MONMOUTH, Oregon--As expected, Alaska Anchorage swept both the men's and women's team titles as the Seawolves dominated the field at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference cross country championships Saturday at the Ash Creek Preserve on the campus of Western Oregon University.
Powered by individual titles by UAA's Micah Chelimo and Susan Tanui, both squads tallied meet record low scores, with the men scoring 23 points, eclipsing their own record low of 27 set last year, and the women scoring a near perfect 16 points.
Chelimo (#2/photo courtesy GNAC) took his second straight conference title, running 24:50 over the 8k course.
Western Washington finished second with a score of 50 points, led by Dak Riek, who placed third in 25:06, followed by teammate Chip Jackson in fourth at 25:11, and Kyle Johnson in tenth at 25:29.
"The men really lit it up," said WWU coach Pee Wee Halsell of his nationally ranked team. "Dak ran a great race and Chip was outstanding, and Kyle moving up like that was really something.
Seattle Pacific finished fifth with a score of 140 points, led by Will Harrison's seventh place finish in 25:21.
“Our primary goal today was to be in the top five and make sure we were going to the next race,” Harrison said. “We have a couple of guys who had a late start to the season and are still gaining a lot. So the next two weeks, they'll be even more ready to go, and hopefully, we'll improve our finish from last year.”
That next race is the NCAA West Regionals on November 3rd in Honolulu, with trips to the national championships in Joplin, Missouri two weeks later on the line.
Central Washington was ninth with 255 points, while Saint Martin's was tenth at 256 points.
In the women's 6k, Central Washington's Kelsey Kreft earned all-conference honors with her eighth-place finish, as she completed the six-kilometer course in a time of 21:24. She ranked second among runners not from the University of Alaska Anchorage, which had the top four placers plus runners six and seven, en route to 16 team points and the conference team title.
Seattle Pacfic finished third in the team race behind UAA (16) and Simon Fraser (61) with 104 points. The Falcons were led by freshman Katie Morris' 12th place finish in 21:36.
Western Washington was fourth with a team score of 115, led by Katelyn Steen's 15th place finish in 21:53.
Central Washington, powered by Kreft's eighth place finish, took fifth with a score of 151 points, the school's highest finish since placing third in 2006.
Saint Martin's was tenth overall with a score of 317 points.
In Corvallis, at the Beaver Classic on Friday, sophomore Amy Tolentino led Seattle University to a ninth place team finish as she crossed the line in 50th place in a time of 24:05 over the 6k course.
In the men's 8k, Collin Overbay led the Redhawks as he placed 34th in 25:56, as SeattleU was sixth with a score of 165 points.
SeattleU used the Beaver Classic as a last chance meet for individuals to make the travel squad for next week's WAC Championships in Ruston, Louisiana.
Saint Martin's University announced a few days ago the hiring of former USC All-American and Capital HS product Adam Midles as its new throws coach.
"I am thrilled to join the St. Martin's track and field program and coach Sullivan's staff. Coaching the throws at a collegiate level in my hometown is a very special opportunity, " said Midles. "With a brand new track, throws area and weight room, SMU has as good of facilities as any program in the Pacific Northwest. Combine that with the opportunity to receive a top notch private education and I think it's pretty easy to understand why this is such an exciting time to be at this university."
NOTE: The GNAC, along with the sports information offices of Central Washington, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, Saint Martin's, and Seattle University contributed to this report.