Only two meets in, the Seawolves are nearly half-way done with the season. The team only has one more regular season meet before the conference championships. The women’s team is currently ranked No. 7 in the National Division II Cross Country standings, while the men are ranked No. 21. Impressive achievements and personal best times by many of the runners can be credited to their national rankings.
To start the season off, the team competed in an in-state rival meet, the 2018 New Balance XC Classic, against the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Sept. 8. There was competition from the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Team, but they did not compete for official scoring.
The season kick-off meet proved beneficial for the Seawolves with both the men’s and women’s teams coming out on top.
The women dominated the top five with all finishers from UAA. Emma Chelimo finished 1st in a time of 21 minutes and 27 seconds, followed by Nancy Jeptoo (21:47), Danielle McCormick (22:12), Ruth Cvancara (22:38) and Grace Gannon (22:45).
The men also took the top 6 positions in the 7-kilometer race. Wesley Kirui (22:06) was at No. 1 followed by Felix Kemboi (22:08), Jorge Sanchez (23:09), Nickson Koech (23:13), Jacob Moos (23:22) and Kaleb Korta (23:37).
The Seawolves returned to the trails on Sept. 22 for the UNLV Invitational.
Similar to their first meet, both teams excelled with overall wins. With a total of 18 points, UAA placed No. 1 ahead of UC Riverside, Fresno State, Dixie State and Cerritos.
The men also managed to secure the top four spots, Kirui, Kemboi, Sanchez and Koech, respectively.
Similar to the men, the women’s team scored 26 points to place them at No. 1 overall. Also similar to the 2018 New Balance XC Classic, Chelimo and Jeptoo placed No. 1 and 2, respectively.
Not far behind was Zennah Jepchumba and McCormick coming in at 6th and 7th, with Cvancara 20 seconds behind at No. 10.
Overall, Head Coach Michael Friess was pleased with the results.
“It was a tough course. I think the women ran pretty strong on the first half, which might have hurt them a little on the second half,” Friess said. “I was able to warn the guys to take it easier on the first lap. But now that we have this information, we will be able to more appropriately design our plans for the future.”
The runners will be back in action on Oct. 20 at the Western Washington Invitational in Monmouth, Oregon.