Shewolves shine through wind, cold

Decked from head to toe in anything that sparkled green and gold, the UAA runners were glittering. But when they crossed the finish line, the women were golden. The snowfall late last week and freezing temperatures worried some of the Seawolves. Spandex and long-sleeve thermals were choice apparel. But the cold didn't slow them down.

All that glittered was gold for the University of Alaska Anchorage women's running team on Saturday-in more ways than one. The women finished third in the six-kilometer race, turning in their best result of the season. They defeated Central Washington and Seattle Pacific universities, the top two teams at last year's conference championship.

The pack of four who have been leading the team this season-sophomore Kiersten Lippmann, freshman Stacy Edwards and juniors Leslie Boyd and Meyoung Blum-ran to top-20 finishes. Edwards, who placed eighth, and Lippmann, who placed ninth, earned all-conference honors.

The Seawolves, who have been patiently waiting to make their mark in their second season as a team, were comfortable running the hills and trails they've been training on this fall as they hosted the first Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship. And although head coach Mike Friess was quick to point out that the home course didn't necessarily give UAA's runners an advantage, the women proved him wrong.

"Everyone had solid races," said junior Meyoung Blum. "Now we'd just better be ranked." The Seawolf men were led by sophomore Eric Strabel in their eight-kilometer race. Strabel's 10th-place finish earned him all-conference honors for the second year. Solid performances were also posted by sophomore Toby Schwoerer and junior Sean Rivers. Junior Andy Elvester, who has led the team in several races this season, slipped out of top-10 contention when he suffered an abdominal cramp in the final two kilometers of the race.

Northwest Nazarene University of Nampa, Idaho easily won the men's team title, claiming four of the top-10 spots. But the rest of the men's field provided a tight finish, with 11 points separating the next three teams. UAA's men finished fourth. The Seawolves will spend the next three weeks preparing for the Western Regional meet in Bellingham, Wash. on Nov. 3. The top four teams in the regional race will advance to the NCAA championship and UAA is looking for it's first national berth.