UAA junior All-American runner Marko Cheseto broke his own school and Great Northwest Athletic Conference record Saturday night when he dipped below the 14-minute barrier and won the 5,000 meters at the Occidental Invitational in Eagle Rock, Calif.
Cheseto trimmed 1.45 seconds off his previous best by clocking 13:58.85, which automatically qualifies him for the NCAA Division II National Championships later this month in Charlotte, N.C. -- the automatic qualifier is 14:00 or faster.
Cheseto became the seventh UAA athlete to seize an automatic qualifier for the national meet. He also owns provisional qualifiers in the 1,500 and 10,000.
Saturday's meet marked the Seawolves' last before the GNAC championships Friday and Saturday in Monmouth, Ore. Last year's GNACs were canceled because of a suspected case of swine flu at Western Oregon University, the host school in Monmouth.
UAA's 1,600-meter men's relay team also broke a school record and posted the season's fastest time in the GNAC on Saturday. Ethan Hewitt, Brad Truax, Brandon Grant and James McLaughlin brought the baton around in 3:14.98, which by just .02 seconds earned them a provisional qualifier for the NCAAs.
Also, Seawolves sophomore Miriam Kipng'Eno improved her own UAA record in the 1,500 meters by .02 seconds. She clocked 4:35.25 and finished sixth in the event.