Catching up with the Seawolf track and field teams

The women’s indoor track team won first place at the 2013 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Championships. (Photo courtesy of UAA Athletics)

The women’s indoor track team won first place at the 2013 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Championships. (Photo courtesy of UAA Athletics)

The Seawolves are outpacing everyone’s expectations as they come up on the end of their first season of indoor track and field. The rookies just returned from the GNAC Indoor Championships where the women placed first, and the men took home second.

The women’s team edged Western Washington, 147-117.5, and also ended Seattle Pacific’s nine-year reign as tournament champions. The dynasty-killing performance earned the group Great Athletic Northwest Team of the Week honors.

Senior distance runner Susan Tanui spearheaded the women’s race to the top. She crossed the line first in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter, and she was runner-up in the mile.

Ruth Keino, another senior distance runner, finished right behind Tanui in all three of those same events. Keino placed second in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter, and placed third in the mile.

Freshman hurdler Rosie Smith showed that the Seawolves are in good shape for the future. She ran the 200-meter in 25.20, which is the third-fastest time in GNAC history.

The men’s team fell to Western Washington by an 18-point margin, 152-134.

Junior distance runner Micah Chelimo led the men’s charge and nabbed the Division II Men’s U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Athlete of the Week Award. One wonders how they’d fit that entire title on a trophy.

Chelimo was also named the meet’s Most Outstanding Male Performer. He was showered with accolades because of his big wins in the mile, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter.

The sophomore decathlete from New Zealand, Cody Thomas, put himself in the UAA record books. The Kiwi’s 4,863 points won him the multi-event title, and he was the first Seawolf ever to do so.

Thomas’ name will go down in GNAC history too, as his point total set a meet record.

The Seawolves’ first dip into indoor competition has been a success. UAA waited until its track and field program was ready to spread its wings, and the patience has paid off.

Using the indoor results as a barometer, the Seawolves should continue to be a force once the gun sounds for the outdoor season.

Indoor competition will conclude March 7-9 in Birmingham, Ala., with the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships.

The outdoor season starts the same weekend with the Ben Brown Invitational in Fullerton, Calif., Those who don’t qualify for the Division II championships will participate for the Seawolves in their first outdoor meet.

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