This past season, the University of Alaska Anchorage had what most people would consider a relatively young track team, retiring only eight athletes from the program.
Despite the low number of graduating seniors, the shoes these men and women walk in will be big ones to fill, and finding replacements won’t happen overnight, though hopefully will in the future.
David Registe, of Palmer, is a prime example of an athlete who replacing will seem almost impossible.
“No one right now could do it,” Registe said, “If someone could fill my shoes now, I would definitely know about it.”
In the two days of GNAC competition, Registe took home five individual titles at competition, a first for any Seawolf in history.
Registe won the long jump title in both 2007 and 2008 and took home the title again this year with a jump of 24 feet and 6.25 inches, over jumping his nearest competitor by almost two feet. He also is the holder of the second best long jump this season.
Registe was named the 2011 GNAC Most Outstanding Male Performer at the end of GNAC competition as well as he led the ‘Wolves with four all region honors.
Teammates joining him with two accolades were junior Alfred Kangogo, junior Shaun Ward and sophomores Micah Chelimo and Ethan Hewitt.
One accolade each also went to senior Levi Sutton and freshman Gabe Holland.
For the women, seniors Emma Bohman and Adrienna Everett each received one. Receiving two awards each were junior Miriam Kipng’eno, sophomore Ruth Keino, and freshman Ivy O’Guinn.
Overall, the ‘Wolves posted nine GNAC titles, a number in which is equal to how many titles the team produced from 2008-2010.
Also the Seawolves claimed 13 all-conference certificates.
The UAA men ended the competition in fourth place with 103 points. Western Oregon took home the GNAC title with 203 points.
For the women, the season ended with them in sixth place at 86 points, losing to Seattle Pacific University, who ended in first place with 206 points.
“I always joke, I say UAA doesn’t win meets they win titles, and I say it as a joke, but it’s true.” Registe said with a smile on his face. “ We win first and second place but our team isn’t big enough to have finishers in six, seven and eighth place and those points add up.”
Registe, who is not typically a runner, was thrown into sprinting this season, but surprised everyone by sweeping both the 100 and 200 meters, with times of 10.76 and 21.69.
In addition to that, he was also part of the 4×100 and 4×400 meter teams, which both won first place in their events.
“A special moment for the team was the 4×4 at conference, we actually threw in a new kid Billy (Kiefer), and then it was Levi (Sutton), me (Registe) and Shaun (Ward). Levi kind of messed up his hamstring in the last 100 meters and still ran it and gave it to me then I ran my leg, and I gave it to Sean and Sean at one point was in third and made up like 20 meters to get first. That was incredible to watch,” Registe said.
This was the third straight season UAA has brought home the GNAC title in the 4×400 meter relay.
Sophomore Micah Chelimo, of Kapkoi Kenya, won the title in the 5,000-meter with a time of 14:29:41. Chelimo also won for the second year in a row, the 3,000-meter.
It was a tight run to the finish for the women running the 5K. Keino was able to come out on top finishing the race in 17:23:81, just seconds before teammate and second place finisher Kipng’eno, who finished with a time of 17:29:78.
Everett took home second in the women’s 400-meter hurdles.
The UAA women set a UAA record at the meet in the 4×100 meter relay. Juniors Dianne Chong, Kelsea Johnson, freshman Sasha Halfyard and Haleigh Lloyd made up the team that finished the race in 48.54.
Only nine athletes will compete at nationals this year, for the rest of the team this is the end of the season.
“When I look back, I am going to always remember GNAC,” Registe said. “All year, the schools we see are just random and it has always been random kids. GNAC is meaningful because we get to compete against the kids we have been reading about all year long.”
For the team that will continue the legacy of UAA track and field, Registe only had a few simple words of wisdom, “Have fun, this ride is going to fly by.”
***Nationals will be over Thursday and I will need to add and update just a couple things as soon as I can.