Cross country season isn’t quite over yet, but the Seawolves already have a lot to celebrate: They swept honors at regionals and are poised to do the same when they compete in nationals on Nov. 17.
Eight Seawolves were named to the 2012 GNAC Cross Country All-Conference Academic Team following the close of the conference in October. A total of 69 student-athletes were recognized with the distinction this year after posting a minimum GPA of at least 3.20 and competing in at least their second season at their respective universities.
Leading the GNAC field with a perfect 4.0 GPA were three student-athletes, including two from UAA: Bryn Haebe (nursing) and Christi Schmitz (nursing). Seniors Micah Chelimo (mechanical engineering) and Miriam Kipng’eno (nursing & nutrition) were among 10 student-athletes that received the accolade for the third year in a row. Also garnering the award were seniors Alfred Kangogo (nursing & nutrition) and Katie Krehlik (psychology) and sophomores Dylan Anthony (undeclared) and Kevin Rooke (physical education).
The Seawolves closed the conference with first-place finishes in all categories. The men’s and women’s team beat out the competition in the men’s 8,000 meters and women’s 6,000. Senior Micah Chelimo earned men’s championship honors with a finish of 24:49.53 and junior Susan Tanui did the same for the women’s with a finish of 20:37.29.
In recognition of these great successes, UAA Head Coach Michael Friess was voted the GNAC Men’s Team and Women’s Team Cross Country Coach of the Year for the third straight year. The honors were the 13th and 14th of his career, after receiving the honor for the seventh time on the women’s side and sixth time on the men’s. Friess, in his 23rd year with the Seawolves, was also the PacWest Coach of the Year in 1997.
The Seawolves picked up a few more accolades at the NCAA Div. II West Region Championships in early November when GNAC champions Chelimo and Tanui were also named the U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association West Region Athletes of the Year.
This marks the fourth straight year that UAA is the recipient of the West Region Male Athlete of the Year honor, after Chelimo earned the title for the second straight year. Former All-American Marko Cheseto garnered the honor in 2010 and 2009.
Tanui became the second UAA woman to be named the West Region Female Athlete of the Year, after she cruised to victory at the West Region championships. Tanui followed former All-American Ruth Keino, who took the honor in 2011.
The Seawolves, nationally ranked No. 6 in the women’s poll and No. 7 in the men’s, are idle this weekend as they get ready for the NCAA Div. II Cross Country Championships on Nov. 17 in Joplin, Mo.