UAA men’s track and field team seizes first ever outdoor GNAC championship
The Seawolves men’s squad took home the outdoor Great Northwest Athletic Conference trophy on May 14, snapping Western Washington’s five-year reign. The two-day meet at Western Oregon University’s McArthur field concluded with UAA conquering four individual titles and outscoring second-place WWU 163.5-128 for their first outdoor GNAC title.
Leading the No. 16 nationally ranked Seawolves was senior Cody Thomas. The All-American contributed the most points by anyone on the men’s side, 31, and was named Co-Most Outstanding Performer with Concordia’s Josh Koch. Thomas won the decathlon less than two weeks prior, finished second in the high jump and had a career-best leap in the long jump to place third at the GNAC championships.
On the first day, the men’s distance crew dominated owned the 10,000-meter finals, having members in green and gold placing first, second, third and fourth in the event. Victor Samoei won his third consecutive title, placing first with a time of 31 minutes, 38.86 seconds, while Henry Cheseto, Edwin Kangogo and junior Michel Ramirez trailed behind him respectively. In the women’s 10K, senior Joyce Chelimo won her second title in this event, while teammate Caroline Kurgat placed second for a 1-2 UAA finish. The women’s team finished third at the meet.
The Seawolves were also successful in several prelims to qualify for the finals the following day. Jamie Ashcroft won the 100-meter prelim, and freshmen Yvonne Jeschke placed first in 400-meter hurdles. Also crossing the finish line first were Liam Lindsay for the men’s 400-meter and Mary-Kathleen Cross, who had a career-best in the 400-meter prelim with a time of 55.2 seconds.
UAA stayed hot for day two, as more individual titles were claimed. Cody Parker won the javelin for his second GNAC championship in that event. Distance runner Michel Ramirez led another Seawolf dominated event, placing first in the 5,000-meter while teammates Kangogo and Chest were the next runners after him. Ashcroft took home gold in both the 100-meter and the 200-meter and has won both events in the GNACs for the third straight year.
The men’s track and field team snagged the triple crown for the GNAC’s this year, winning in cross country, indoor, and the outdoor seasons. The men have two indoor championships, but this was the first time they took first during the outdoor season. Those athletes who have qualified for the NCAA championships will have a week off to prepare to travel to Bradenton, Florida for the meet.