Seawolves No. 2 in GNAC Championships

The UAA men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams each placed second at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships hosted by Western Oregon University earlier this month. A podium sweep in the men’s’ 10,000 and 5,000-meter races, three meet-record performances on the women’s side, and a 220-foot javelin throw by one senior were several highlights for the Seawolves in the GNAC championships May 8-9.

Western Washington University squeezed out the men’s championship, bettering the green and gold by 2 points, which translates to a fraction of a second in this sport.

“It came to the very last 20 meters of the men’s 4 x (400-meter relay). I mean, we lost by 0.08 seconds.  If we’d have won that we would have been tied,” said head coach Matt Friess of the last race of the meet.  “We knew it was going to be really close all along and we edged Western Washington by a few points indoors, they edged us by a few points outdoors.”

Franz Burghagen and Elliot Bauer, both seniors, repeated as champions in their respective events of javelin toss and 400-meter hurdles.

The three-headed monster of junior Victor Samoei, freshman Henry Cheseto, and junior Dominik Notz finished 1-2-3 in the men’s 10,000-meter race. The following day, senior Dylan Anthony got in on the action, teaming up with Cheseto and Notz to complete another podium sweep, this time in the 5000-meter.  Anthony, who ran for Kodiak High School, won the event in a blistering 14:39.17 seconds.

On the women’s side, Seattle Pacific was victorious over the rest of the competition with 183 points and enjoyed a much more comfortable margin of victory of 29 points.

Coach Friess was proud of his female bunch, which did not have a deep roster to begin with.

“It is a pretty amazing crew really,” said Friess, “We had … 13 or 14 athletes compared to, you know, 24 or 25 athletes on the other teams.”

The “amazing crew” included sophomore sprinter Jamie Ashcroft and senior hurdler Hayleigh Lloyd.   Both left conference championships with new meet-records to their name.  Ashcroft won the 100-meter and 200-meter titles.  She ran the fastest GNAC Championships 100-meter in the preliminaries on Friday before going on to win the final heat the next day.  Ashcroft set the meet-record in the 200-meter dash on Saturday with a time of 24.45 seconds.

Lloyd was victorious in the 400-meter hurdles, setting the meet-record in 1:00.29. Her fellow hurdler Rosie Smith didn’t do too bad either.  She beat out the rest of the competition in the 100-meter hurdles.  It was Smith’s first time winning the title in that event.

Last but not least, junior Karolin Anders took home both the long jump and heptathlon individual titles. A heptathlon is a multi-sport event that includes the 100-meter, 200-meter, shot put, javelin, high jump, long jump, and 800-meter.

The Seawolves will send 7 women and 4 men for the NCAA Championships this weekend in the Allendale, Michigan.

Anders, Ashcroft, Lloyd, Beatrice Decker, Amy Johnston, Caroline Kurgat, and Jessica Pahkala will be lacing it up for the UAA women.

The men will be represented by two throwers and two runners. Both Notz and Cheseto are looking to make a splash in the 5,000-meter.  Burghagen and Cody Parker will provide each other some friendly competition in the javelin throw.  The meet kicks off on Thursday and runs until Saturday.

You can follow along on twitter @UAAXCTF

Written by Nolin Ainsworth