Runners, jumpers, throwers take on GNAC competition

The UAA track and field team traveled to Nampa, Idaho over the weekend of Feb. 15 to compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Championships. The team took a small group of competitors in both the pentathlon and heptathlon as well as sprints, distance and jumping.

UAA women’s distance medley relay team won first at GNAC championships on Feb. 15.
UAA women’s distance medley relay team won first at GNAC championships on Feb. 15. Photo courtesy of GNAC Media.

Associate head coach Ryan McWilliams went into this meet with slightly different expectations than in previous years.

“I think really we want to see good races across the board. We have a smaller crew going in so it will be interesting just to see how people compete in their individual events,” McWilliams said. “Compared to normal years, we aren’t really loaded up.”

The heptathlon and pentathlon began on Friday morning. For the heptathlon, sophomore David Sramek was the only competitor from UAA. After his day-one events, he sat in fifth place.

Sramek competed in the 60-meter sprint (7.26 seconds), long jump (6.67m), shot put (8.96m) and high jump (1.80m). On Saturday, he continued on to the 60-meter hurdles (9.18 seconds), pole vault (4.65m) and 1000-meter run (2:44).

With the completion of his final events, Sramek moved up one position to finish fourth overall out of ten athletes.

As for the pentathlon, the Seawolves had two competitors. They completed all five of their events on Friday. Senior Yvonne Jeschke finished at seventh place (3217 points) and junior Elena Cano was just ahead at sixth (3229 points).

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Jeschke and Cano competed in five events, 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800-meter run.

The majority of the Friday events were preliminaries. However, many Seawolves qualified for the final events on Saturday.

Cano placed seventh in the 60-meter hurdles (9.23s), qualifying for finals. She moved up one position to finish sixth overall in finals (9.05s).

Freshman Enrique Campbell, who just joined the team this semester, qualified in the 60-meter sprint by placing second (7.05s) overall in prelims. He continued on to place third overall in finals with a time of 7.07 seconds.

Campbell also ran the 200-meter preliminaries, placing seventh (22.48s) to just barely qualify for finals. Just slower than his previous time, Campbell ran a 22.57 in finals to place seventh.

Standout returning junior Vanessa Aniteye beat out all competition to finish first in the 400-meter preliminaries with a time of 56.62 seconds. However, in finals on Saturday, she fell back to third place overall with a time of 57.07.

The only 800-meter runner for the Seawolves at the meet, junior Eduardo Orozco, placed second (1:54) in preliminaries and continued on to finish seventh (2:03) in finals.

As for field events, junior Chrisalyn Johnson finished third (5.68m) in the long jump.

In addition to all the preliminary events run on Friday, many of the distance events had finals. Both the men’s and women’s 5K ran one heat of runners.

Freshman Nancy Jeptoo took the title for the 5K, finishing in first with a time of 17:48. She was nearly 30 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.

The Seawolves completely blew out all competition in the men’s 5K. UAA took five runners for the event, they finished back-to-back in No. 1 through No. 5.

Sophomore Wesley Kirui took the overall win in 14:55. Sophomore Felix Kemboi was two seconds behind him to finish second. Trailing behind, to finish in 15:07, senior Edwin Kangogo took No. 3, with junior Jorge Sanchez three seconds behind at No. 4 and sophomore Nickson Koech finishing one second later at No. 5.

The women’s final 4000-meter distance medley relay was also completely blown out by the Seawolves. The relay team of Ruth Cvancara, Vanessa Aniteye, Danielle McCormick and Caroline Kurgat finished first in the event with a time of 11:23.

“Well it was definitely fun, but I also realized what these ladies [Cvancara, McCormick and Aniteye] have done so I just knew it was my time to do something great,” Kurgat said.

This was the sixth fastest time in Division II history. Their nearest competition was 37 seconds behind.

“I, of course, have the shortest distance out of all of us but Ruth [Cvancara] gave me a really good start which made my 400 meters seem super easy,” Aniteye said. “But we also have these two national champions as well [Kurgat and McCormick] which made it really fun to run on this team.”

UAA also placed a men’s team in the DMR. With a time of 10:21, they finished in third overall. The team was composed of Drew Johnson, Nathanial Brunett, Orozco and Faisal Ibrahim, all of which are freshmen.

Saturday continued with the various follow-up final events and with several stand-alone final events.

The UAA men’s team saw success in the 3000-meter on Saturday. Kangogo placed third with Kemboi two seconds behind in fourth. Following them, Sanchez and Koech trailed in with a sixth-seventh finish, respectively.

Several women did well in the mile. Kurgat (4:47) finished first overall, with McCormick (5:11) behind her in fifth.  

Johnson and Kemboi also placed high in the mile, at second and fifth, respectively.  

To finish off the meet, the men’s and women’s 4×400 meter relays competed.

UAA’s men’s team ended on a positive note with a first place win in the relay, by just 0.12 seconds. The relay was run by Brunett, Daniel Remington, Johnson and Orozco.

Aniteye, Cano, Cvancara and Marie Ries, who ran the women’s 4×400, didn’t place as high as the men’s team but still finished off in a solid fourth place.

The women’s team finished third overall. Ahead of them was Central Washington at No. 2 and Seattle Pacific at No. 1

The UAA men took second place, with only Western Washington ahead of them.

The Seawolves will next take qualifying individuals to the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships in March.