Seawolves conclude XC season at NCAA DII Championships

On Saturday, Dec. 1, the UAA cross country team took flight to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to compete in their final race of the season. Seven women and seven men traveled to race in the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships after both reigning as conference champions and third (men) and first (women) in the regional championships.

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Nancy Jeptoo Photo credit: UAA Athletics

UAA’s women beat out the men by placing sixth overall in a field of 34 teams. The seven women put in their best effort to race against 264 other runners from around the country with four in the top 50 and one in the top 200.

After being undefeated through all five previous races, UAA’s Emmah Chelimo fell 11 positions behind her predicted finish place to come through in a tie with teammate Zennah Jepchumba.

At 22nd, Jepchumba and Chelimo finished the 6-kilometer race in 23 minutes and 15.5 seconds.

Despite having the same finish, both Chelimo and Jepchumba ran the race drastically differently.

While Chelimo pushed her way to the front of the pack and stayed in the top 10 for the first 3 kilometers, Jepchumba started at place 152 and slowly moved her way forward to be at 27th at the 3-kilometer mark.

Chelimo stayed near the front until the last kilometer of the race; at the 4.9-km mark, she was in 12th place but fell 10 positions to cross the line in 22nd.

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Not far behind, teammates Nancy Jeptoo and Danielle McCormick finished at 38th and 45th, respectively.

Jeptoo, similar to Chelimo, started the race off in the top 10 for the first half of the race before slowly falling behind to finish in a time of 23 minutes and 27 seconds.

In contrast, McCormick stayed consistently in the middle of the group to finish in 23 minutes and 39 seconds, 18 positions higher than she was predicted to finish in.

The remaining three Seawolves to finish for women were Ruth Cvancara, Riley Burroughs and Kimberly Coscia.

Sophomore Cvancara (25:26) finished in 175th, junior Burroughs (26:01) finished at 214 and senior Coscia (26:44) was not far behind in 234th place.

Overall, the women’s team finished overall in sixth place with a total of 255 points, trailing just three points behind Colorado Mines but far behind No. 1 Grand Valley with 41 points.

In comparison, the men’s team came in eighth with 279 points, far behind No. 1 Grand Valley with 89 points.

Individually, all Seawolves placed in the top 200 out of 261 runners with four top 100 finishes.

Sophomore Wesley Kirui started at the back of the pack at No. 87 and pushed his way up to be the UAA men’s top finisher in ninth place. He place one spot behind his predicted outcome.

Following him, Felix Kemboi finished 12 places behind his predicted outcome at 54th in 33 minutes and 51 seconds.

Remaining in the top 100 from the Seawolves were senior Jorge Sanchez (65th, 34:04) and sophomore Nickson Koech (78th, 34:16).

Trailing behind was freshman Faisal Ibrahim, sophomore Drew Johnson and junior Kaleb Korta.

Ibrahim (34:57) finished at No. 130, just one spot lower than his prediction; Johnson (35:22) in 160th place and five spots higher than his prediction; and Korta (35:33) was in 172nd place, only one spot below his prediction.

The NCAA DII Championships concluded the Seawolves cross country season, but the long distance runners will be joining the sprinters, jumpers and throwers to begin the track and field season on Jan. 12, 2019.

For full results and a full schedule visit