Kurgat named XC Athlete of the Year

Following her win of the six-kilometer race at the NCAA Division II Cross-Country Championships in Evansville, Indiana on Nov. 18, Caroline Kurgat was awarded the Doris Brown Heritage Award, better known as the Women’s Athlete of the Year title, by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association.

Caroline Kurgat wins her first West Regional Championship title at the NCAA Division II West Region Cross-Country Championships on Nov. 4. Kurgat went on to take the national title and Athlete of the Year award during the NCAA Cross-Country Championship on Nov. 18. Photo credit: Nick Danielson

Kurgat commanded the race, leading around the third kilometer by overtaking competitor Hannah Wolkenhauer of Queens University. Kurgat won the race at 20 minutes, 32.3 seconds, nearly 20 seconds faster than runner-up Sarah Berger of Walsh University.

“I got warmed up, and just started picking it up,” Kurgat said in a post-race interview. “That was our plan at the beginning, and following that strategy through was really good.”

Kurgat adds the individual national win and Athlete of the Year title to several other awards, including three USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week awards and two Great Northwest Athletic Conference runner of the week awards.

“All this is through my coaches’ work, so I really appreciate the work [cross-country head coach Michael Friess] has put into me,” Kurgat said.

Kurgat was also awarded with West Region Athlete of the Year, All-West Region, All-GNAC and GNAC Runner of the Year awards throughout the cross-country season.