Just after the end of the 2019 spring semester, the Seawolf track and field team traveled to Oregon to compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships. The events took place on May 10 and 11.
The UAA women’s team took third place overall, with a total of 119.5 points. They were behind Central Washington (second, 162 points) and Seattle Pacific (first, 166 points).
The UAA men’s team placed fourth overall. They accumulated 97 points to finish behind Concordia (third, 116 points), Central Washington (second, 122 points) and Western Washington (first, 173 points).
The conference has 10 teams total for each gender that competed in the championship.
Despite the less-than-first place finishes overall, several individuals took home conference titles.
On the men’s team, Wesley Kirui finished the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:03.95 to take first place in the event. He also earned a provisional qualifying time, which was 12 seconds faster than his qualifying time.
Edwin Kangogo took the title for the men’s 10,000-meter. He won with an overall time of 31:56.62.
“I really felt good with my 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter results. I went in knowing it was my last GNAC competing for Seawolves and wanted to give my best to help my team,” Kangogo said.
The only other athlete from the men’s team to win an event was David Sramek; he was the top-scorer in the men’s decathlon pole vault (4.73-meters). Despite his impressive finish in the pole vault, Sramek finished fifth in the decathlon overall.
The women’s team had significantly more first-place finishes.
Vanessa Aniteye won the 400-meter dash in 54.19 seconds, setting the new GNAC meet record.
Chrisalyn Johnson won the women’s triple jump with a leap of 12.58-meters, also setting the GNAC meet record, which was previously 12.42-meters.
Danielle McCormick took first place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:08.67, a provisional qualifying time.
Caroline Kurgart won the 1,500-meter (4:24.01), the 5,000-meter (16:35.10) and the 10,000-meter (38:03.64).
In addition to the several first-place finishes on both teams, many other athletes accomplished impressive results.
In the 100-meter dash, Enrique Campbell was the only Seawolf to compete in the finals for the event, placing fourth with a time of 11.24 seconds.
“I felt great about my overall result, being a freshman, just coming in this semester and making finals in all my events,” Campbell said. “It felt really amazing and my teammates made it feel even more special with the love I received after each event. The team’s performance was incredible on both men’s and women’s side.”
Campbell and Aniteye were also the only Seawolves to make it to the 200-meter dash finals, placing eighth and sixth, respectively.
Behind Aniteye in the 400-meter, Marie Ries placed second in the finals, with a time of 56.09 seconds.
In the 1,500-meter, behind Kurgat was McCormick in second and Nancy Jeptoo in third. All three women secured provisional qualifying times.
Behind Kurgat in the 10,000-meter, Kimberly Coscia finished eighth, with a time of 40:42.46.
“Overall, I’m happy with how my race went and grateful to score for the team one last time,” Coscia said. “Placing third and fourth considering the size of our team is pretty impressive.”
In the men’s 1,500-meter, Drew Johnson finished third overall (3:55.85) with Felix Kemboi right behind him (3:57.70) in sixth.
“Personally, I felt great and I was proud of my results as I gave all I could to help the team get points. I had to run the 800-meter, 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter within one hour of each other, but it was awesome. I think we all gave our best but there’s always room to improve and get at the top,” Kemboi said.
In the men’s 5,000-meter, Kangogo finished second, (14:51.47) and Kemboi behind him at fifth (15:06.72).
Chris Brake also posted a provisional qualifying mark in the men’s high jump. He jumped 2.05m to finish third overall.
Overall, the athletes are happy with their results, given the small team size.
“Talent-wise, we had a great chance of winning it, we just got outnumbered by the other teams since they have a lot more people in each event. But I’m really proud of everyone that came out and gave their best with the best team spirit I’ve ever seen,” Campbell said.
The outdoor season finished after GNAC for the majority of the athletes. However, 10 will be continuing on to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The athletes moving forward include Kurgat (5,000m, 10,000m), McCormick (800m, 4x400m relay), Johnson (long and triple jump), Aniteye (400m, 4x400m relay), Kirui (3,000m steeplechase), Kangogo (3,000m steeplechase), Jeptoo (1,500m), Ries (4x400m relay), Ruth Cvancara (800m) and Tylantiss Atlas (4x400m relay).
The Seawolves will compete at the National Championships on May 23-25 in Kingsville, Texas.