Big C Relays produce record times, more training for UAA’s track and field teams

The event was held at The Dome and was an exhibition event for some UAA men and women's track athletes. Photo by Ashley Smith/TNL

This weekend UAA’s track and field athletes joined high school athletes from all over the state at the Alaska Dome for the Big C Relays. The Seawolves competed in the exhibition meet Saturday, running the mile and 400-meter races while also recording their best times so far this season.

“They ran very well today. On the men’s side, they ran their fastest times of the year if you convert it to the 1500,” said Assistant Coach T.J. Garlatz of the mile race. “The women too, ran their best race of the year so it was a really good way to run in front of the home crowd.”

The Dome was packed with athletes and spectators who watched as the Seawolves competed to be the first in Alaska to run the mile race in under four minutes. Ivy O’Guinn won the women’s race with a time of 4:51.72 and Alfred Kangogo beat out fellow Seawolf Micah Chelimo with a time of 4:05.16. Chelimo was on Kangogo’s heels the whole race and finished with 4:05.28.

The crowds had thinned a little as the Seawolves got warmed up to run the 400-meter, but the athletes had come to use this exhibition race as a practice anyway.

“For this race it’s certainly training for us,” said Head Coach Michael Friess. “I was very pleased with how [the athletes] can come out, get a good warm-up in, a good hard run, trying to run hard

Participants in full stride at the Men's Memorial Mile Run at the Big C Relays on April 14. Photo by Ashley Smith/TNL

but knowing that no matter what they do on this track it doesn’t count for them. So it’s nice that they can come out and compete hard just because it’s competition.”

Not only did the coaches see time improvements from the Seawolves’ last races, but they also got to scope out possible future Seawolves as they watched the high school athletes compete.

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“Yeah, you can’t help but look and wonder who would be able to do what,” Assistant Coach Garlatz said.  “We’ve signed a couple of the girls that have been racing today, and so we’re watching for the ones that we know will be there and then watching for future Seawolves in a couple years as well.”

The Seawolves will resume their regularly scheduled meets next weekend in the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California. Some of the track and field athletes will also take part in the Azusa Pacific Invite and the Long Beach State Invite.