The Seawolves are currently two meets into their outdoor track and field season after the completion of their indoor season. Senior Caroline Kurgat has already had more success than most will have in their entire collegiate careers.
“It surprises me how much can change in four years. Each year I have improved and that makes me work even harder to see how much I can still achieve. Each time going into a race I don’t have any big goals for myself but it always turns out really good,” Kurgat said.
At the end of the indoor season, it was announced that Kurgat will be honored by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame with the Pride of Alaska Award for Outstanding Athletic Achievement.
On the same day, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference announced that Kurgat was being honored as the Indoor Track and Field Women’s Athlete of the Year. She was also named U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association’s Indoor Division II Female Track Athlete of the Year.
During the indoor season, Kurgat captured the all-time Division II times in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meters.
A week later, the Seawolves took off to the Willamette Invite. However, Kurgat sat this one out.
This was well needed time to focus on her academics.
“Traveling in the middle of the week gets even more tricky. I always have to make up for so much work when I get back and that makes it even more difficult to balance my week. To be where I am today has been a contribution of so many people,” Kurgat said.
She continued with the team on March 29 to the Stanford Invite and the Mike Fanelli Track Classic in California.
At the Stanford Invite, Kurgat competed in the 10,000 meters, to set an all-time NCAA Division II record. She broke the record by 20 seconds, which hasn’t been touched since 1988.
Due to her performance, Kurgat was named U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association’s Outdoor Division II Athlete of the Week. She is the only Seawolf to have ever been awarded this title during outdoor season; she had been awarded it three times.
Kurgat has made all these achievements while also pursuing her degree in nursing.
“No path is perfect, I have had a few struggles along the way. First, balancing my school schedule and training times is a challenge. School gets super busy, especially having eight to nine hours of clinical, a workout after and a bunch of paperwork to do,” Kurgat said.
She explained that the School of Nursing has given her tremendous support along the way.
In addition, Kurgat credits her coaching staff and teammates for a large amount of support.
“My coach, [Michael Friess], has been so patient and understanding. He has made me the athlete I am today. He is so experienced as a coach and has helped me through all the transformations. He has made my four year experience the best. I also have the most amazing teammates,” Kurgat said.
Her teammates have also been a huge motivator through all the workouts and struggles that they have had to go through.
Kurgat will be back in action with the Seawolves at the Bryan Clay Invitational and Long Beach State Invite on April 18 in California.