With only three regular season meets completed so far, the Seawolves took off to Monmouth, Oregon on Nov. 3 to compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships.
Despite having only a few meets, the Seawolves have left their mark on the West Regional rankings. Heading into the conference championships, the UAA men’s team was ranked No. 3 overall with only one GNAC competitor ahead of them, Simon Fraser.
Similarly, the women were also ranked No. 3 in West Region with just Simon Fraser (No. 2) ahead of them in the GNAC standings.
“Conference is the big race that we have all been waiting for all season, so it was the time with high expectations. There is definitely that pressure,” Emmah Chelimo, junior XC runner, said.
In an unsurprising outcome of events, after three back-to-back wins and undefeated conference status, Chelimo is the GNAC women’s champion.
“The three races that I already raced in gave me a good picture of where I am. It had given me confidence in myself,” Chelimo said. “My [national runner of the week] award especially motivated me and made me want to stay up there.”
Behind Chelimo, several women from the team managed to pull through in the top 10, solidifying them a spot in the All-Conference team. She finished the 6-kilometer race in 21 minutes and 25 seconds, just 6 seconds ahead of the No. 2 runner from Central Washington.
Of the three other women, sophomore Nancy Jeptoo (21:51) placed No. 5 with senior Zennah Jepchumba (21:55) trailing in at ninth place and senior Danielle McCormick (21:58) following at 10th.
Due to their significant presence in the top 10, the women won the overall title as GNAC Champions.
Similarly, the men placed three runners in the top 10 of their 8-kilometer race, solidifying a score that gave them the overall team win.
In a 1-2 duo, sophomores Wesley Kirui and Felix Kemboi outlasted all their competition to overtake first and second place, respectively. Side-by-side, Kirui finished the race in 24 minutes and 38 seconds, while Kemboi crossed the line in 24 minutes and 38.6 seconds.
Trailing in at No. 7, senior Jorge Sanchez (24:54) was the final Seawolf to place in the top 10, earning a spot on the All-Conference team.
Missing the All-Conference team by just 0.8 seconds, sophomore Nickson Koech placed No.11, finishing the race in 25 minutes and 14 seconds.
“I definitely had the confidence that if the team just went out there and did their thing, then both sides would win,” Chelimo said.
The Seawolves will be back in action on Sat. Nov. 17 in Billings, Montana for the NCAA Div. II West Regional Championships. For full results or team schedule visit www.goseawolves.com.