Three Seawolves are All-Americans

UAA athletes went 3 for 3 in All-America finishes Friday, when steeplechasers Micah Chelimo and Susan Tanui racked runner-up finishes and heptathlete Kelsea Johnson rocketed up the standings at the Division II NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Pueblo, Colo.

Johnson, who sat 14th after Thursday's four heptathon events, jumped all the way to seventh place after Friday's final three disciplines were contested in the multi-event.

"We felt pretty good about it,'' UAA coach Michael Friess said of the three All-America finishes.

Chelimo, a junior, earned his third consecutive All-America in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, clocking 9 minutes, 2.75 seconds in a tactical race won by Ryan Haebe of Western State. Haebe unleashed a strong kick to win in 9:00.25. Chelimo became the first Seawolves athlete to be a three-time All-American in the same event.

The women's steeplechase included athletes who owned four of the fastest six times in Division II history -- "The thing was loaded,'' Friess said.

Tanui, a junior, led on the final lap before she was passed by eventual winner Betsy Graney, a senior from Grand Valley State who is a transfer from Division I William and Mary. Graney won in 10:23.92 with Tanui following in 10:28.26.

Johnson, a senior from Sitka who Thursday delivered personal bests in the 100 hurdles and 200 meters, started Friday with a leap of 17 feet, 10.25 inches in the long jump before improving her personal best in the javelin to 117-6 and lowering her personal best in the 800 to 2:21.81.

Johnson's total of 4,927 points left her 13 points shy of tying her career high.

UAA's women's team sits in eighth place entering Saturday's final day of competition and the Seawolves men are 11th.

Seven Seawolves are scheduled to compete in finals Saturday. Among them are Tanui and Chelimo, who are both entered in the 5,000.

Anchorage Daily News