Cross Country teams look to improve in 2010-11

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Coming from an extremely successful 2009-10 season, the Seawolves were able to sweep the Hawaii Pacific Invitational.

UAA is nationally ranked among Division II schools in pre-season polls, with the women ranked third, following Adams State and Grand Valley State, which rank number one and two, respectively.

The men also made the top 25, earning a rank of 17.

The Seawolves have been hard at work since their 2009-10 running season when the women finished in fifth place and the men in 17th. Although both the men and women are coming off historic seasons, head coach Michael Friess hopes for improvement this year.

“We’ve been working hard, it won’t be easy, but we can do it,” Friess said.

Despite losing a few athletes from last years squads, the Green and Gold showed that they were more than capapble of yet another title contending season. The Seawolves ended with a total of 15 points at last weekend’s invitational. Both men and women had eight runners in the top ten.

The women lost standout runner Laura Carr to graduation after finishing sixth at West Regionals and 63rd at last season’s Nationals.

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The men’s team has lost junior runner Alfred Kangogo for the current season.

“Alfred will be red shirting due to personal medical reasons, but he is okay and will be back to run his senior year,” Friess said. “It’s hard to see a player like Kangogo sit, but it’s for the better.”

Kangogo placed 10th in Regionals and 94th at the NCAA Championships last year. He also recieved All-West Region honors.

Freshmen Ivy O’Guinn, Susan Bick and Katie Krehlik will be running for Seawolves for the first time this season.

“Those girls have great potential and it will be interesting to see how they compete at this first meet,” Friess said.

In Hawaii, Bick placed at fifth place with a time of 18:08. She followed three other women runners, such as junior All-American runner Shoshana Keegan, who placed fourth with a time of 17:44, and sophomore All-American runner Miriam Kipng’Eno, who placed second with a time of 17:19.

Keegan, who placed 53rd in the NCAA Championships last season, has made some improvments since the 2009-10 cross-country season.

“Keegan returned this year in great shape. We should see great things from her,” Coach Friess said.

However junior Ruth Keino led the women; she ended number one with a time of 14:45.

Senior Paul Rottich finished in fourth with a time of 14:45, and freshman William Ritekwiang had a respective fifth place finish (15:06).

Jake Parisien ran his first returning meet with the ‘Wolves. This will be his second season with the Seawolves even though he took the previous season off.

Parisien placed third, with a finishing time of 14:14. He followed fellow Seawolf and All-American runner Micah Chelimo, in second place (14:33), and the leader of the Seawolves, Marko Cheseto.

Cheseto, of Kapenguria, Kenya, who was the West Region Champion last year and finished 42nd in Nationals, placed first at the Sept. 4 meet with a time of 14:26.

Cheseto was selected as the GNAC Male Cross Country Runner, as well as the men’s West Region Athlete of the year last season. This season Cheseto has been selected as the GNAC Male Athlete of the Week, as of Tuesday Sept. 7.

“It’s sad to have players, leaders and runners like Marko go,” Friess said. “We love having them but it’s sad to see them go.”

This will be Cheseto’s last year running because he expects to graduate in the spring.

Junior Alex West just recieved a $10,000 scholarship from the National Consortium for Measurment and Signiture Intelligence Research. West currently has the highest GPA on the team and has been a GNAC All-Academic runner not only for cross-country, but track and field as well.

“They only have to miss two days of school due to the long weekend,” Coach Friess said. “We try hard to miss the least amount of school possible.”