet, 8 inches ranked her eighth in Division II. Taylor went on to earn Second Team All-American honors with an 11th place finish in the NCAA Championship with a clearance of 5 feet, 6 inches.

Seattle Pacific’s Peace Igbonagwam was named the Female Freshman of the Year. The GNAC champion in the long jump, Igbonagwam won the meet with a conference-record mark of 19 feet, 7.5 inches. She proceeded to finish sixth at the NCAA Championships with a mark of 19 feet, 2.75 inches, earning All-American honors. Igbonagwam supplemented her GNAC long jump title with a second-place GNAC Championships finish in the 60 meters (7.70) a third-place finish in the 200 meters (25.00) and a seventh-place finish in the triple jump (37-7.75).

Saint Martin’s Tyler Cronk skyed his way to the Male Freshman of the Year award. The second athlete in GNAC history to clear seven feet in the high jump, indoors or outdoors, Cronk won the GNAC title with a mark of 7 feet, 0.5 inches. The effort was named the meet’s Male Performance of the Meet. He went on to tie for 12th at the NCAA Championships with a mark of 6 feet, 8.25 inches. Cronk’s best of 7 feet, 1 inch, ranked him fifth in Division II this season.

Simon Fraser sophomore Pierre-Louis Detourbe was named the Male Newcomer of the Year after he followed teammate Doherty’s trail into the NCAA Championships. Detourbe placed second at the GNAC Championships in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:33.43 and was the leadoff leg on the Clan’s meet-record DMR. He went on to finish 14th in the mile at the NCAA Championships in 4:21.33 and was part of SFU’s national runner-up DMR squad. Detourbe’s best of 8:14.88 in the 3,000 ranks No. 13 in Division II and his time of 4:07.80 in the mile was 17th.

The head coaches of the conference’s two championships squads were honored as the Coaches of the Year. Western Washington’s Pee Wee Halsell earned his fifth indoor Men’s Coach of the Year award and his first since 2014. Halsell led the Vikings to a convincing team victory at the GNAC Championships with a score of 138.5 points, 24 points better than second-place Alaska Anchorage. Four of his athletes earned conference championships.

Seattle Pacific’s Karl Lerum earned his ninth indoor Women’s Coach of the Year honor after leading the Falcons to their third consecutive GNAC championship, edging out last year’s co-champion Central Washington by four points. Seattle Pacific was bolstered by three conference champions and saw Igbonagwam, Scout Cai and Kate Lilly all earn invitations to the NCAA Championships.

Male Athlete of the Year: Rowan Doherty, Simon Fraser
Female Athlete of the Year: Caroline Kurgat, Alaska Anchorage
Male Freshman of the Year: Tyler Cronk, Saint Martin's
Female Freshman of the Year: Peace Igbonagwam, Seattle Pacific
Male Newcomer of the Year: Pierre-Louis Detourbe, Simon Fraser
Female Newcomer of the Year: Maddie Taylor, Western Washington
Men's Coach of the Year: Pee Wee Halsell, Western Washington
Women's Coach of the Year: Karl Lerum, Seattle Pacific